We were early converts to ebooks. My wife thought it was silly, but I bought a first generation Kindle as soon as they were released. In a tragic turn of events (for me) she fell in love with the thing and I never saw it again. I had to buy another Kindle (second generation) so I could finally have my own. I now have the Kindle app, along with several others, on my iPad and iPhone. The point is that we’re a household of ebook nerds and were quite unlikely to let the new Kindle Fire pass without getting our hands on it.
The Fire showed up Tuesday in the drab-but-clever Amazon.com packaging they used for their previous Kindles, and we were happy to see it fully charged. Once we got it on our home wifi it took off like a champ. The Fire synched up quickly to our account, though it was a while before we actually got around to reading any books. First we had to play with the games, installed Facebook app, and relatively small Appstore. I think all these extras are why some people are confused about the Fire is for and try to compare it to an iPad.
It’s No iPad, but it doesn’t need to be
The Fire’s is designed to consume content. Books are obvious, Pandora came installed for music, and you can stream movies from Amazon.com and Netflix. I love that the Fire will fit (snugly) in my back pocket, but that small size means there is no way I can use it for much more writing or serious work than my iPhone. It is also a big sluggish sometimes when not using the core book and video apps, which would drive me nuts over a long period of time. The Fire is much cheaper than an iPad, and will never replace its functionality.
That’s fine by me, because I’m more excited about what the Fire does have than what it lacks. Amazon has about 70% of the ebook market right now, which in some respects makes them the least common denominator for ebooks. If you have an idea for an electronic publication that won’t work on Amazon, you’re throwing the biggest chunk of the market out the window.
Now that the Fire supports color, audio, and video, the least common denominator is a whole lot sexier. “Ebooks” can be a lot more than just text versions of regular books. Think of a cookbook that displays videos as you cook, or a children’s book that includes spooky sounds as a character walks through a dark woods. The Kindle Fire supports the KF8 (Kindle Format 8) which starts to allow fun things via HTML5 and CSS.
Unfortunately it is still a Kindle-specific format, but since I can read Kindle on my iPad, read the Nook app on my Fire, and mix things up a dozen different ways I think we’ll still see authors much less constrained while all the dust settles.
Things are getting more and more interesting.
Circle Us on Google+
If you’re on Google+, we now have a business page for digital authors. Add us to your circle and we’ll circle you right back.
Visit us at Social Media AZ Conference
Evo and I are giving our Intro to Digital Publishing talk at the Social Media AZ (SMAZ) conference in Tempe tomorrow. Our session starts at 2:00pm.
If you’re coming down to the event, make sure and say hello!