Buzz builds for Kindle 2

February 9, 2009

Reuters and others are reporting that is expected to unveil a new version of the Kindle electronic reader on Monday.

While the Kindle is a tiny part of Amazon’s web retail business, it gets a ton of buzz, and a new version has been much speculated about on the web.  The question is whether mainstream consumers are really ready to buy it, particularly in the current economic environment.

“We think Kindle will be an interesting product which the high-end consumers love, particularly investment bankers traveling in from Connecticut,” Bernstein Research’s Jeffrey Lindsay says in the Reuters story. “We don’t think it will be a large penetration object any time soon.”

To help with mainstreamers, the Wall Street Journal writes,  Amazon is also expected to say it has acquired a new work by best-selling novelist Stephen King that will be available exclusively, at least for a time, on Kindle.

“Many publishers have long feared that Amazon would persuade a major author to write for its Kindle on an exclusive basis. Although retailers such as Barnes & Noble Inc. have long published their own books, they have struggled to find distribution outside their own stores. But Amazon has already proven that it can sell as many Kindles as it can manufacture. Indeed, Amazon is working to overcome the supply problems that have plagued the device,” says the Journal.

We won’t know all the details until later today, so stay tuned. For now, engadget has what appear to be some early images of the new version.

Meanwhile, the New York Times has a piece today on Plastic Logic, which also makes an electronic book device. The article says that Plastic Logic will “announce partnership deals on Monday that it says will bring a number of major publications to its planned device.”

Keep an eye on:

  • Satellite mogul Charles Ergen made an unsolicited offer late last year to take control of Sirius XM Radio Inc and was rebuffed, according to people familiar with the situation to the Wall Street Journal (
  • Most media companies are cutting back on investments but Comcast’s SportsNet is putting money into studio improvements and new programming and revamping its Web sites to bring in more national advertising dollars (NY Times)
  • Former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant received a “whole lotta love” at the Grammy Awards Sunday, winning five prizes including album of the year for an acclaimed collaboration with bluegrass queen Alison Krauss (Reuters)

(Photo: Reuters)

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