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Just before D6, Rafat and I — both Kindle users — were talking about books on our respective reading lists and how many of them, particularly new non-fiction, couldn’t be downloaded to the device. It reminded me of a recent conversation during a plane delay at LaGuardia, when the person next to me pulled out a Kindle and said his only complaint was the inability to get some of the titles he wants. Yes, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) now has 125,000 titles in its Kindle catalog but it will need more than that to achieve critical mass. As it happens, I had the chance to go straight to the source during a chat with Kindle evangelist Jeff Bezos, chairman and CEO of Amazon, following his appearance at D6.
With 125,000 titles available for Kindle, I keep running into titles I can’t get and I wonder … “The vision for Kindle is every book ever in print in any language — all available in less than 60 seconds. That’s the vision. To really literally get every book — that’s in print, out of print, every language — that’s going to takes us years of work. We want to make it possible for you to have instant reading access to any book that’s ever been created. Visions take a long time to achieve. It’s a bold vision but I think it’s a really cool vision and we’re excited about it.”
How do we get from 125,000 to 250,000 to 300,000? How do you make those baby steps? “We had 90,000 at launch and that was just six months ago. Now we have 125,000 so you can see we’ve made huge progress — to go up 35,000 titles in just six months is huge.”
What does it take from your end with the publishers? “Well, they want to do it. It’s just there are logistics involved. Sometimes there are rights issues they have to research with the author. Sometimes they need to digitize the book. We can help with that and we do. We have a self-service platform called the Digital Text Platform, where publishers can come do this all by themselves. We also help, work with them. It