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Oprah thinks the Kindle is great too!

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Earlier this year, I told you about one of my favorite gadgets — the Amazon Kindle e-book — as well as my brush with Amazon greatness. (Read the full story here.)

Well, yesterday, my recommendation was joined by… well, by somebody whose recommendations mean a whole bunch… none other then Oprah when she classified the Kindle as her favorite gadget in the world.

Here is how the SJMN’s Good Morning Silicon Valley blog write about it:

In the world of product endorsements, there’s not much that can match a personal and public blessing by Oprah Winfrey. From books to diets to candidates, the woman has that rare power to move markets, and as evidenced by the long list of goods that have made her annual Favorite Things list, she’s not shy about exercising it. Today it was the tech world getting a little bit of that Oprah lovin’ as she declared the Amazon Kindle as “absolutely my new favorite thing in the world.” Seems somebody gave her one of the wireless electronic readers this summer and it has been nothing short of “life-changing.” So, just in time for holiday shopping, she brought Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos onto Friday’s show to savor her testimonial. And, as if Oprah Seal of Approval weren’t enough, her loyal followers can use the code OPRAHWINFREY at the Amazon site to get $50 off the $359 selling price. That may still be a bit steep in times when a lot less income is falling into the “disposable” category, and some folks, even if tempted, may want to hold out for the release of the next version, but with a big, wet kiss like this in front of massive, mainstream audience, a sales bump is virtually assured.

All Oprah audience members got one for free and, as GMSV mentions, you can get $50 off the $359 list price by using the code OPRAHWINFREY at check-out.

I have been a fan of my Kindle — it is largely how I read most books these days.

One of the other big advantages, which Oprah did not mention, is that you can send documents that you want to read to your Kindle. So… have a bunch of work documents that you have to read and you don’t want to carry them all around? Send them to your Kindle and you’ll have them with you.

There could be advantages for agencies that have standard operating procedures or piles of instructions that they keep in notebooks. Given that the Kindle is searchable in documents, couldn’t those be replace by a Kindle? Who knows, but…

Again, as the GMSV post says — and as I mentioned earlier this year — I keep hearing there is going to be a Kindle 2.0 coming out very soon — before Christmas, I would assume. (There is a photo of the redesigned Kindle here.) I was hoping that Bezos was going to announce it with Oprah, but…

Two updates: I mentioned the Kindle 2.0. There was a lot of Twittering about this topic. BusinessWeek reported in August that Kindle 2.0 could come this year. The NYT said — also in August — that we shouldn’t hold our breath — it will be next year. More recently, Publisher’s Weekly reported on Oct. 22 that there won’t be a new Kindle this year.

Written by cdorobek

October 25, 2008 at 8:55 PM

Posted in books, Technology

Tagged with CJD’s brush with greatness… e-book edition

with 3 comments Kindle eBook

This past weekend, before starting the new gig on Federal News Radio, we traveled out to this very nice resort in Tuscon, AZ for a few days of R&R before jumping in to the new job.

As I was wallowing in the pool, I saw a gentleman reading a Kindle. The Kindle, for those of you who have not seen it, is’s e-book. As a gadget guy, of course, I was one of the first in line late last year when it was introduced… just before the holiday season, of course.

So, I saw this guy reading the Kindle. I asked him, ‘So, do you like your Kindle?’

‘Of course,’ he said. ‘Do you have one?’

‘Yes,’ I answered. ‘I love it.’ I then went on to give him my review of the Kindle. I do, after all, adore my Kindle. That being said, I do have some recommendations. (More on that in a moment.) I told this person my critiques and then told him that I understood that some of them might be in Kindle 2.0 because I had read that Amazon was preparing to come out with a next generation of Kindle — Kindle 2.0, if you will.

Minutes later, from the other side of the pool, I thought to myself… that person looks a lot like Jeff Bezos, the CEO of (Famous people like Bezos don’t have “Fortune” across their foreheads when you see them out in the ‘real’ world.) And, when I got back to my room, I Google’s Bezo’s wife, figuring that there may be many people who may look like Bezos, but the chance of seeing a man who looks like Bezos with a woman who looks like his wife is right there between slim and none.

And, as you may be able to predict by now, in fact, I did tell CEO Jeff Bezos my thoughts about the Kindle.

So… back to my own review of the Kindle. (I have pulled other reviews about the Kindle together here.) It is unclear about how successful the Kindle has been, there is no doubt that it is a significant step in how we will view ‘paper’ in the future.

As I said, I am a gadget guy. Yes, I have an iPhone, which I adore, despite the short battery life… and I will get the latest iPod when it comes out. What can I say — I love to be on the bleeding edge. And so when introduced the Kindle e-book late last year, as a regular and long-time user, I was in line.

Over the nine months that I have had my Kindle, I have a number of friends who immediately say, ‘Argh! It’s not a book! This official marks the end of civilization as we know it!’ (OK — they may not use that exact language, but… it’s not far from it.)

That is generally true — until they see it. People largely expect it to be like reading a computer screen. It is nowhere close. It is simply a pleasure to read. (Don’t you wish you could increase the point size of some books? Well, you can with a Kindle.)

I have to say that I have come to really adore my Kindle.

As a regular traveler and a regular reader, I can carry scores of books — and get my beloved newspapers — on my Kindle. Currently, I have some 45 books on theeBook. Each day, I also get the NYT, WSJ, WP and — all delivered electronically.

There are some frustrations. As I told Jeff — yes, we’re THAT close now — I think the on-off switch, which is located on the back of the device, is poorly placed. The holder for the Kindle is also clumsy. And the Kindle isn’t as elegant as it should be. (We’ve all gotten used to Apple’s designs.) And I have grown frustrated with publications, such as the WP, that only provide headlines, requiring that you click through to stories to get more information. (TheNYT offers a paragraph that provides you with more information about the story.)

I also have friends who complain that there just aren’t enough books that are Kindle ready. (To be honest, I just have not found this to be a problem yet.)

So the Kindle isn’t perfect, but… it is simply remarkable. As somebody who loves to read and loves newspapers and magazine, I can carry loads of them with me all in a trim package. I no longer have to worry about where I’ll be able to find my morning papers. I know — I’ll get them delivered right on my Kindle. And it is imminently easy to read a Kindle “page.” The device uses something called electronic “ink,” which is as easy to read as a book.

You can also load your own documents on to your Kindle either by e-mailing them to a specific Web site or by using the connection that comes with your device. (Imagine being able to carry all that reading material right on your Kindle without having to carry around all that paper.)

So, over all, I give my Kindle a strong B+ rating… and I’m anxiously awaiting the Kindle 2.0. (I’m sure Jeff is sending me one!)
Update: I got a note Thursday morning from a friend who also has a Kindle. His critique:

As you know, I agree with you completely. Here are a few faults you didn’t mention: if you want to “flip back” or go forward to re-read or read a page you have to do it page by page; a real time-waster and a pain in the ass. The Next Page and Back “buttons” could be placed more sensibly, especially Back.

I find I’m reading more (and I’m a voracious reader) as I’m never without the Kindle and use it almost every spare moment.

Written by cdorobek

September 10, 2008 at 11:00 PM