Nextdoor, a hyper-local social network that launched in October 2011, today rolled out a second version and announced a $21.6-million round of funding.
Sources close to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos are indicating the company may be about to launch its own book publishing house. The news comes a week after the company announced that its retail bookselling division is now selling more Kindle Books than eBooks.
Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos spoke today at Wired magazine’s Disruptive By Design business conference, revealing how successful the Kindle — in all its forms — has been during its 18 months on the market.
According to Bezos, 35 percent of the sales of the 300,000 books available for the Kindle have been sold in electronic form. “Internally, we are startled by that statistic,” he said.
Bezos was also very optimistic about the Kindle’s success moving forward. He seemed certain the device will eventually replace physical books.
“Reading is an important enough activity that it needs a purpose built device,” he said. “Some people ask me, ‘Why would I buy this device, it only does one thing?’ That’s exactly why you should buy it.” Then Bezos revealed that he gets “grumpy” whenever he’s forced to read a real book. “I didn’t realize all the failings of a physical book,” he said. “[Books have] had a great 500 year run. It’s an unbelievably successful technology, but it’s time to change.”
After more than 250,000 units sold, it seems that at the very least, the Amazon Kindle has found a loyal audience. CNN reports that on the device’s first birthday, its texts account for 10 percent of Amazon’s book sales despite the fact that only 200,000 titles are available in digital form, representing just a fraction of what’s out there in print.
The device remains sold out on the company’s Web site. Some analysts think that Jeff Bezos‘ pedigree is helping. “You can’t discount the prominence of having Amazon behind this,” says Paul Reynolds, technology editor at Consumer Reports, in the article. “Jeff Bezos is respected for what he’s done with Amazon, and if he feels this is a future product in media, people are willing to trust him.”
There was also that whole Oprah thing, and the fact that it’s the only eBook reader that lets you make wireless purchases. Want a new book or newspaper subscription? Pay for it and download it right onto the device, without having to mess with computer synchronization. Analysts expect an upgraded Kindle, possibly with sleeker lines and more memory, to come in early 2009.
It turns out that it was in fact scheduled for release in October, but Jeff Bezos pulled the plug at the last minute because he wanted changes to the software. That’s the word from TechCrunch, which also said that the Kindle 2 is now scheduled for release early in 2009, according to sources close to the product’s development.
Interestingly, the images that had surfaced of the new Kindle in October “are real—it’s a longer device but not as thick as the original Kindle, and fixes some of the button issues that plague users (like accidental page turns).”