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New Kindle Fire: Amazon introduces tablet for Everyman (and every kid)

The new Kindle Fire's low price aims to vastly expand the tablet-buying population, and positions Amazon for the future of e-publishing and e-commerce. Merry Christmas!

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“This makes this a very sticky product which will encourage even more loyalty to Amazon,” she says. The cloud storage service means the millions of Amazon customers will stay where their books and movies and music are stored rather than crossing into other platforms and online services.

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This mainstream penetration is good news to e-book authors and publishers, says Jonathan Taplin, director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California.

He recently published an “enhanced e-book,” called “Outlaw Blues,” with 100 videos. “These are the kinds of books that you couldn’t access on the old Kindle,” he points out, adding that this iteration of the e-reader opens the door to the next chapter in online publishing.

“This may seem like a small segment of the market at the moment,” he says, but it is coming next and it is coming fast. “Amazon is just positioning itself to be ready for that marketplace.”

These price wars are an important step in hastening the next generation of publishing, says author Lori Aronsohn, who just released “Iowa Farms, California Tables,” an e-book available on all current platforms – iPad, Sony Reader, Kindle, and Nook.

She says with that price tag, she would pick one up for her son. But more important, it opens up the educational market.

“I’d like to see the day when it’s standard for students to have all their books on a tablet,” she says via email. A tablet allows them electronically to do all that they can do with a physical book, from highlighting passages and taking notes, to copying and pasting passages into new documents for writing reports.

“It’s easier for school kids to carry around a tablet than to lug those heavy backpacks full of one-use hardbacks,” she says. “Trees would be saved, and our environment would be better off with less need for printing ink to be produced.”

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