Can Kindle rescue the print industry?

Posted: May 12, 2009 in The future, What is being rolled out
Tags: , , , , ,

Kindle DX has arrived, well it’s been in the market since 2007 but not everyone knows about it, especially South Africans.Kindle2b

I don’t do not yet own the Kindle however, Amazon.com states that this device is a slim e-book reader, thin as most magazines, includes a program which integrates newspaper content or books instantly, is lighter than paperbacks, and is portable like newspapers. It has a big display screen which displays digital newspapers, documents and textbooks.

From researching about this device it seems like is a groundbreaking step in increasing the popularity of eBooks.

It apparently boasts an electronic-paper display to mimic the look of real paper, wireless connectivity, more than 88,000 books, newspapers and magazines available for purchase, and the capability to email Word documents and pictures.

Kindle is  said to be environmentally friendly. It uses no paper and there is no need for recycling. You can just download content wirelessly anytime, anywhere, no distribution costs involved.

There’s a huge potential for the Kindle to be used in schools, replacing textbooks and library books, but at about R5000 per unit perhaps it should be more multi-functional. Perhaps an additional calculator, internet searching, texting, phone? This could be a good textbook opportunity for the academic market.

Future of print

imagesThe bonus of this device is that has a text-to-speech feature, Kindle can read every newspaper, magazine, blog, and book out loud to you. Amy Gahran from Poynter Online says that the text-to-speech function does a “surprisingly decent job of reading news content aloud”.

This device is good for people who have a preference for audio news because as people cook, or do the garden or even exercising can listen to the texts. (yet one may ask, how is different from ipod then?)

This nifty device can take text-to-speech service or tool can interact with text-based news and information content. But I wonder if it’ll work for foreign languages like South African languages such as Zulu, Xhosa and Sepedi (Northern Sotho), however I do think creators of text-based news content should start to take that into consideration. If Kindle can do all these things, how much is it? In the State its approximately $400 and apparently South Africans will pay R4 995 for it.

Blessing in disguise

The idea of the Kindle is a potential blessing for the print news industry.  However, US newspaper guru Alan Mutter says that the found absolution for what  he calls news media’s “original sin” is the fact that such a device will be giving content away.

Mutter further says that “at a time when newspapers are suffering from falling readerships and a depressed ad market, Kindle readers are signing up to pay for newspapers and magazines to be sent wirelessly to their e-book readers”.

Newspapers and magazine publishers are watching developments closely. As they face the biggest crisis in their history, they are hoping Amazon may have come up with a solution to getting people to pay for news again. But will this make people read more downloaded newspaper content than print publications?

The bigger question is will Kindle can help with the decline of newspaper’s circulations, crumbling ad revenue and declining readership?

decline of print circulation

Well, I don’t think this device will save the newspaper industry but it may win some new readers. And hopefully give some sort of solution or idea for the print industry. Amy Gahran does give some solutions on how news organisations can capitalise and benefit from this smart device.

Futureye signing out.

Post last updated and corrected 19th August 2009

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