Amazon's Kindle is a handheld device that displays magazines, books, and newspapers on electronic paper.
Innovative? Yes. Welcome? Getting there.
The Kindle has been met with instinctive distrust from some in the newspaper industry; to print traditionalists, the idea of compressing a newspaper into a 7.5" x 5.3" screen borders on irreverent. The Kindle is, however, making strides.
In a review for BusinessWeek, Arik Hesseldahl labeled the Kindle "a fair, if imperfect, replacement for the daily newspaper." Hesseldahl, a self-proclaimed newspaper junkie, liked the Kindle's sleek frame, and was pleasantly surprised by its readability. He was less thrilled with the tedious job of recharging the Kindle and its altered "visual conventions of the printed page."
"Headlines on the articles of Kindle-ized newspapers are all the same size, and so they lack the emotional punch conveyed by big, screaming 80-point type," he wrote.
Hesseldahl is cautiously optimistic about the Kindle. He believes it represents a potential opening for newspapers, a means of distribution, and could prove to be lucrative for Amazon. But first, he says, the Kindle - the old-fashioned newspaper's "imperfect substitute" - must be perfected.
He believes, paradoxically, the way to do this is by looking to the print newspaper: getting rid of the Kindle's uniform headlines and adjusting headlines according to their importance.
"Improvements to the digital ink display technology that the devices use will help," Hesseldahl writes. "But so will finding a way to stay true to the traditions of the newspapers."