Friday, October 24, 2008

Debrief: Oprah And The Abominable Kindle

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Oprah was given a Kindle this past summer by Kate Forte, who she described as a friend. Forte is actually president of Harpo Films in Los Angeles.

The entire audience -- as well as some mothers gathered in San Diego (I think it was) connected via Skype video -- was given a free Kindle.

Oprah said the Kindle can store 200 books and then held up an SD card and stated that using one of those (the cards you use for cameras), you can store four thousand books.

Oprah said on her last vacation she packed fourteen books. She won't have to do that again.

She's currently reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle on her Kindle and gave everyone a free copy of that as well as other eBooks on their Kindles. The audience was invited to download any book they wanted during a commercial break (I wonder how that worked, since each Kindle is tied to a user ID?).

Am I the only person to notice that while Oprah held the Kindle and waved it around, it kept turning pages?

Bezos came on from the front row of the audience. He described the development of the Kindle as if no other eBook devices had ever before existed. He said it was like a cellphone and any book could be bought within sixty seconds.

Oprah recounted how she bought the book about Warren Buffett, Snowball, while her jet was still zooming down the runway for take-off and the download was completed before the wheels left the tarmac. (Hey, don't gripe to me about "Turn off all cellphones during take-off"!)

During a rainy Sunday, she didn't want to go out to buy the newspaper. She remembered she could download The New York Times to her Kindle, and did.

Oprah raved about the Lookup (dictionary) feature. And about the Ask A Question feature. This is a video snippet I stole from someone on YouTube who disabled embedding, who stole it himself from Oprah's show (so don't complain about my thievery, thief! Ha!):

Oprah mentioned, cryptically, that she "had eBooks before" (???) and that what made the Kindle so great was the wireless feature and how she didn't have to use a computer. (I wonder if she uses a Mac and if that put the kibosh on a Sony Reader? Sony!!)

Bezos mentioned people could download music to the Kindle for background music. And the Kindle could also do audiobooks.

Bezos and Oprah compared the list of eBooks on their Kindles.

Bezos mentioned that if a Kindle is lost or broken or stolen, Amazon retains copies of all purchased eBooks which can be re-downloaded for free. Oprah said she didn't know that.

Oprah again raved about the Lookup feature.

She also mentioned her school in Africa and wanted to get their textbooks on the Kindle. She said it'd be great for students. She said you could go from first grade to adulthood and have every book you've ever read on one. (Better pray for format-swapping of eBooks if ePub triumphs, Oprah. Which it will!)

The Kindle $50.00 discount code was announced by Bezos (click graphic above for it), good for the next seven days.

Oprah made my Model T argument for me: "If you can afford it." (Are you listening Jim Malcolm and Steve Haber of Sony? Hint!)

Oprah mentioned how "green" it was. No more paper and how books cost less with it. Bezos chimed in to mention that all best-sellers are "$9.95 or less."

Thus ended the coverage on her show. (If she did anything afterwards, I missed it.)


The Kindle vs. the Sony Reader: Which is better if you want future access to the max number of books?

Previously here:

Oprah With Kindle In Hand
Sony Reader Items For Oprah Friday
Oprah To Flog Abominable Kindle?!
Sony Reader PRS-700: Part One
Sony Reader PRS-700: Part Two
Sony Reader PRS-700: Part Three

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