Amazon Launches the Kindle 2; Stephen King Helps

Amazon.com today introduced the company’s second generation electronic reader, the Kindle 2. The follow up from the company’s successful Kindle ebook reader offers customers a slim new design with longer battery life, faster page turns, over seven times more storage, sharper images, and a new read-to-me feature.

Rumors that Amazon was about to unveil the next Kindle did the rounds at the very end of January. The company announced it would be holding a press conference at the Morgan Library in New York City on February 9; and while there was no mention as to whether or not we’d see the revamped Kindle, the notice on the Kindle site that says orders placed for the device will ship in 4-6 weeks didn’t go unnoticed, especially when you consider the Kindle drought a result of the device’s Oprah debut. 

Despite the fact that the newest Kindle sports a 600 x 800 6-inch electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, most will be a little disappointed to find out there’s still no touch screen on Amazon’s reader. With 2 GB of memory, Kindle 2 can hold more than 1,500 books, compared with 200 with the original Kindle. More memory is always welcome and Amazon has kept the price for this version the same as the old: $349

A few hours before the event, word went around that Stephen King would be launching the Kindle and true enough, the novelist was there. King said he would be writing a story for the Kindle and he read an excerpt of ‘Ur’ to the crowd, which is actually about a Kindle and sounds completely dire, but there you go.

‘Author Stephen King announced today that he is releasing a novella, “Ur,” which will only be available on Kindle. At the center of Ur is lovelorn college English instructor Wesley Smith, who can’t seem to get his ex-girlfriend’s parting shot out of his head: ‘Why can’t you just read off the computer like the rest of us?’ Egged on by her question and piqued by a student’s suggestion, Wesley places an order for a Kindle. Smith’s Kindle arrives in a box stamped with the smile logo and unlocks a literary world that even the most avid of book lovers could never imagine. But once the door is open, there are those things that one hopes we’ll never read or live through.

Customers can preorder now and units are set to ship February 24.