A New Kindle While Journalism Burns

I didn’t buy a personal Kindle — the price was too steep. But I did ask our library to buy one, and I have been experimenting with reading PDFs on my new tablet PC. So I was interested when I first heard the hype surrounding what may be Amazon’s announcement of the next version of the Kindle, which finally approximates the awesome thin tablets that feature briefly in 2001: A Space Odyssey (one of the astronauts casually places it on the table while eating) and the similar devies (known to fans as PADDs) often seen in Star Trek.

Meanwhile, Forbes has a good article on what the e-book publishing industry might mean to journalism.

Besides books, the Kindle wirelessly updates 31 newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, 21 magazines (yes, Forbes, too) and over 1,000 blogs. And while most of these publications are free on the Web, scratching out a living on advertising alone, the Kindle versions have subscription prices ranging from $6 to $15 a month for the newspapers and $1.25 to $3.50 a month for the magazines. Even popular blogs like Boing Boing run $2 a month.

Reading the papers on the Kindle is slower than it should be, with lots left to do on design and layout. So far the publishers seem to be moving Web copy directly to the Kindle rather than designing content for this as a unique device. I tried to go to The New York Times’ op-ed page, and after an initial blank screen received a full-screen picture of David Brooks. Eeek. Satirical blog The Onion jumps straight into stories, with no organization.

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