Walt Mossberg and Jeff Bezos are talking Kindle. No details on actual unit sales or downloads but Bezos does toss a news bone — the Kindle is now responsible for 6 percent of the sales of the titles sold by Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) on Kindle and in print, That’s roughly 125,000 titles, which sounds like a lot (and is more than any other e-book).
— The $50 price drop doesn’t mean a second version is on the way. Bezos: “There will be a first version and a second version and a tenth version.” But, as he noted at the start of this chat, “it will probably take us 10 years to develop it but you have to get started.” (As a current user, I’d rather hear that Amazon is adding a major amount of titles. Despite the size of the catalog, the gaps can be frustrating.) The price drop is a response to taming the supply chain.
— Changes will come. “We’ve heard this feedback loud and clear.”
— Bezos has a sort of knee jerk reaction to hearing that people miss the tactile feel of books, pulling out comparisons to horses whenever the subject comes up. One example: “I’m sure people loved their horses too but you’re not going to keep riding a horse to work.”
— Feature creep: Kindle has an experimental area but Bezos explains “What we’re working on with Kindle is purpose built for reading.” They’re offering a form of browser but electronic ink is the right display for high-end web browsing. This time the comparison is to cell phones and digital cameras — the Kindle is the cell phone in this case. As for using e-ink for a web browser, in a constructed world where it’s possible, yes. But nowhere near that now.
— Can you imagine a day where Kindle is a really significant part of overall business? Bezos answers yes — without hesitation, What’s meaningful? Amazon did $14 billion in revenues last year, Bezos says, but won’t attach a number to it. He recalls being asked by his CFO when the Kindle process started: “how much are you willing to invest in Kindle?” His response: “How much do we have?”
More to come.