Amazon’s New E-reader Shines Light on the Future of Books

Daniel Kopf

Amazon is trying to light a fire in the fledgling eBook business last week by releasing its new e-reader, the Kindle 2.

Amazon’s Kindle 2 is the second line of Amazon’s e-readers, a device which allows the user to download and then read literary material on the go. The Kindle 2, which costs $359.000, was made available to the public last week on Amazon.com.

Amazon's new e-reader the Kindle 2

Amazon's new e-reader the Kindle 2

The Kindle 2 weighs in at 10.2 ounces and boasts 2GB of memory which, according to Amazon.com, adds up to about 1,500 books. The Kindle 2 also has Wi-FI to allow the user to download the books anywhere without the need of a PC.

Besides books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs are also available for download. The Kindle 2 uses a 16 bit screen to display the literature, a 12 bit improvement from the original Kindle.

One of Amazons main focuses on the Kindle 2 was making it more travel ready. The Kindle 2 is .36 inches thick and hosts a battery that lasts around four to five days, 25% longer than the original model.

The Kindle 2 also has a new feature called text-too-speech, a function that translates the text into speech, allowing users to hear the text in either a male or female voice. 

Despite its more ergonomic design, many believe the Kindle 2 did not make a large enough leap over its predecessor.

“The Kindle 2 needs to have a touch screen and a color display in order to keep up with the prominent devices now available on the market,” said Marist sophomore Matt Esposito. “It would encourage me to buy it if it had those features.”

The Kindle 2’s technological advances raise some important questions regarding the future of books. Cathy Carl, Assistant Library Director at Marist College, feels that a paperless future is not as close as it might seem.

“I think that traditional books are going to be used less and less, but not obsolete, until the publisher changes their stance,” said Carl. “In academics, faculty are still given a lot of credit for publishing academic journals. As long as that remains, books will be around.”

Amazon’s Kindle 2 and other e-readers are starting to put pressure on bookstores.  Marist bookstore employee Ray Mcgale assures bookstore owners that business isn’t going anywhere. “Some point down the road bookstores will adapt.”

The Kindle 2 might be the future of literature, but it still has a long way to go.

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