"Wired" magazine this week article said that Amazon Kindle reader has been born for 10 years. Through the Kindle and the entire ecosystem, Amazon has revolutionized the book industry. So, in the next 10 years of development, whether Amazon can promote the change of books itself?
The following is the full text of the article:
In 2007, a small Amazon team developed a new e-reader project "Kindle" for several years. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is eager to complete the project and come up with products for sale. He is convinced that Apple and Google are also developing similar products, he did not want Amazon to be defeated in this market. The team worked in the office of an old law firm in Seattle and they did a lot of right things, but there was still a big part to be determined.
At the beginning, Kindle developers wrote a press release about the product. This is Amazon's standard practice: first imagine the end result, the beginning of a good outcome, then back down. The Kindle's initial document mentions that users can get new content by connecting their device to a PC, with the content being synced similarly to an iPod. This is the product they developed. However, they soon felt that the goal was too small. "We hope that you think of a book on the road before you can get the book in 60 seconds. "said Steve Kessel, the project's early director.
If you want to achieve this 60-second goal, then there is only one way: through mobile communications services. "We hope this is a wireless device, but does not require users to charge mobile fees. "Corcel said. However, such a thing does not exist. So Amazon and Qualcomm worked on a system called Whispernet that lets all Kindle users access the free 3G Internet service and download ebooks anytime, anywhere. This feature is like magic for both the Kindle team and early users of the Kindle. If you want to find out the most important reason for the Kindle's success, that's it.
Amazon has released the first generation of Kindle over the past 10 years. Looking back, the first generation of Kindle was a bit ridiculous: a huge keyboard, tilting keys, a second small screen for navigation only, and a meaningless wheel for most people. However, the product was so popular that it sold out its first stock in less than six hours. Since then, the device has entered the publishing industry. At present, Amazon is not only the most powerful player in the industry, but also has a complete ecology based on books. Kindle has become a platform, not just equipment. Similar to what Amazon usually does, the company enters a market that encompasses the entire market.
However, at present, Amazon e-book project is approaching the crossroads. The Kindle team has always had two goals: a perfect analog paper book, and to expand and optimize the reading experience. This is also the reader's expectations. Our world is full of all kinds of interference and notifications, equipment omnipotent, and the Kindle's single function becomes the most important advantage. However, readers want to read anytime, anywhere, which is impossible with paper books. Readers also want more tools, more features, more options, and more. Amazon is still studying how to meet both needs at the same time. No matter what route you choose, Kindle the subversion of the next 10 years are likely to be greater than the previous 10 years. Kindle first changed the book industry, the next may change the book itself.
Open a new page
From the hardware point of view, the Kindle's roadmap has never changed. Even from the beginning, "the biggest goal of the future is, can we become a piece of paper? "Charlie Tritschler, Amazon's current vice president of equipment and an early member of the Kindle team, said. Everyone in Amazon likes to say that paper is a great technology, and they do not want paper out of date, but instead want to connect paper to the Internet. They imagine the Kindle should be as thin as paper, as soft, as durable. Therefore, electronic ink technology is crucial for the development of the Kindle: reducing power consumption, eliminating the need for backlighting or eye damage, and at the same time looks like real paper.
As products evolve from generation to generation, the Kindle becomes lighter and lighter, and even device materials become softer than ever before, more like books than high-tech products. Electronic ink technology has been able to achieve the same resolution and printed text. Next, flexibility seems to be the primary concern for the Kindle team. Developing a paper-like Kindle means that such devices can be rolled, folded, angled and even folded into a paper plane. Such technologies have been used in prototypes and concept machines worldwide.
However, the core of the Kindle has never changed: it does not become anything but a reading device. Over the years, Amazon has received many user feedback, these users are very fond of their own Kindle, and because the Kindle's function is very pure. Kindle can not access Facebook or receive news alerts, push notifications and emails. David Limp, director of hardware at Amazon, states: "The more interference we get, the more valuable the focus is. What I can not accept most is that when I was immersed in a story, I suddenly got bothered by the "Angry Birds" upgrade notice. "The key to reading is focus, that is, immersion into life from the story, so Kindle is also very concerned about these aspects.
When the Kindle came out, Amazon had about 90,000 books in its ebook list. At the time of writing, the total number of books in the Kindle store reached 590,258. After years of confrontation with publishers, confrontation with Barnes & Noble and other competitors, and countless different pricing options, Amazon is now an absolute leader in this space. According to data from AuthorEarnings, a book market research firm, Amazon currently accounts for more than 80% of U.S. ebook sales. Even if all the Amazon's competitors together, like a prayer wheel. Kindle itself has become the only e-reader worth noting. Now, who else will buy another reader Kobo?
Amazon overwhelmingly won the e-book market, but it's not yet clear how much the market will bring value. Some data show that e-book sales are declining, while paper books are emerging again. Other studies show that digital reading continues to evolve. It is clear that e-books will not subvert the paper in a short period of time. People like the feeling of paper books, like holding a book sitting somewhere to read. According to the Pew Research Center, 65% of U.S. adults said they read a paper book in 2016, compared to 73% of Americans who read a book in 2016. Only when people completely stop reading paper books, paper books will die out.
In the past few years, one aspect of people's reading habits has changed dramatically. The same Pew survey found that people read books on tablets four times more frequently in 2016 than they did five years ago, and nearly doubled the reading frequency on their cellphones, and the frequency of reading through laptops and desktops Also appear to rise. At present, all three reading methods are more popular than e-readers.
The Kindle is changing as the habits of the reader change. At first, these new platforms gave Amazon a dilemma. If Amazon offers Kindle services on all of these platforms to meet users' expectations, the sale of Amazon devices will be adversely affected. Lipp said there had been controversy within Amazon about what should be done, but the debate did not last long. He said: "You can not ask readers, where they should go to read a book. Readers will tell you where they want to read, and you have to cover these channels. "So, Amazon has developed apps for all phones and tablets, even Chrome.
Amazon has also recently invested in an attempt to integrate audiobooks into the Kindle service, allowing users to read and listen with the touch of a button. Lipp said Amazon is also exploring ways to make Alexa speech more natural, allowing a longer listening experience. They hope, Alexa can become the world's greatest writing tool. "For every book or author, we have not succeeded unless we can answer all the questions our customers may ask. "Lipper said.
For 10 years, Amazon provided new ways for people to study. However, even if the platform changes, the book itself does not, and some incompatibility problems begin to emerge. Mobile phones and tablets do not include new elements, so paper books more exciting. These devices have a lot of interference, dazzling backlight, and power consumption may be depleted in a few hours. But they also bring new opportunities. On tablets, books do not have hundreds of pages thick, navigation is easy, search-ready, and constantly updated. In addition, authors can optimize their experience with images, videos, and even games. Writer and media scholar Nicholas Carr said in 2011: "The Kindle scent is the modern version of the Gutenberg Bible. This is actually a marketing strategy, a way for traditional book readers to become accustomed to e-books. But this is only a temporary strategy. "Carl should be right. However, six years later, the situation has not changed.
In the next phase of development, e-books will no longer look like paper books at all. Instead, authors, publishers and readers will be able to reinvent the idea of lengthy reading with all current tools. Producer Steven Soderbergh is experimenting with a "movie" for small-screen interactions. Similarly, Amazon and the entire book industry have begun to study the possibilities of leaving paper alone.
In 2010, IDEO Design produced a concept video entitled "The Future of Books", envisioning several screen-based reading experiences. One of them invites you to enter the book, communicate with characters, get to important places, and even help tell the story. A year later, Sony introduced the Wonderbook, a device that connects to PS, turning hardcover books into an augmented reality interface. In the past few years, Google has been experimenting with "non-printed books" Visual Editions. In these years, many companies are moving in and out of the App Store in an attempt to make the text more interesting. Now, chatting story is very popular. This approach turns the story into a series of short and flat text, click once to provide a short piece of content.
However, the challenge with these new forms is the lack of a more holistic system to help people create, sell and consume these content. Sean McDonald, executive editor of publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux and head of the experimental print "FSG Originals," said: "We could not develop strong interactions, graphs and borders because of the lack of infrastructure Story about the interface. What is needed in this area is not the text on paper, but different skill sets. & rdquo;
Therefore, most of the tests in the book industry are based on existing categories. McDonald and others are researching rhythm, releasing new books faster and slower than usual, and choosing different lengths and lengths. They are also experimenting with new things in audio, and audio has proved fertile ground for new ideas of reading. McDonald states: "Digital audio is a major growth area for the publishing industry, with ample room to explore innovation. "He takes Robin Sloan's new book Sourdough for example. In this book, Sloan created music plays a very important role, he interspersed these music in a sound book. Another example is George Saunders's Lincoln in the Bardo, which uses 166 different voices to tell stories.
If Amazon had the will to do so, a unified approach could be taken to bring a whole new class of books. This is because, within Amazon, the entire book industry has been vertically integrated to a certain extent, creating a complete reading ecology. There are many authors currently writing books specifically for Amazon, readers can find these books through Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading, read on mobile phones and tablets, listen through Audible or Echo, and discuss on the GoodReads platform. Amazon has a variety of tools to help you write your book, typesetting, designing covers, adding the right metadata, posting it to the right channel, and getting the right compensation. If you want to make a comic book, a children's book, or a supplementary book, Amazon can help you.
Over the years, Amazon has been making formal attempts, including Kindle Singles, which vary widely in length from traditional books, and regularly released Kindle Serials. If you look closely, you can even see in your Kindle store "Choose Your Own Adventure" style books, including love and fantasy novels you've never heard of before. Amazon executives also said they are interested in continuing to promote the book media in a fun and innovative way.
So far, however, Amazon's contribution is still on the brink. Readers can easily highlight and share paragraphs, find keywords, identify people. Amazon tries to make it easier to make, sell, find and read books. As for the development of the book itself, Amazon did not break too much. The original goal has not changed. In 2008, Bezos stated in an e-mail to shareholders that contemporary technology "has turned us to fragmented information consumption, but I do not agree with reducing the duration of attention. "However, the Kindle is" designed for lengthy reading, and we hope Kindle and follow-on products will gradually bring us into a world of more sustained attention, balancing the problems caused by the proliferation of fragmented information tools. " & rdquo;
Bezos also said in an email that he "is confident the book itself will evolve" but can not guarantee that Amazon will dominate the process. Ten years later, the books have not changed, and only Amazon has the ability, and should promote the next stage of development. This is not to make the screen pixels become like paper, but to embrace the difference between the two.