As an iPhone user who use it for reading periodicals (NY Times, L’Equipe, Yahoo News, etc.), I am convinced of the value of e-books and e-press. With the touch of a botton, I can get the latest news, specialized articles or even the books that I want in less than 60 seconds.
Specialized wireless devices like the Amazon Kindle, which finally become available to non-US consumers today, will continue to fuel the e-book revolution. However, to make such services more relevant and widespread for users, companies like Amazon need to continue pushing for clear and simple service offers.
This should include web access, perhaps with tiered pricing levels. Devices need to include colour screens with multi-lingual support. Finally, to broaden the appeal, we need access to more local-language (i.e. not just English-language) content. As with Apple’s i-Tunes service, this last point will depend on the willingness of large and small publishers and press alike, to offer e-content in ways that benefits the players involved.
As of today, consumers in more than 100 countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa will be able to get a book in 60 seconds thanks to the Amazon Kindle. (See www.amazon.com)
As in the US, Kindle owners benefit from free 3G wireless connectivity for shopping and downloading books from the Kindle Store. Books generally vary in price from US$2 to US$14 per item. Browsing the Internet or accessing other services may be subject to additional fees.
Priced at $279 US (€186 / £170), the Kindle device is still a bit pricey, though on par with other readers such as Sony’s (which doesn’t yet allow over the air downloads). However, judging from Amazon’s service terms (i.e. Amazon reserves the right to discontinue wireless connectivity at any time or to otherwise change the terms for wireless connectivity at any time….), their might be changes in the near future, making it more or less attractive for users. This will probably depend on the actual market demand, the average e-book revenue per customer of course the fees given to mobile service providers in each market for enabling the mobile e-book download service.