Monday, April 21, 2008

Amazon's (NASDAQ AMZN) CEO Bezos lighting a fire under Kindle

Amazon's (NASDAQ AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos uses nearly the entirety of his annual letter to shareholders to extol the virtues of the company's recently introduced (November 2007) e-book reader, Kindle.

I like his approach, drawing parallels to the origin of the Amazon.com business as a whole, and I particularly enjoyed this passage in the letter:
Lately, networked tools such as desktop computers, laptops,
cell phones and PDAs have changed us too. They’ve shifted us more toward information snacking, and I would argue toward shorter attention spans. I value my BlackBerry—I’m convinced it makes me more productive—but I don’t want to read a three-hundred-page document on it. Nor do I want to read something hundreds of pages long on my desktop computer or my laptop. As I’ve already mentioned in this letter, people do more of what’s convenient and friction-free. If our tools make information snacking easier, we’ll shift more toward information snacking and away from long-form reading. Kindle is purpose-built for long-form reading.

My December 2007 Observations (see "Amazon's Kindle Stirs Up E-book (and Printing and Imaging) Excitement".) offered similar thoughts, at least about the idea that Amazon took a stand by making their Kindle NOT a laptop, and NOT a PDA.

And speaking of reading books on the Blackberry, last week's Portals column by Lee Gomes in the Wall Street Journal addressed the very subject! "You Can Enjoy a Book On a Mere Cellphone; (Hit Spacebar Now)" is a fun, somewhat toungue-in-cheek read, that also contains some interesting thoughts and insights. I especially like how Gomes uses his own "street-level" marketing research to judge the popularity of Kindle, and like devices, in the face of "record numbers" claims:
Though not exactly screaming best sellers; [sic] while neither Sony nor Amazon discloses sales figures, and while Amazon reports a shortage of Kindles, one doesn't see a lot of either on trains or planes.

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