Amazon recently announced its newest Kindle – the Paperwhite. As soon as the announcement was over, and even during the announcement, Twitter and Facebook and every other social network were all talking about it. So, what is the new Paperwhite Kindle?
First and foremost, it’s an upgrade to the Kindle. This alone is enough for most people to go rush out and buy the thing. It comes in a free 3G model that still only runs for $180 and the Paperwhite Wi-Fi model runs for $119. This is still an awesome price point for most people who own e-Readers.
What really sets Paperwhite apart is the display. It’s a front-lit, ultra-high-resolution display that, according to rumor, looks as good as ink on paper. You can read it on the brightest beach in the middle of the day (one of the Kindle’s selling points against LED tablet competitors like iPad and Android devices) and you can read it at night with the front-lit display.
Amazon’s front lighting technology is highly patented and much of it hasn’t really been disclosed but think of it this way: You know those fiber optic cables that light up and people use for ornaments and decoration? Take fiber optic cable, stretch it out to the size and shape of a Kindle reader and make it out of really high quality industrial-strength stuff and now you have glass that can light up from all directions. (This is an oversimplification, but it helps me understand the technology more).
I don’t (yet) own a Paperwhite but I’ve already ordered one of the $69 Kindles for my daughter. Front-lit eReaders have become amazing devices (and cheap!). The more of these that get into the hands of avid readers, the more eBooks readers are going to buy, and the more publishers will need to focus on marketing to electronic-first readers. To me, electronic-first readers are those who search the Kindle store for their books and their primary motivation in going to a brick-and-mortar book store is for the coffee.
As an author, what the Paperwhite and other new devices like it mean to me is one thing: Authors and publishers need to be spending an awful lot of their time on electronic footprint books because more and more, that’s all people buy these days. I personally know several people who, ever since they bought their first Kindle or Nook, never even set foot in a book store anymore.