Amazon.com released the first generation of their new e-book reading device in late 2007 with the device selling out in hours.
The Kindle uses electronic paper screen technology (E Ink) to reduce eye fatigue from flicker and glare. Unlike traditional screens, paper screens are not backlit providing an experience closer to true ink and paper. The device reads Kindle formatted books and periodicals which can be downloaded from anywhere in the US without a computer over the Sprint EVDO network without any continuing fee for the wireless access.
Documents formatted otherwise can be emailed to Amazon and converted to Kindle-formatting and then sent directly to the device for $0.10. Access to a handful of internet resources like wikipedia.com is included in the purchase price and web browsing is available at a cost. At just about $400, the Kindle certainly costs more than the average best-seller, but is not out of line with the competition. The cost to download the average e-book from the Kindle store is less than a physical copy (approx. $9.99 for a best-seller).
The cost-effectiveness of Kindle will vary substantially among users depending on their needs. It seems safe to assume that Kindle is already proving itself cost-effective to Amazon.com. This sort of device has significant appeal to numerous consumers; the reader, the techie, the green consumer etc. Amazon is also offering a self-publishing service for authors (or would-be authors) out there with their new digital text platform. This allows authors to self-publish, set their own prices, and receive 35% of the revenues. With Amazon’s more than considerable resources, the Kindle will most likely not only take the lion’s share of e-book consumers out there, it will create a sustainable market for this technology.