Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

Kindle doesn’t catch fire (at least this Xmas)

December 17, 2008

If you’ve listed an Amazon Kindle e-book reader in your letter to Father Christmas then I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed (at least in the UK). According to an article in the BookSeller magazine the company will not be able to release in time for Christmas because of problems sorting out Europe-wide Wi-Fi access. There are a large number of operators across the EU and they all need to be squared or the device will not operate when you pack it in your luggage for that holiday in France.

This kind of thing is part of a wider European agenda that was discussed at a roundtable last month in Lyon: the perceived need for a single market for digital services. Given the size of the EU these days there are potentially 27 different markets and according to Jacques Stern of the French National Research Agency, this results in numerous forms of a particular service. A complication. As Amazon is finding out.

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Kindling the flames of e-book controversy

August 4, 2008

Matt Jukes’ Backpass blog has alerted me to news that Amazon are looking to release two new versions of their e-reader. One will have the same screen size as the existing design but a new, cleaner design and the other will have a much larger screen. There are rumours as to whether the larger screen version might be aimed at students, who will be able to store electronic versions of the bulky textbooks they currently have to lug around.

Although Kindle is not available in the UK, it is likely to arrive sometime in the next year or so. Sony’s e-reader, Sony Reader, arrives here in September and the iRex’s iLiad has been available for a few months. One of the big issues that potential buyers will need to think about is that there is a lot of manoeuvring in the market around standards.

Work is underway on an open, XML-based standard called EPUB through an organisation called International Digital Publishing Forum. The other key standard is PDF, which is very widely used for electronic documents and is now an ISO international standard. Sony’s reader supports PDF and the company has just announced that they will support EPUB in a forthcoming e-reader. By contrast, Kindle only supports Amazon’s own standards MobiPocket and AZW. It does not support Adobe’s PDF although it provides an ‘experimental’ converter. The iLiad supports PDF and Mobipocket.

You can read more about the emerging debate over e-book standards on the recently launched JISC TechWatch blog which I write for. Suffice to say though that in the market place, the battle lines have been drawn.

Amazon’s Kindle

October 24, 2007

There have been persistent rumours that Amazon is about to launch an electronic book device called Kindle. Engadget claims to have a photo and a copy of its specification, and an article in the New York Times gives a price tag of between $400 and $500, and predicts a launch later this month.

Such rumours are given further credence when Mary Meeker, one of the leading financial analysts of the first wave of Internet companies in the 1990s, noted the product in a talk last week about Web 2.0. She makes the point that: “We know what Apple did with iTunes, could Amazon do the same for books?”

Personally, I’m not convinced, especially as it will be supporting Amazon’s own, proprietary e-book standard rather than the open e-book standard, something which education is becoming increasingly wary of. But what do I know? I still have vinyl records at home…