Kindling a revolution? Maybe not

Astute comment by Rory Cellan-Jones.

Suddenly I realised why a book worked on the Kindle but a paper did not. For me, reading a book is an analogue experience – I start at page one and continue until I’ve finished. A newspaper, on the other hand, is more random, more interactive. I scan the sections and leap from one article to another, much as I do on the web. That’s what is already available to me – for free – on newspaper websites, so why would I pay for a less satisfactory digital newspaper? Newspapers have woken up rather late to the fact that they’ve been giving away content online which could be monetised through e-readers.

There are other reasons why the Kindle may not be quite the game-changer some are claiming. Is a device costing upwards of £200 really going to persuade many people to abandon paper for a screen – especially when you can get a netbook these days for around the same price? And there will be questions about Amazon's walled garden, which allows some other e-books to be read on the Kindle but doesn’t allow titles from its online store to be read on other devices. Other contenders – perhaps including an Apple tablet – may learn some lessons from Amazon and take digital reading to the next level.

The Kindle looks to me like an attractive but expensive niche product, giving a few techie bibliophiles the chance to take more books on holiday without incurring excess baggage charges. But will it force thousands of bookshops to close and transform the economics of struggling newspapers? Don't bet on it.