Liveblogging Amazon Kindle eBook Launch

Im at the W Union Square for the Amazon Kindle launch. I'm going to try and liveblog this from my phone, using its miraculously miraculous miracle touchscreen keyboard. Pardon any mistakes; I'll clean them up when I'm home.

We've got another five minutes before we start, so for now join me in enjoying some smooth jazz.

9:30 am - Apparently demo units will be handed out. I will take one get impressions up post haste. What I wouldn't give for a fold-out Bluetooth keyboard for iPhone.

Okay, I lied: I wrote this at 8:28.Beautiful room. What was the W before it was the W?

None of the people here would I describe as "bookish."

9:34 - Steven Levy, who got the scoop cover for Newsweek, sat down two rows in front of me. He's bookish.

Just saw Ha from CrunchGear. So long exclusive? Who will get online first?

Overheard: "It's a totally misguided device"; "It's just an ebook reader, isn't it?"

We got the silent phone warning, so we should be cooking soon.

9:41 - Bezos on. Talking about history of writing. Papyrus! Surgery! Codices! Parchment! String! Gutenberg!

"we forget books are technology."

Showing how books are printed. Oh god, I'm going to go bald soon, aren't I?

"Books are the last bastion of analog."

Flow state. We don't think of the book itself; it gets out of the way."

"I have certain nerd credentials." pic of Bezos as a child on teletype to mainframe with acoustic coupled modem.

"we knew we would never outbook the book."

Sprint is providing the backbone, no monthly fee.

90,000 books available to start.

Sounds like new books are all $10.

Newspaper content pushes automatically. Same with magazines. Hey, boing boing was the example blog! Suck ups!

Personal docs are emailed to device. Word docs. Dictionary on board. Wikipedia lookups live.

No contract or service plan. It's baked into the price. (Which explains a lot about the price.)

10:06 - Showing a demo video now. Guy Kawasaki pushing it for blogs. If you have to pay for blogs I'm gonna be horked, even if we're making money on the subscription. Neil Gaimen likes it.

Wonder if it fails to slower networks if EVDO isn't around?

Now Bezos is showing a demo. Showing refresh. Looks good. That whole fin on the right is a page button. Using the select wheel to look up word in dictionary. Notes and annotations are stored server-side. Looking at store is what you'd expect, includes regular Amazon recommendations. Reviews are on the profile page. Downloads are in the background. A purchase undo is available right after clicking buy, just in case.

Okay, I think it's about over. Books are archived on the server.

More when I'm at a real input device.

Join the Conversation


  1. EV-DO sucks folks. Coverage is poor outside of large urban areas (and even in many large urban areas) so this must fall back to an older CDMA standard or it will just be a book for the NYC crew. And what about the rest of the planet? Don’t we want to read? What DRM is being used and how hard will it be to move between\upgrade devices?

    Also please tell me it’s a lot less fugly in the flesh. Who designed this – Homer Simpson?

  2. I need to be able to put my own texts on it, or I will never buy the thing. I don’t want to pay $400 for a device, and then $3 for a public domain text when Project Gutenberg is out there.

  3. I dislike the per month cost for the blogs, especially areas like Apartment therapy which has various sections/pages (NY, Chicago, Kitchen, Green, etc) which are $2/mo each. I see boingboing on there for $2 as well, does that include bb gadgets and tv or just the main page, it doesn’t clarify and going off of AT I’d assume not.

    I understand that it’s only $1-2 for most blogs but really, when they say no monthly fees and advertize blog viewing anywhere as a feature, I’d expect at least some freebies beyond wiki. Just as the “email content to your kindle for 10cents each” seems like a downer. It leads me to wonder if the kindle account is billed per email, what happens when they get on a spam list.

    Neat idea, but to me not worth it.

  4. ack!
    It’s astounding when somebody can come up with less functionality and greater cost than Sony.

    Server based book storage? EVDO dependent? Amazon Customer service?

    I’ll wait for the bookeen or grab a PRS-500 at Costco for $250.

  5. How many actual books can you purchase for it’s cost price? Plus the operating costs? Cold, dead hands, people! You won’t trick my dead trees away from me! Oh no.

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