Kindle will focus on reading, color Kindle far away – Jeff Bezos

Lots of good and a few bad bits of news from Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting. There were a surprising number of Kindle related things discussed.

Kindle to focus on reading

It’s certainly good to hear that Amazon aren’t going to mess with the Kindle’s focus on reading (via Electronista) -

Mr. Bezos also said he has no interest in copying the iPad -

That’s just awesome. The last thing the Kindle needs is to add non-reading related features.

No Color Kindle any time soon

Mr. Bezos dismissed the notion that a Color Kindle is just around the corner (courtesy The Associated Press) -

founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said that adding color to the Kindle’s “electronic ink” display is a difficult technical challenge and that a color screen is “still a long way out.” Bezos said he’s seen things “in the laboratory” that are “still not ready for prime-time production.”

Wonder what the Qualcomm Mirasol team would have to say to that.

Mr. Bezos also said that color LCDs are not suitable for a reading device (courtesy TechFlash) -

Bezos said color LCD displays (common in many devices today, including iPad) are not right for a long-form reading device like the Kindle. LCD displays produce eye strain, have a shorter battery life, and don’t work in bright sunlight, Bezos said.

The first few commenters to the news at the Kindle forum seem pretty indifferent to color -

S. Lockhart: That’s fine by me.

M. Francis: Likewise.

Pamela: Wasn’t expecting color any time soon.

country road: I do not care about color at all!

Merkin Muffley: I don’t require color.

Well, lack of color hasn’t stopped Kindles from selling and Amazon can’t really do much if eInk isn’t ready for color. You could argue that people who want color don’t buy Kindles and Amazon could add those as customers. However, it’s worthwhile to wait until the technology is fully baked.

Amazon won’t specify exactly how many Kindles have sold

To no one’s surprise Amazon again refused to divulge exactly how many Kindles it had sold -

The Amazon CEO didn’t shed any light on Kindle sales numbers, saying as he has in the past that “millions” of Kindles have been sold. He also noted that Kindle books can now be read across multiple devices …

Amazon thinks Cloud Services could be as big as retail

Pretty amazing when you think about it -

… Bezos said that Amazon Web Services, which sells Web hosting and data-storage services to other companies, has the potential to be as large as Amazon’s retail business eventually.

He called the overall market for such services a “very, very large area” that is generally not being done efficiently.

“Whenever something is done inefficiently, that creates an opportunity,” Bezos said.

Associated Press point out that Amazon’s retail operations brought in approximately $7 billion in the first quarter so Mr. Bezos is certainly very high on Cloud Services.

Kindle device and Kindle books are separate businesses

The addition of Kindle for iPad and Kindle for Android have highlighted this. It was still good to hear it brought up again -

Bezos talked in more explicit terms than I’ve heard in the past about Kindle as two businesses — the device business and the content business — and said each will survive on its own merits.

“There’s a Kindle bookstore and a Kindle device,” Bezos said. “The Kindle device will succeed by being the best dedicated e-reader in the world. The Kindle bookstore will succeed by having the best selection and lowest prices and being available on the Kindle and other devices.”

The best dedicated eReader in the world – definitely like the sound of that.

Amazon to continue to fight for $9.99

Perhaps my 2nd favorite bit of news (after the focus of Kindle on reading) was this -

Amazon has recently begun to raise the prices on some Kindle e-books in a bow to publisher demands. But Bezos made clear Amazon is still dedicated to its original $9.99 price for new e-books.

“You can expect us to keep pushing for that price point,” he said.

“If consumers perceive that prices are too high, they will shift” to lower-cost titles, he said, adding that Amazon has already seen this dynamic.

So the Agency Model boycott is working. If in just 1.5 months it’s already clear that users are ‘shifting’ to lower-cost titles then Publishers will soon have no choice but to go back to $9.99 prices.

4 Responses

  1. I don’t get the focus on color, print books aren’t in color unless they’re coffee table books or something. I also get Reader’s Digest which does have a few images but they render just fine in greytones.

    I think he’s right about cloud services. My company uses Amazon and saves hundreds of thousands of dollars a year over hosting at a data center. It’s far cheaper and more flexible. There’s no ordering hardware and server software, no maintenance of hardware, no figuring ROI, etc. If you need an additional server, you just spin one up in a few minutes. They even have services that do that automatically depending on server load.

  2. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that other more relevant technical improvements aren’t pursued – and fast. I’m thinking of much higher contrast, sharper screens (higher resolutions), faster refresh rates (for loading pictures and pdfs), and so on. Actually the Kindle 2 is getting pretty close to being an ideal book replacement as it is, but we need another iteration before we’re say 90% of the way there.

  3. There are plenty of nonfiction works that would benefit from the ability to include color photographs in an e-version. There’s also the matter of magazines and comics, which are entirely appropriate content for an e-reader. Now, shorter works like magazines and comics are probably perfectly viable on an LCD screen such as the iPad sports, but who wants to have a separate device just for that?

    I’m more excited about other implications of technology like Mirasol, but color is a selling point for me.

  4. Personally, I would like a colour Kindle for knitting & crochet books and for cookbooks. Greyscale is okay for photos, but colour would be so much better those types of books. I would love to be able to take all of my sock knitting books with me when I went to the yarn shop! What a joy that would be!

    My only other wish is to be able to check out library books by way of my Kindle.

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