Redeye VC

Josh Kopelman

Managing Director of First Round Capital.

espite being coastally challenged (currently living in Philadelphia), Josh has been an active entrepreneur and investor in the Internet industry since its commercialization. In 1992, while he was a student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Josh co-founded Infonautics Corporation – an Internet information company. In 1996, Infonautics went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

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Why Kindle is a hit...

Images When Amazon announced their Kindle last year, I bought one.  I wasn't too optimistic, as I had read a lot of bad reviews.

However, to my surprise, I've really enjoyed my Kindle experience.  The screen is extremely readable -- and while the controls are somewhat limiting, it's very easy to use.  And as long as I view the Kindle as a replacement for a book (rather than a replacement for a PC), it has surpassed my expectations.   So I'm not surprised to see today's reports that Kindle is a hit.

More importantly, I've found that I have purchased about 3 times more books using the Kindle than I otherwise would have purchased.  Surprisingly, the primary drivers of my increased purchases are due to the business model -- not the actual hardware.  Specifically:

1)  My bookshelves at home are filled with books that I never finish.  There's nothing more frustrating than buying a book, getting 20 pages into it, and then deciding that you don't like it.  Amazon's Kindle allows you to download the first few chapters of a book for free - so you can make a purchase decision after you've started to read the book.  Very cool.  I've avoided purchasing more than six books because I didn't like how they began.

2)  The average book on the Kindle costs under $10.  While it's still more you'd pay at Half.com, the instantaneous download  and low price do provide a real benefit.  I've downloaded books on trains, at airports and at hotels -- and have found that the experience is seamless and addictive.

The biggest drawback?  Reading on planes.  Use of electronic devices is prohibited during the first 20 minutes of a plane ride.  It's pretty frustrating to see everyone around you reading a book/newspaper, when your Kindle needs to be holstered. 

Comments

Hank Williams

Indeed. I am glad to hear they are doing well. as I just blogged here ( http://whydoeseverythingsuck.com/2008/01/end-of-feature-phone-market-shifting.html ) I think the reviewers, mainly tech focused, really want the kindle to be a computer. I think the minimalist design is great for a book reader, and not having a great web browser doesnt make it a bad book reader.

pwb

Is the Kindle "hot" because there was a lot of pent-up demand for a decent ebook reading device? Or is it hot because it's an interesting wi-fi-enabled tablet device with very limited availability put out by a respected .com?

Mary Schmidt

If I still did killer gonzo biz travel - I'd definitely have one due to fit of function to need (portability, ease of use)

However, I wouldn't see Kindle as a complete replacement for books. Books (particularly old ones) are a different experience - the look, the feel, the clippings tucked away that haven't been read in 50 years, the notes in the margins. I believe (fervently hope) that hard copy books will never go away.

And then there's the thrill of long rainy afternoon ramblings through library shelves. Can't do that with neat-o little electronic device.

Aaron Cohen

Josh:

What about the aesthetics of the device for reading? How do you feel about not touching paper... or kicking back on the plane with a hard device instead of a soft cover?

Stephanie

I agree with you on most points. I actually really enjoy my Kindle and have downloaded tons of books. My drawback is that I'm living in the UK and I can't even take advantage of the Whispernet functionality. Here is my review on the Kindle: http://www.nerdgirl.com/2007/12/24/kindelicious/

Oh and a hint of how to read in the bathtub: http://www.nerdgirl.com/2007/12/27/waterproof-kindle/

howard lindzon

josh - the plane wont crash if you fire it up. some rules are made to be broken. shaving in a shvitz and this one for sure.


we love the kindle as well.

howard lindzon

josh - the plane wont crash if you fire it up. some rules are made to be broken. shaving in a shvitz and this one for sure.


we love the kindle as well.

Jessica

I want a Kindle as soon as they are available again! I was so excited when I saw it on the View.

Jessica

I want a Kindle as soon as they are available again! I was so excited when I saw it on the View.

Ryan

I'm with Jessica. I want a kindle as soon as they're available too. I signed up to follow a bot on twitter that checks Amazon.com regularly to see if the kindle is available. When they do become available, the bot will send me a text message saying so! http://twitter.com/kindleme

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