Jeff Bezos is about to launch the Kindle e-book reader at a hotel in NYC, and we're in there blogging live. Here's a gallery of Bezos plowing through device features. Jump for the play-by-play.
10:23 - Bookmarks last page read automatically. If you want to clear memory space, you delete them off of your Kindle and in 60 seconds you can get them back again. (So, 60-second downloads.) "Disappears so you can enter the author's world." The End.
10:18 - Look at the store: your recommendations, national bestseller list. Buy something: scroll with your select wheel, select title, pull up detail page. What you would expect with Amazon.com - cover art, editorial reviews. Print list price $35, Kindle price is $9.99. Click on Buy. Says "thank you for your purchase...you can continue shopping while you are downloading." GREAT FEATURE: "Purchsed by accident? Cancel this order"
10:15 - Feature run through: font size change; "select" wheel; add highlight, annotation — all saved on server side so you never lose your annotations; dictionary - looks up every word in the line, then you can select each word.
10:05-10:13 - VIDEO: The publishing world rallies around Kindle. Toni Morrison, Neil Gaiman and other luminaries say that they love Amazon and the Kindle. Mostly promotional, but we have captured it in case there's anything exciting buried in there.
10:03 - There's a dictionary resident on every Kindle, the 8-lb. Oxford American Dictionary on the 10-oz. Kindle. "With Kindle it's so friction-free to look up a word, I find my deduction of what that word might mean hasn't been that accurate." Wikipedia is the "best encyclopedia in the world;" you can access Wikipedia from the device.
10:00 - Personal documents - Every Kindle has an e-mail address. Attach docs and e-mail them to your device. It's that simple.
9:57 - 90,000 books - 101 of 112 NYT bestsellers - 9.99 - if you want to do things taht physical books can't do, why not deliver newspapers. They are delivered while you sleep. WSJ, NYT, Washington Post, and local newspapers too. Local newspapers on Kindle become national newspapers. Time, Fortune, Atlantic Monthly, Slate. And over 300 of the most popular blogs. This is not RSS - it's pushed to you. Subscribe to the ones you want.
9:55 - "EV-DO, fastest wireless technology, it's broadband. Highly deployed. Use it while you move around. Everybody knows when you use wireless cell networks, there's gotta be a data plan, multiyear contract, monthly bill — we didn't like that either. We built Amazon Whispernet on top of Sprint's EV-DO network. No data plan, no multiyear contract, no monthly bill — we pay for all of that behind the scenes so you can just read."
9:52 - "With a PC - you are loading software, shopping from your PC - once you bought and downloaded a book, you use USB cable to sync to device. We didn't think that was a very good solution. There would be no PC, no software to install. Instead of shopping from your PC, you shop from your device. Store is on your device."
9:50 Soft rubber back, full-length page turning, comfortable to hold, paper-like display, electronic ink. Recharging is bad, so long battery life. No backlight. (like Sony, Bezos says this is a good thing.)
9:47 - "I have nerd credentials." (And a big crush on his elementary school teacher Mrs. McInerny.) But can you improve on something as well suited to its task as the book?
1. It has to fade away for the reader, like a book does, "so you can enter the author's world."
2. We can never outbook the book. We have to take modern technologies and do new things that the book can't do.
9:45 - Bezos says why books are the last remaining analog product: The format (glue and paper) fades away, "and what remains are the author's worlds, the author's words. I'm a reader."
9:40 - Bezos on the codex: "Gutenberg would still recognize a modern-day book."
Though we've already posted the rumors and the news, there's still a lot to know about this mystery disruptor. The dudes behind me think it might have the most impact on publishing since the internet, so stay tuned. [Amazon Kindle Store]