Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Amazon To Hold Special Conference re Ebooks


kindle2_1An confidential emailer forwarded me this invite to an Amazon press event.   Will it announce the new Kindle which I like to call “Bubble Boy”*?   A Kindle with wider geographical reach?   That it’s totally destroying any other format out there (given its announcement that MS Lit and Adobe books will no longer be available on the Amazon site)?   Guess away.

We’d like to invite you to an important press conference on Monday, February 9 at 10:00 am. The press conference is scheduled to take place at The Morgan Library & Museum located at 225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street in New York.

*The image taken from the blog “Boy Genius Report” shows the purported design of the Kindle 2.0 which I have nicknamed Bubble Boy due to its rotund, bubblicious keys. Kindle needs some serious design help because the Kindle 2.0 for all its curves lacks any kind of marketable asthetic.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Teddypig
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 10:47:37

    Plus the rumor of a BIGGER Collegiate Model which is what I am hoping for.

    Honestly, if Amazon wins the DRM wars with their Whispernet Service and their clunky eReader then have at it. Obviously they are proving it was not that hard.

  2. SB Sarah
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 11:22:47


    Did the private secret info that the press conference was by invitation only? If not, I’ll go and report on it for you.

    The press event is conveniently scheduled during the O’Reilly Tools of Change in ePublishing conference, at which Kassia from Booksquare, Angela James from Sam du Hain, and myself will be presenting. Wonder if they’ll attract folks from the conference.

  3. Jane
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 11:37:33

    @SB Sarah It was invitation only but it wasn’t an invitation for me, otherwise, I would give it to you but I’ve got to believe that there are people at the TOC conference who have invites and you should so go!

  4. Robin
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 11:51:46

    It’s hard to believe that thing can get any uglier, but, wow, it so is!

  5. Maya
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 12:12:02

    But will it have backlighting! Must have backlighting, damn it. And yeah, it’s ugly and I wasn’t impressed with the old one.

    I like the new Sony :)

  6. Jessica G.
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 12:29:09

    That picture makes me so glad I have a Sony. They are both ooglay.

  7. Arp
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 12:32:05

    I’m really happy to see that the design has gone from the 80s to the 90s…

  8. Sunita
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 13:04:48

    They could really have used Bubble Boy on Lost in Space.

  9. Angela James
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 13:06:20

    @SB Sarah. I was totally coming to post the same thing, wondering if we could get in to the press conference! I think you should count as press. And I should count as…uh…your assistant for the day.

  10. Jessica
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 13:58:39

    That blood curdling scream you hear is me and all the other losers who ponied up for Kindle 1.0 in the last few weeks have been waiting dutifully (ok, and checking our delivery dates obsessively) and are now in limbo wondering what the hell is coming in the mail from Amazon and when. Grrrrrrr…..

  11. Jane
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 14:01:25

    @Jessica: You could cancel your order.

  12. Laurel Davis
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 14:14:10

    I am SO glad I gave up on ereaders altogether and bought an iTouch. With the Stanza app, I can have all my eBooks on it, AND check my email, AND watch videos, AND surf the net….

    And he’s pretty!

  13. Kalen Hughes
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 14:17:35

    I’m pretty dang happy with my CyBook . . . much nicer than the Kindle.

  14. Mischa
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 14:34:15

    That almost makes me want to rush out and buy a Kindle while they still have old ones to sell off. And here I’ve been holding off waiting for the next version.

  15. Teddypig
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 15:45:09

    Sell off? They sold out. People have been buying them on eBay for more than retail.

    Bad part of that is they sold out when everybody wanted them for presents. Should have planned better for that.

  16. GrowlyCub
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 16:46:29

    Laurel, tell me more please.

    What else do you have to do to be able to do email and stuff on the iTouch. I thought that was only the iPhone?!

  17. ms bookjunkie
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 17:06:10

    Yes, Laurel, please share!

    The stupid video about the iPod Touch doesn’t even mention reading ebooks!

  18. Laurel Davis
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 17:07:24


    The iTouch can do nearly everything an iPhone can do as far as I know – I’ve never really messed with an iPhone.

    The iTouch COMES with for apps: Safari web browser (from which I’ve been able to Google things, log into and read my LJ and my Google Reader, and look at other webpages), Email, Calendar (which is nicely done), Contacts, YouTube (also really fun), Maps, Weather, Clock, Calculator, Notepad (which is well done), Stocks, Music, Photos, and Videos. Plus links to the iTunes, and Apps stores.

    I downloaded added the Stanza app to it so I could read ebooks – I DO have to convert some of them, and there is some occasional funkiness in the formatting, but I’m learning what works best, and REALLY love it. The Stanza app is pretty too – you get the scrolling covers thing (just like iTunes) for your book covers, and any book or story that doesn’t HAVE a cover? Stanza will create a leather bound cover for it – so no blank holes or place holder icons if you don’t like them.

    You DO NEED to have a wireless network to get books from Stanza onto the iTouch, though, it can’t do it through it’s wire. But getting them on is super easy and quick (one at a time as far as I know)

    I’ve been able to log onto wireless networks at home, work and a few bars, too – but of course, I don’t NEED that for reading

    I am massively in love with this thing. My friend, who got one first calls it the All Singing, All Dancing Toy of Wonder.

    (I think there might have been a big post about the iTouch or the iPhone on DA at some point?)

  19. GrowlyCub
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 17:15:57

    Thanks, Laurel. So, do you subscribe to some kind of plan to be able to access the internet and how much is it?

    Oh, maybe a moot point? I read your comment via email and didn’t see the rest.

    Also, which model do you have?

  20. Laurel Davis
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 17:26:32

    @ GrowlyCub

    Nope, no subscription or add’l fees for getting on-line with it (which I LOVE), plus…Stanza is free too (if you Google Stanza you can see their website and they have all kinds of info and pictures about reading ebooks on the iTouch)

    I have the 2nd generation 8G model, and I ordered mine right from the apple site. At the moment I have five TV shows, 80 songs, about six ebooks, a dozen or so photos, quite a lot of downloaded email, and 4-5 added apps….and I’ve barely made a dent in the available space.

  21. GrowlyCub
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 17:32:25

    Thanks for the info, Laurel. Very helpful!

    I’ll have to look into that some more! I like the idea of having the bigger screen and e-ink of the Sony reader, but I hate the idea of schlepping yet another good sized electronic gadget around (my 11″ laptop goes everywhere with me) and one that’s single function at that! I saw an itouch at Walmart the other day and it looked pretty and they tried to sell it to me really hard, but they had no idea that you can read on it, because I said I wasn’t interested because I wanted something primarily to read books on it… go figure. Now, all the local Walmarts are sold out.

  22. Angela James
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 17:32:29

    Laurel should be an iTouch marketing coordinator. She’s making me want to buy one and I own an iPhone :P

  23. Terri
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 17:37:23

    I too chose the iTouch for the same reasons Laurel did. However you must be in contact with a wireless internet to check mail and the other wireless activities. So no checking emails, web surfing etc while on car trips. You can download books and movies before you leave home to watch on a trip.

  24. ms bookjunkie
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 17:38:05

    Thanks Laurel!

  25. Laurel Davis
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 17:48:45

    I do love to share when I find something great!

    Terri is right that you can’t just surf and check email anywhere/anytime, but you CAN whereever there’s an open network….so if you stop at a Starbucks or whatever on that road trip…the iTouch will find that network and ask if you want to log on.

    I also am a little dismayed at the continued high prices of ereaders, so I like letting people know about this option.

    GRANTED – smaller screen, and it IS backlit, of course – so if you have eyestrain issues, this won’t help. But you CAN make the text pretty big

  26. Sunita
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 17:51:40

    My husband doesn’t read on his Touch as much as he did before he got the Sony Reader for Christmas, but he still likes it quite a bit. As far as the internet connection goes, just to add to what Terri has said: the Touch works like a computer with a wi fi connection. If you are in range, you can connect. But if you go out of range, you either have to find a new wifi connection and reconnect or go offline. So there’s no data plan to buy, but the internet usage is more circumscribed. We don’t use the Touch when we’re traveling by car or in airports; we surf, do email, and use Google Maps on our smartphones. But at our home or at a friend’s, at the office, at a hotel, etc., it’s great.

    Also note that you can’t use more than one program at a time. So you can’t, for example, read via Stanza and listen to iTunes simultaneously. I like being able to put music on the Reader and listen while reading. I’m not sure why the iP’s don’t have that, I guess the technology is sufficiently more complicated.

    ETA: The new Palm Pre is supposed to allow you to use multiple applications at once. Against all evidence and good sense, I continue to be a Palm fan.

    ETA2: Oops, I crossed posts with Laurel and Terri. Sorry to repeat!

  27. Angela James
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 17:58:54


    I'll have to look into that some more! I like the idea of having the bigger screen and e-ink of the Sony reader, but I hate the idea of schlepping yet another good sized electronic gadget around

    There is no real replacement for reading on an eink screen, in my opinion. Given the choice between putting the Sony in my purse or just carrying the iPhone to read on when needed, I will always put the Sony in my purse. I would note that the Sony is actually quite small, at least the 505 is, I’m not sure what the 700 looks like. But in terms of weight, it’s pretty negligible and the design itself is thin and compact, even with the cover on (unlike the Kindle which I found a little bulkier to carry)

  28. Jessica G.
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 18:07:16

    I have both an iPod touch and a Sony Reader. I wouldn’t even consider reading on the iPod touch, it makes my eyes bleed. I do love it though.

    If I had to give up one of the devices, it would be the iPod, as much as I love it. But you ain’t parting me from my Reader :p Plus it fits nicely in my Cole Haan bag (along with pretty much the entire world), so I’ve never felt like I’m lugging it around.

  29. GrowlyCub
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 18:07:48

    Thanks, Angela. I’ve in vain tried to see one of these gizmos in person. None of the stores that are supposedly carrying them actually do have them in the stores. They are all online only and some (BestBuy) are sold out.

    I’ve only seen a Kindle live and I really liked the e-ink look, but it seemed pretty darn big to me compared to a paperback, which is my measuring stick.

    I’m hoping to go to the big city this weekend and maybe Target will have them back in stock by then so I can look, weigh and decide if it’s what I want for my conveniently upcoming birthday. :)

  30. Angela James
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 18:15:38

    Growly, I’ll put my Sony and my Kindle side by side and snap a few pictures so you can see the difference. You’ll at least have a point of reference, if you’ve seen the Kindle to see how absolutely trim and sexy the Sony is in comparison :P

  31. JLFerg
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 18:21:42

    I don’t know if all BJ’s Wholesale Clubs have them, but the one near me has a Sony Reader (PRS-505) with an AC adapter for $249. Of course, you have to be a member to purchase, so it might not be the best store for everyone.

  32. Shannon Stacey
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 18:37:40

    I’ve totally drowned myself in the iTouch Kool-aid and still can’t get enough. That’s how I’ll be reading my ebooks from now on. Add in the standard PDA functions, surfing the net and playing Word Warp and it’s the only gadget I need.

    Last Friday the Sony at Target was finally functioning (according to the label it was the 505) and I played with it for a few minutes. The way the screen flashes every time you turn the page would drive me insane and, while the amount of text on the page was nice, it didn’t have the sharp contrast of the iTouch. (Admittedly, people could have been messing with the display controls.) It also wouldn’t fit in my coat pocket.

    (Ummm…I wasn’t trying to steal it. I don’t carry a purse during then winter because I have coat pockets.)

  33. Jane
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 18:43:15

    I’ve got both an iPhone and a Sony and I’ll say that like Angie, I would read with the Sony more so than anything else. It’s far easier on the eyes and it’s just as easy to use (now that I have Calibre).

    The refresh you don’t even notice about 30 pages in. It really takes only one book to acclimate you to the difference. But yes, you can’t fit it into a pocket.

  34. Laurel Davis
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 19:12:57


    Also note that you can't use more than one program at a time. So you can't, for example, read via Stanza and listen to iTunes simultaneously. I like being able to put music on the Reader and listen while reading. I'm not sure why the iP's don't have that, I guess the technology is sufficiently more complicated.

    This is actually not true – at least for these two apps. I was able to start music and then open Stanza and start reading a book, so yes, you can do both of those at the same time.

  35. Shannon Stacey
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 19:29:41

    I guess you’d acclimate quickly enough, but standing in the store it was like “Whoa”.

    It did have a nice feel to it (even though they won’t let you pick it up). I think it’s something I would use if I had one—if Angie uses it the most, it’s probably the best—but the iTouch is awesome enough so I don’t really covet one.

    (Too much. The special Harlequin edition makes me weep with want, actually.)

    But I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the iTouch. I love it.

  36. Sunita
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 22:49:03

    @Laurel Davis:
    Wow, that’s excellent! I’ll tell my husband, because he hadn’t figured out how to do it with eReader, and everything I read said that you couldn’t open multiple apps.

    How I love teh interwebs. Especially the intelligent blogs.

  37. Sunita
    Jan 27, 2009 @ 22:53:49

    Just chiming in on the refresh thing. Like Jane, I stopped noticing it soon after I starting reading a book. I still notice it when I read academic pdfs, which often I flip to the landscape position because you lose the footnote formatting when you enlarge the font. But even that is becoming more natural. FYI, if you switch to landscape on a pdf doc, the font enlarges to fill the wide screen but you only get half the page. It’s great for pdfs whose font can’t be enlarged without losing the formatting (e.g., older articles that are essentially a series of picture files).

    I read that the Kindle 2.0 will have the faster refresh rate, comparable to the Sony 700.

  38. freecia
    Jan 28, 2009 @ 16:04:14

    I like the size of Kindle 1.0 since it is just about B5 size in Japan. It fits into bags and other things nicely. It’s also about the size of one of the larger “chick lit” paperbacks they usually charge $14 for.

    Still want 2.0 for faster refresh but yes, I wish they’d hire a (better?) outside design team to give the kindle a nicer look to it. Maybe I would pony up for a larger e-ink screen like “collegiate” edition and not sell my 1.0…

    Also, I prefer e-ink over the itouch. It is easier on my eyes, easier on my wrist when holding it, and the battery lasts longer. And there’s nothing quite like whispernet for ease in downloading (except perhaps wifi except my work network is secured and the touch can’t get in.) I also like the amazon kindle store’s wide selection and pricing. DRM isn’t great but unless you go with the paperback releases, it is hard to legally buy new books DRM free and the .azw format should be here for a few years, at least.

  39. GrowlyCub
    Jan 30, 2009 @ 09:37:28


    I’d love to see a comparison picture of a Kindle and Sony!

    I finally saw a Sony 505 yesterday in Chattanooga, but I had to admit I was disappointed in the quality of the screen. I’ve seen a Kindle and to me the contrast on the Kindle was much better (the screen looked ‘whiter’ and the ink on it much more like the page of a paperback book), whereas the Sony looked almost like a regular computer screen to me, which I found baffling because I know it’s e-ink and not backlit.

    I’m confuzzled! Since you have both, would you agree that the Kindle’s e-ink looks more paperback like?

    Right now I’ve given up on the idea of buying a Sony any time soon. Especially since somebody said that the quality of the 700 is worse due to the inbuilt light.

    I don’t want to give any money to Amazon for another proprietary format, but I have to admit at this point in time the Kindle looked much better to me. So between, no sales for Amazon and not loving the Sony that means no money for anybody and no reader for me, grumble.

    Now, it’s possible that the store lighting had something to do with it and how long that model had been a display. If I make it to Huntsville, I’ll check one out there too, just to see if the one I saw was not typical.

  40. AnneD
    Jan 30, 2009 @ 12:29:17

    GC – that seems very odd, being that the screens come from the same place, I thought.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been reading a couple of books on my iPhone lately, and while VERY handy for me when out and about I much prefer the Sony. Easier on the eyes.

  41. Angela James
    Jan 30, 2009 @ 12:37:59

    @GrowlyCub I’m a little fuzzy right now from an all-nighter with a sick toddler, but I’ll pull out all the readers and take pictures of them for you this weekend. I’ll see if I can take good comparison pictures of the screens. I think I might have posted something about the Kindle screen being a little lighter, I’ll have to turn them both on again and refresh my memory and try to get some pics for you.

  42. Robin
    Jan 30, 2009 @ 15:21:05

    GrowlyCub: Now that I’ve started reading with my Sony, I cannot imagine an experience more dissimilar to reading on a computer. I can read for hours upon hours with no eye fatigue. If you know anyone who has a Sony (or a Kindle, for that matter), I encourage you to borrow it for a few days, if you can. If you’re at all unsure and not used to a reader, I think some time beyond a looksie in the store will really help you measure the relative strengths of each device and its relative fitness for you. I have now read books on my Treo, my iPhone, my laptop, my desktop, and the Sony. They all present very different experiences.

    Also, keep in mind that the lighting under which you view the screen will alter its appearance.

  43. GrowlyCub
    Jan 30, 2009 @ 19:56:10

    Robin, unfortunately, I don’t know anybody close by who owns either a Kindle or a Sony.

    I plan on checking another Sony out in a different store tomorrow and see how much the lighting in the first store may have had to do with my reaction.

    A second concern was that even though there’s magnification, it didn’t go as large as I would have liked (you should see how large I blow up my html files to read on my laptop :). I did figure out that it is bigger when you change the orientation on the Sony so that would alleviate that problem for me.

    Too bad I didn’t win one! :) That would have been a great way to test one out.

    ET fix typos and grammar boo boos. Must have parked my brains somewhere else tonight.

  44. Nice Mommy~Evil Editor » Blog Archive » Ereaders in pictures
    Feb 05, 2009 @ 05:00:51

    […] week in the comments of a Dear Author thread, I told one of the commenters I’d take some pictures of the Sony and the Kindle, for a visual […]

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