Friday, November 16, 2007

Kindle Rumors Abound

It seemed like yesterday, everywhere I turned, I was hearing another rumor about Kindle.

Kindle, Amazon's promised ebook reader, has gone through the rumor mill many times before, but never with the ferocity of the past couple of days.

Larry Dignan at ZDNet wrote a piece furthering the rumor yesterday afternoon. A press conference has been scheduled for 9:30 am on Monday from Amazon, to be given by Jeff Bezos, but the contents of the announcement remain mysterious.

From independent sources, I know that several heads of book publishing houses have been invited to attend. That fact alone, points to something related to books.

Having the press conference the Monday before Thanksgiving is a sure fire indication that whatever is being announced is timed to attempt to maximize sales for Christmas.

So, my money is on a Kindle announcement.

What I'm more skeptical about is how it will sell.

Amazon almost single handedly squashed ebook sales when they bought Mobipocket and decided that other formats would no longer be welcome on their retail site. So, not only do they have to sell a device, they need to draw back the ebook reader market. My guess is that we will hear about that plan on Monday also.

Amazon certainly has the content, and a selection of ebooks to sell and/or package with their new device. I know several publishers that have given Amazon the go ahead to create Mobipocket ebooks from the .PDF files used for the 'Search inside the book program'.

The question remains, can they ramp this up quickly enough to have an impact for Christmas. If they can, then it will be the galvanizing event that will force publishers to start getting their digital strategies together. If Amazon can't make a good Christmas out of Kindle and ebooks, then I fear that most -not the enlightened ones - will simply defer their digital plans until next year.

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