Amazon’s latest e-book device gets mixed reaction from industry

The Kindle 2, which is being billed by some as an iPod for books, can hold up to 1,500 books, receive daily newspapers and has the ability to read text out loud, making it a rival to audio books.

The original Kindle shifted 500,000 models when it launched last year – 32% more than Apple’s first year iPod sales, though the device is currently only available in the US..

Mike Taylor, chief executive of UK-based CPI, told PrintWeek: “E-book readers will definitely find their place in the marketplace and have a strong future, but I don’t think anyone in the publishing industry thinks that it will have a real impact on book sales.

“The initial cost of the device is high, as is the price to download each book. It will be difficult to justify this. I also can’t imagine people leaving these things on a beach towel and the titles can’t be lent to friends like a hard copy of a book,” added Taylor.

Kevin Sarney, managing director of Butler, Tanner & Dennis (BT&D), was less sceptical, claiming the younger generation would start to look at e-book readers as an everyday item.

He added: “Books have to be ready for their iPod moment and we have to be ready to embrace this technology and keep an eye on how it is developing. It may mean we have to produce more on-demand titles and inevitably it may mean that book sales suffer.”

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