3

image Is Amazon playing mind games with the media? Or maybe changing its mind—because people might shun the existing Kindle if the first 2.0 model were expected in a month or so? Fear of the Osborne effect?

Now the word from Amazon itself, namely chief spokesman Craig Berman, is that new Kindles will not appear in ’08.

I’d love for BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows and others to tell us the story behind the story.

Berman’s exact words

Meanwhile here are Berman’s exact words to Brad Stone of the New York Times: "Don’t believe everything you read. There’s a lot of rumor and speculation about the Kindle. One thing I can tell you for sure is that there will be no new version of the Kindle this year. A new version is possible sometime next year at the earliest." So now apparently it’s safe to go into the water again, so to speak, and take advantage of that $100-credit-card deal to bring the net price down to $259?

More on the media issues

image But back to press issues. I’m more inclined to blame Amazon than stock analysts or others, and I suspect that someone is playing games.

I’d love to be able to call up Amazon whenever the rumors appeared and get an authoritative answer as Stone did. But the rule at Amazon seems to be, "Don’t break news except to the big boys."

Bargain with Amazon? Returned calls if the questions aren’t too pesky?

So what happens if MSM reporters write in depth about ePub and the issues that so many TeleBlog community members care about, in a Kindle context? I don’t know if there are any bargains, tacit or not. I just find it curious that the big boy write so little about: "What’s true ownership of books? How does DRM affect it? eBabel? And why won’t Amazon do a DRM-free store for interested publishers? Or let shoppers filter sort out DRM-infested titles?"

If MSM reporters ask these uppity questions, will Amazon stop returning their calls? I’d rather have the freedom to cover The Issues than have Amazon return my calls.

The trial balloon factor: Was Amazon stirring up publicity on new Kindles to help determine how big the production runs should be?

The loophole factor: The journalist side of me will be endlessly POed if Amazon releases a Kindle-like product under another name, then says: "But we said no new versions of the Kindle." The consumer side, of course, will be delighted.

A big positive for Amazon: Someone on the Reading 2.0 list had a broken Kindle and inquired about the quality of service. Others assured him it was good based on their own experiences with Amazon. Sure enough, the company put his unit through diagnostics, failed to revive it, then offered to send him a Kindle the next day. Now if Amazon can run its press operation in as classy a way.

 
3