Debrief: Oprah And The Abominable Kindle


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Oprah was given a Kindle this past summer by Kate Forte, who she described as a friend. Forte is actually president of Harpo Films in Los Angeles.

The entire audience — as well as some mothers gathered in San Diego (I think it was) connected via Skype video — was given a free Kindle.

Oprah said the Kindle can store 200 books and then held up an SD card and stated that using one of those (the cards you use for cameras), you can store four thousand books.

Oprah said on her last vacation she packed fourteen books. She won’t have to do that again.

She’s currently reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle on her Kindle and gave everyone a free copy of that as well as other eBooks on their Kindles. The audience was invited to download any book they wanted during a commercial break (I wonder how that worked, since each Kindle is tied to a user ID?).

Am I the only person to notice that while Oprah held the Kindle and waved it around, it kept turning pages?

Bezos came on from the front row of the audience. He described the development of the Kindle as if no other eBook devices had ever before existed. He said it was like a cellphone and any book could be bought within sixty seconds.

Oprah recounted how she bought the book about Warren Buffett, Snowball, while her jet was still zooming down the runway for take-off and the download was completed before the wheels left the tarmac. (Hey, don’t gripe to me about “Turn off all cellphones during take-off”!)

During a rainy Sunday, she didn’t want to go out to buy the newspaper. She remembered she could download The New York Times to her Kindle, and did.

Oprah raved about the Lookup (dictionary) feature. And about the Ask A Question feature. This is a video snippet I stole from someone on YouTube who disabled embedding, who stole it himself from Oprah’s show (so don’t complain about my thievery, thief! Ha!):

Oprah mentioned, cryptically, that she “had eBooks before” (???) and that what made the Kindle so great was the wireless feature and how she didn’t have to use a computer. (I wonder if she uses a Mac and if that put the kibosh on a Sony Reader? Sony!!)

Bezos mentioned people could download music to the Kindle for background music. And the Kindle could also do audiobooks.

Bezos and Oprah compared the list of eBooks on their Kindles.

Bezos mentioned that if a Kindle is lost or broken or stolen, Amazon retains copies of all purchased eBooks which can be re-downloaded for free. Oprah said she didn’t know that.

Oprah again raved about the Lookup feature.

She also mentioned her school in Africa and wanted to get their textbooks on the Kindle. She said it’d be great for students. She said you could go from first grade to adulthood and have every book you’ve ever read on one. (Better pray for format-swapping of eBooks if ePub triumphs, Oprah. Which it will!)

The Kindle $50.00 discount code was announced by Bezos (click graphic above for it), good for the next seven days.

Oprah made my Model T argument for me: “If you can afford it.” (Are you listening Jim Malcolm and Steve Haber of Sony? Hint!)

Oprah mentioned how “green” it was. No more paper and how books cost less with it. Bezos chimed in to mention that all best-sellers are “$9.95 or less.”

Thus ended the coverage on her show. (If she did anything afterwards, I missed it.)

Related:

The Kindle vs. the Sony Reader: Which is better if you want future access to the max number of books?

Previously here:

Oprah With Kindle In Hand
Sony Reader Items For Oprah Friday
Oprah To Flog Abominable Kindle?!
Sony Reader PRS-700: Part One
Sony Reader PRS-700: Part Two
Sony Reader PRS-700: Part Three

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Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Other, eBooks, Tech - Other, Tech - Sony

14 Comments on “Debrief: Oprah And The Abominable Kindle”

  1. igorsk Says:

    “The entire audience — as well as some mothers gathered in San Diego (I think it was) connected via Skype video — was given a free Kindle.”
    Ouch, that must’ve hurt. The Sony USA operations are based in San Diego from what I remember.

  2. mikecane Says:

    Yes, that’s my thought too. But if it turns out Oprah uses a Mac, then Sony shot itself in the foot.


  3. […] Cane has a blow by blow description of what went down (everyone in the audience got one and was allowed to download a free book – any […]

  4. Spamgirl - The person you stole the video from Says:

    I’m complaining! ;) I wish we could find a whole video of it, people want to know the book list.

  5. mikecane Says:

    Why did you disallow embedding? That’s the only reason why I went and ripped it off. Otherwise, I would have just used the embed code.

    Oprah vids are hard to find. She doesn’t put them up as repeats and generally her viewers are not savvy enough to rip them from their TiVO or — gasp — VHS tape.

  6. Rachel Says:

    Ummm…Which one has text to speach? I emailed Amazon.com and I know theirs does not. Do you know if Sony’s does? They are inches from making as many books avalable to people with print disabilities as are avalable to able bodied folks…so close and likely so very easy. BUT still not there yet.

  7. mikecane Says:

    No e-reading device that I know of — Sony, Amazon, Astak, Plastic Logic, BeBook, iLiad, et al — offers text-to-speech. That’s the province of unabridged audiobooks, I think.

  8. student Says:

    Bezos mentioned that if a Kindle is lost or broken or stolen, Amazon retains copies of all purchased eBooks which can be re-downloaded for free

    I’m not a crackpot or a conspiracy theorist, but the Kindle gives me the heebie-jeebies. Did Bezos say anything about Privacy? If Amazon has a list of every book you’ve purchased with your Kindle, and, probably every book you’ve looked at (reading the first chapter for free) how does this fit into the PATRIOT Act and other privacy issues? Will they just give that list to any government agency that asks? And if the Kindle works like a cell-phone, can it be used to get an approximate trace of your location? Does it have the GPS feature required of all cell phones?

  9. mikecane Says:

    You could pose the same question to every site on the Internet that deals with sales. In addition, you can pose it to real-world analog-world PUBLIC LIBRARIES, which have had to fend off the Patriot Act and recordkeeping of patron’s book loans. Do you have a credit card? They can find out that way too. And with the on-going violation of the Constitution, they can grab any info they want about anyone at anytime without requiring a presentation of any form of notice to YOU. The NSA has been tapping the entire Net for years, courtesy of AT&T, so they can find out things that way too.

  10. Student Says:

    Actually, many public libraries have stopped keeping records of books people check out after the books have been returned precisely because of the PATRIOT Act. My concern with the Kindle is, if you buy a one, you will then have much more incentive to buy all your books from Amazon, rather than wait for a hold at the library or pick them up for cash as the mood takes you. It would be easy to get a very complete picture of all the books a person is reading if they used their Kindle exclusively. Also, I’ve heard that PDFs and other files have to be sent through Amazon servers to convert them so they can be read on the Kindle. Does Amazon keep a record of those files, too? Will people who convert and share copyrighted material get turned in to the publishing police? What about the blogs and web pages you subscribe to through the Kindle?

    I’m not saying there’s any such thing as anonymity in this here modern world of ours, but I would like to know how much information Amazon records about Kindle users, and what their policy is for handling that information. These questions are serious, and I really would like to know the answer (you’ve had such good write-ups before, that that’s why I chose to ask them here.) I’m not some whacko building a bunker in my basement to keep Amazon out of my business, but I would like to know the score on the questions above.

    D’you think they’d answer an email if I sent one?

  11. mikecane Says:

    Send them an email and see. I think Teleread has raised issues like this before. You should stop by there. You could probably write this up for them, as they need guest posts right now due to David Rothman recovering from his bypass surgery.

    http://www.teleread.org/blog

    And if you check out an eBook from a public library, some record will be kept because of the DRM involved. Which gets Adobe involved because ePub and PDFs use their DRM servers.

    One more thing about Amazon: it’s already the largest print book seller. And people pay via credit card, so records are kept.

    With many people, a govt search warrant isn’t necessary to see what they read. They are sharing that already on book-collection sites.

  12. TuxGirl Says:

    I know that it is possible to convert pdf files, etc., using mobipocket instead of emailing them through amazon to your kindle. if you do that, you have to actually physically connect the kindle to the computer, but that’s really not that bad of a deal…

  13. mikecane Says:

    I hope *Oprah* as to connect her damned abominable Kindle to her PC one day. It’s *then* that she’ll wish she had embraced the Sony Reader instead.

  14. Spamgirl Says:

    I disabled embedding because… it’s just what I’d always done for my other videos so it was kind of automatic lol

    Well, doesn’t matter – Oprah axed your vid, too :)

    As to text-to-speech, Kindle 2 has it.

    Here’s one for you – so Amazon keeps your eBooks for you on their site. Well, let’s say they discontinue the Kindle and yours dies… all those books are only readable on the Kindle. Then what?


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