Amazon Formatting e-Books for Non-Kindle Readers, Opening Kindle to Outside Titles?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced this morning his intention to make Kindle books available on mobile devices other than Amazon’s own Kindle e-reader and the iPhone. Speaking at Wired magazine’s Disruptive by Design Conference, Bezos confirmed that, at the same $9.99 price, electronic books purchased from Amazon will be formatted to function on other e-readers and computing devices, opening Amazon’s 300,000-title store to a host of new customers.


Bezos also hinted that the Kindle reader would support other formats, though he did not go into details. It’s unclear what drove Amazon to open up its platform, though recent developments at Google and Scribd likely played a role. Google recently announced it would sell e-books online, a potential opening salvo in a costly format war. Meanwhile, book publisher Simon & Schuster recently inked a deal to sell 5,000 of its titles via online document sharing site, snubbing Amazon and suggesting that publishers prefer pricing leeway to Amazon’s Kindle clout.

Whatever the driving force, the move is likely a smart one for Amazon. Bezos has said he prefers straightforward pricing for the Kindle rather than some kind of scheme where the device is sold at a discount and then subsidized through e-book sales. By opening up the Kindle, Amazon can grow an e-reader business separate from its e-book business while avoiding a costly showdown with the likes of Google. If Amazon is truly confident it has the best e-reader on the market, then the move toward an open platform has the potential to launch the Kindle to iPod-like ubiquity.

[via PC World]

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