Is the Kindle coming to Europe?
Although the Kindle has yet to be released outside the US, it has been discussed by tech bloggers, has appeared on BBC and Sky News as well as in newspapers including the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, The Times, The Sun, The Daily Star, The Financial Times. The Amazon.co.uk press office did not return calls enquiring about a possible release date for the Kindle in the UK. However, as some of the larger eReader providers including Sony, Cool-er and Iliad are all available worldwide and an Apple media pad is expected later this year, commentators including journalists at BBC News expect Amazon to release the Kindle in Europe later this year.
Assistant editor of business and tech Web site ZDNet, Andrew Nusca has tried many of the main eReaders available in the US. He explained the importance of the Kindle and how the eReader market is growing.
Question: What’s so interesting about the Kindle as an eBook reader?It’s really the first device whose sole purpose is for reading. It’s not meant to be anything else. It’s sized for that purpose. It uses technology that’s intended for that purpose - E-ink - which makes it much easier to read, less eye-strain than a traditional shiny screen.
Question: Could it ever replace the book?
For now no, absolutely not. The starting price is far too high. There are also some serious limitations in that it’s only available in the US. The thing about a book is that it’s ubiquitous, you can get it anywhere, you can get it at an airport, you can get it on the street, you can get it anywhere and the price starts at $5 or $10 and you have that pleasure and you can beat it up and you don’t have to be concerned about it. Who wouldn’t want to have their entire library with them?
Question: What stage are we at in the development of eReaders?
You barely have players here. None of these are huge names. Amazon is a huge name, but this is their first hardware device. So, they’re not very thoroughly proven on this. Sony has a reader, but very few people know about it. Amazon is really the Apple in this market. They’re sexy, they’re hot. They have the infrastructure to back it. I mean, where do you go to buy a book that’s really cheap if you don’t want to go to the store?
Question: The Kindle launched in the US in 2007 – why do you think we haven’t seen it in Europe so far?
I think there’s no doubt that Amazon can make a boat load of money from Europe. I think the difficulty is a business and administrative one. In the states, so they have a huge audience and they only have to strike a deal with one (mobile) company. Europe is quite fragmented, I might have Orange in France as my mobile carrier, but then I need another one in Italy. It’s not quite as uniform as it is in the states. I would venture that that could be a big problem.
Question: What can we expect in the future from eReaders?
Look for prices to come down as competition rises. Look for more people to come out with eReaders. Every eReader company has to get their screen from the same company. There’s only one. And they can charge a premium because of it. The screen that’s in the Kindle is the same that’s in the Cool-er, even though the Kindle, the big one (Kindle DX) costs $489 and the Cool-er costs $249.