07 October 2009

And here comes The Kindle

Amazon has finally announced its Kindle ereader is available to customers outside the US including Australia. For US$279 you can order your Kindle and they'll ship it to you from 19 October. I imagine there won't be a lot of Australian content available for us, as local publishers have been relatively slow to get behind ebooks. Allen & Unwin and Pan Macmillan are two notable exceptions thanks to Elizabeth Weiss and Victoria Nash respectively. These two publishing leaders continue to promote the digital agenda and I don't know what the local industry would do without them!

Mind you, I had to laugh when I read that Don Grover, CEO of Dymocks, spoke about the take-up of devices being driven by content. They were the first retailer to get on the ebook bandwagon (we library suppliers having gotten on it some years back...). But now the ebook kiosk at Dymocks tells a sad, sorry tale. Dismantled and hidden away at the back of the store, it failed to attract a wider audience. Of course it would! If you want to buy an ebook you don't need to go into a bricks and mortar bookshop. That's the beauty of it! Hop online and a few clicks of the button later you have your content. Also, apparently Dymocks sold thousands of Iliads. Ahem. Thousands? A contact at the distributor advised the real figure was much less but don't let us stop you upselling the demand and promoting the uptake of ereaders! We all know it's the future so get your e-reader today folks. Of course you can't get much content but hey, here's a device that you'll enjoy carrying around with you!

And then, of course, there was this beauty from Don: ‘We're finding consumers like the wide screen of a laptop computer instead', he said. No kidding! Didn't we see that all along? Ereaders are great but at the end of the day readers will read on whatever device they use the most - their phone, their laptop, their ereader. Dymocks started the ball rolling but I really do hate to see them drop it.

And for those who have been following this blog: for the record, I'm still reading printed books! However I've got plenty of content (mainly US sourced) on the Sony e-reader. This is the first year I will be taking the device with me to the Frankfurt Book Fair and I must say I'm excited and nervous at the same time. Excited because there's around 46 books currently on the reader, including Audrey Niffenegger's new one Her Fearful Symmetry and nervous in case I have trouble charging the bugger and find I have nothing to read but German magazines I'll pick up while I'm there. My German's good, but not that good!

Oh, and before I sign off this post - perhaps in the months ahead people will stop asking me "oh is that a Kindle" every time I take out the e-reader. No it's bloody not a Kindle. It's a SONY!