Kindling for a new market?

This morning’s Observer column

It’s the end-of-the-book story again. Last week, Amazon launched its Kindle electronic book reader, amid corporate hopes that it would become the ‘iPod of e-readers’. Strange, isn’t it, how everyone now aspires to create the ‘next iPod’?

The Kindle is a neat gadget that is the size of a paperback book, weighs 10.3 ounces and doesn’t beep. Its display gives a good approximation of the clarity of print on a six-inch screen. Of course it relies on battery power, but Amazon claims that you can get up to 30 hours of reading before having to plug it in for a two-hour recharge. It can hold up to 200 books. In sleep mode, the device displays tasteful images of ancient texts, early printing presses and classic authors like Emily Dickinson and Jane Austen….