Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Can Kindle 2 Save Old Media?

It seems that Amazon is not content to bask in its Kindle 2 glow. After a few weeks of rumors, several media outlets are reporting a new large-format Kindle will launch this week, likely on Wednesday. The speculation is that the new Kindle 2 will be about the size of a sheet of paper, and still black-and-white. But the chatter is less about the specs and more about the impact of a newer, larger Kindle.

Much of the expectation had been centered around the new device making a real play at the education market, given the hefty price and weight of textbooks and younger generations’ willingness to read and process information through screens.

But a Sunday article in the New York Times shifted the debate from education to newspapers. As revenues fall by 30% or more, could a new Kindle reignite traditional media subscriptions the way it juiced book sales? Publishers hope so, including the Times. And Amazon isn’t the only horse in the race. The article mentioned competing e-readers are due out from Hearst, News Corp., and Plastic Logic in the next year.

I like Kindle, but I think that it might not be enough to save old media.