Dear Amazon: Ideas for the Next Kindle

Dear Jeff Bezos,

Congratulations to you and your team at for the latest generation of the Kindle electronic reader.  I was a skeptical bibliophile until my wife and mother-in-law chipped in and bought me the Kindle 2 as a birthday gift and I have been a loyal believer ever since.  I appreciate your continuing groundbreaking efforts to improve the Kindle device and, most importantly, to not jump on the color touchscreen bandwagon if it means sacrificing readability, battery life, and affordability.

The improvements to the new Kindle seem great, making an already excellent device even better -- more lightweight, smaller (without reducing the screen size), longer battery life, options for either the 3G wireless version or the cheaper Wi-Fi-only version, an improved PDF reader, etc.  (And the graphite colored version looks pretty cool.) 

Here are some thoughts as you continue to come out with new versions in the future.

1.  Keep Whispernet free.  One of the greatest selling points for the Kindle is that the 3G connection does not require a subscription fee.  Do not change this...ever!

2.  Develop a Trade-In plan for existing Kindle users.  Some of us will want to upgrade to new versions of the Kindle when they are introduced -- make it easier for us to justify trading in our existing Kindles and buying a new one by offering some incentives, like exclusive reduced prices for the new models if we send back the older models to Amazon, or a content discount for new Kindle users when they register a "hand-me-down" older version that was bequeathed to them by a Kindle user who has moved on to a new version.

3.  Offer some bare-bones accessories as part of the package.  Some Kindle users will still pay for cooler leather "designer" covers or for fancier reading lights and earphones, but it would be nice to include some simple ones as part of a "starter kit."  You can still offer "just the Kindle," but bundle packs are always convenient and a nice touch.

4.  Make sure your Research-and-Development team does not sacrifice what already works as they develop new bells and whistles for future versions.  Yes, it will be nice to have a color touchscreen Kindle some day, but not at the cost of losing the non-glare excellence of the current version, or the terrific long battery life, or the affordable cost, and so on. 

5.  Continue to develop multi-device access to Kindle content.  It is great that I can read my Kindle e-books on my PC, on a Mac, on my smartphone, even on an iPad.  That is the kind of accessibility I want, and more of it.

6.  Continue to build the library of books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc., available for the Kindle.  Amazon's inventory is enormous, and that is another major selling point.  Continue to work with publishers to make all content available in e-book format for those who want it.  Right now, I will rather wait for a Kindle version than purchase a hardcover print version of a book.

7.  Continue to offer customizable options.  I like the recent addition of categories/folders to make sorting my collection easier.  I would also like a wider choice of screensavers, etc.

8.  Your business model should continue to be focused on making profit from the content not from the device.  Continuing to lower the price of the Kindle hardware and continuing to keep the Whispernet 3G connection free is the wise path to stay on.  Amazon will make its profit from Kindle users purchasing content.

I know I sound like a sycophant when I say it, but I am really impressed with the Kindle and have been a fervant ambassador for it since I first lay my hands on one.  It is a great product and I am glad that it is reaching such broad success.  Hopefully, more people who are on the fence about e-books will give the Kindle a try.

Kindle Fan