Gnus of the Whirled – All Things Big & Small

gnu2Literally the biggest news on the eReader front is the debut of the 9.7 inch Kindle DX – a large eReader geared to periodical and textbook markets. The announcement leaves me less than excited for a lot of reasons. First is the $489 price tag. Considering that our family just purchased a decent laptop for about that amount, I doubt I’d ante up more cash for a big Kindle. Heck, I can get textbooks from other providers via a Wi-Fi connection that the Kindle doesn’t have, surf the web, see things in millions of colors, IM, and post annoying YouTube videos. I can do pretty much the same thing for $200 less on a less weighty netbook. I also consider that college kids don’t’ treat their textbooks with any more respect than the way I did back in the day. So, you’ve got a $489 piece of china in a dorm full of bulls. What gets me most, though, is that this gadget actually takes away from the appeal of Kindles I & II – small, elegant, and functional. Really, they’re the iPod of the reading world. Unless Amazon is planning on giving – yes – giving away Kindle 3’s (with costs buried in tuition or lab fees or media levies) to the college kids, I don’t see this larger version having big appeal.

A second, and much more interesting tidbit, appeared in the May 7th New York Times Technology ‘Bits’ section written by Brad Stone. The article announced the purchase of Stanza by Amazon. You may say, “Big whoopdedoo,” with all the thrill of having a cavity filled. For those of you that don’t know, Stanza is probably the most popular eReader app on Apple’s iPhone. Over 100k books are available for download and this will only grow with Amazon’s owning of Lexcyle, the company that developed the app. What’s more is that Amazon gets the jump on other companies developing eReader apps for smartphones. This purchase continues to show Amazon’s emphasis on channel-to-market across various platforms – where the real money is. They are working hard to be the unequivocal middleman of the printed word, and succeeding. This, fellow readers & writers, is where the War of the eReaders will be decided – not on the battlefront, but in the supply lines.