The online bookseller Amazon has produced a digital reader, dubbed the “Kindle”, in an attempt to do for literature what the iPod has done for music, according to the UK’s Times.
The 10¼oz (290g) Kindle can download a book wirelessly in under a minute and store up to 200 volumes to be read on its “electronic ink” screen.
“The question is, can you improve upon something as highly evolved and well-suited to its task as the book? And, if so, how?” Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive officer, told a press conference in New York. “It has to disappear.”
Mr Bezos’s effort to become the new Gutenberg is perhaps the most ambitious project yet from the pioneer of online retailing.
The Kindle, which went on sale yesterday in America for $399 (£195), offers access to about 90,000 books and 11 daily newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.