Amazon has announced the new version of its electronic book reader aka Kindle 2. In reporting its release, BBC Online said “The increased storage capacity brings Kindle closer to the idea of being an iPod for books.” Of course, you could just invest in an iPod for books – aka the iPod Touch, although the iPhone has the same capability. Sure, the screen’s a little smaller than the Kindle’s, but it’s got loads more memory, comes in colour, and lets you run other applications on it as well. Also, chances are you can wander into most stores and pick one up today rather than having to wait (and some suggest, wait and wait) for Kindle delivery. One drawback though: you won’t get access to the Kindle-exclusive Stephen King-offering which reportedly features a … Kindle. And did I mention the Kindle 2 (2GB) costs US$359; the iPod Touch (16GB) US$299 or (32GB) US$399. (I've quoted US dollar prices since I'm not sure when the Kindle 2 will be available outside the US.)
And to be fair, I'd better mention something else: the Kindle 2 has introduced text to speech - so you'd also get a kind of talking book too - although it wouldn't be anything like a human voice reading to you. The US Writers/Authors Guild is upset about this, claiming that owning a Kindle doesn't give you the right to read a book out loud - that's an audio right (which probably costs extra!).