Amazon to debut e-book reader on Monday?

US launch to kickstart e-book revolution hopes etailer

Etailing juggernaut Amazon is to debut its long-rumoured e-book reader on Monday. That's according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

The new device, called 'Kindle', will take its bow in New York. The Kindle reader reputedly links to an Amazon e-book store via an in-built Wi-Fi connection. It could explain the reported appearance of currently dormant links for e-reader editions of books on Amazon product pages.

Engadget originally reported on a prototype of the device over a year ago, when it posted some early shots. The $399 (£200) device will reputedly have a headphone jack for audiobook use and will almost certainly only be available in the US for now.

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Some sources say the company's CEO Jeff Bezos has delayed the project for a year to perfect the details.

Can Amazon make us buy e-books?

But Amazon will have to convince its customers to take the plunge and buy both an e-book reader as well as wanting to read e-books rather than physical copies. Trouble is, the reader itself isn't cheap while if the actual books aren't any cheaper, people will undoubtedly prefer to actually buy a book.

The hardware will also have to be compelling. Sony's Reader, now in its second generation, still isn't available in the UK. We showed you a video of HP's prototype e-book reader back in June, but that remains some way off launch.

Added to which, e-books have never exactly appealed to the mass market despite industry predictions to the contrary.

Back in 2000, IDC analyst Malcolm Maclachlan predicted: "Book publishing is the next big media industry to go digital. Numerous major industry players already embrace electronic publishing." Not exactly what we're seeing so far, Malcolm.