Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Kindle 2.0 Arrives–Just Nine Years After the First E-Books

Pumped up about the potential for e-books? So is Stephen King.

Just as he was nine years ago.

The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 4, 2009:

In a sign that the electronic book is gaining clout in the publishing world, Amazon is also expected to say it has acquired a new work by best-selling novelist Stephen King that will be available exclusively, at least for a time, on Kindle.”

Forbes, Aug. 21, 2000:

STEPHEN KING HAS JUST RELEASED his umpteenth scary novel, and it particularly horrifies the publishing industry–but stirs new hope among those engaged in a long-thwarted pursuit: the electronic book.

E-books used to get lumped in with the same science-fiction stuff as jetpacks and lunar colonies. Suddenly they are present tense. A few months ago half a million people downloaded a Stephen King novella, the first big splash. Now King is bypassing Simon & Schuster to release his next novel online, selling it for $1 a chapter. Some 41,000 fans downloaded Chapter 1 in the first 15 hours.

‘My friends, we have a chance to become Big Publishing’s worst nightmare,’ King says on his Web site.”

My point (besides the fact that Forbes writer, circa 2000, Peter Kafka may be going places–keep an eye on that guy)?

Only this: Whether Amazon’s (AMZN) Kindle is a big hit or a modest one, we’re probably going to have to wait some time before digital books are a mainstream reality.

These digital revolutions always take longer than they should–just ask the music business, which sells a product that is already delivered in digital form yet derives just 20 percent of its revenue from digital products–a full nine years after the original Napster. Don’t plan on ripping down your bookshelves just yet.

[Image Credit: Tabitha King, via StephenKing.com]


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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google