WSJ and the Economics of the Kindle

In my experience, discussions around Amazon’s Kindle (and Sony’s eReader for that matter) usually involve at least one person stating that people don’t want one more gadget in their briefcases: people want one device that will do it all. Combine an eReader with a Blackberry with an iPod and you’ll capture the attention of the masses. The iPhone comes close but doesn’t quite make it (at least in the Western market, the screen doesn’t lend itself well to reading large chunks of text).

It’s interesting, then, that Brett Arend’s Kindle article in today’s Wall Street Journal focuses on the free wireless feature as well as the relatively lower price of the eBooks.

To Arend’s point that eBooks are less expensive than bound books, I’m going to send a nod out to Ben Vershbow (formerly of the Institute for the Future of the Book). If we can accept that use cases for a book are not limited to entertainment or, and that there is fetish element, an object-lust that draws us to purchase great books, then the economy of price is not the only relevant element that must be considered.

Read the full WSJ article here.