At an elaborate, much-hyped presentation at the Morgan Library in New York City yesterday, Amazon unveiled the Kindle 2, an improved version of its popular e-book reader. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says the upgraded device, which will be available February 24 and will carry a price tag of $359, has more memory, faster page turning, a sharper display, and a longer battery life than its predecessor, which was launched in 2007. The Kindle 2 can hold fifteen hundred books; its battery will hold a charge for two weeks.
Among the Amazon executives, publishing professionals, and journalists at yesterday's event was Stephen King, who wrote a short story that will be offered exclusively on the device. King told the industry blog GalleyCat that it was his idea to incorporate the Kindle into his piece of fiction.
The launch of Kindle 2 ups the ante for the other major players in the e-book market, Google, Apple, and Sony, but Bezos told Brad Stone and Motoko Rich of the New York Times that Amazon is uniquely suited to the business. "We have tens of millions of customers buying books from us every day, and we know what it is that people want to read."