Monday, October 27, 2008

Oprah Goes “Gaga” for E-Book Reader

The book world knows that a nod from Oprah Winfrey can cause sales to rocket and alter careers. But now Amazon boss Jeff Bezos must be wondering if the Oprah-effect will cause a similar sales eruption for electronic readers after the Chicago-based television host waxed enthusiastic about Amazon’s Kindle last Friday. From the Seattle P.I.:
Winfrey went nuts over the device -- stomping her feet, waving her arms and shaking her fists with excitement. She said she received one of’s electronic book readers as a gift over the summer and it changed her life.

Members of the audience each got free Kindles. The women shrieked with joy after unwrapping the devices. The camera cut to one woman who was crying.

Amazon, of course, was delighted. sported an Oprah show preview on its home page Friday. CEO Jeff Bezos was a guest on the show, appearing bewildered at his luck.

He didn’t say much -- but he didn’t have to. Winfrey was sold.

“When I get something this great I have to share it with everybody,” Winfrey said. “For those of you at home, I’m sorry I couldn’t get you all one at home too. ... I’m really not a gadget person at all, but I have fallen in love with this thing.”
The electronic book industry has been collecting itself for success for much of the last decade. A new generation of electronic readers have put slicker, smaller and more easy to use reading devices into the hands of hundreds of thousands of readers over the last year or so. This combined with such a glowing endorsement from the queen of books seems likely to push the electronic book into the stratosphere. It’s possible that Winfrey has opened the floodgates on a brand new day.



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