10 February 2009 Main Posts Kindle 2.0 Jeff Sparrow As far as I know the Kindle, Amazon’s e-reader thingo, isn’t actually available in Australia. But in the US, the second generation Kindle has just been launched. Here’s its features: Version 2 is sleeker, 25% thinner, Bezos said, than the size of the #1 bestselling phone (probably an iPhone, but of course, Bezos doesn’t name a product from his rival, Apple.) Its buttons are less obtrusive and more easily manageable – removing the Fisher Price See-and-Spell feeling of the original. It offers improved graphics and more storage – up to 1500 books, Bezos says. And the battery – which seemed weak in the old version – will reportedly hold its charge for two weeks. The biggest advance, without doubt, however was the audio feature. Apparently now, “when you’re cooking in the kitchen,” as Bezos said, you can push a button and have the book that you were just reading read itself to you. Which would, I guess, be kinda cool. But all the technological wizardry can’t hide the most depressing part of the story — ‘the average American reader, according to many studies, reads between two and six books a year’. No gadget, no matter how sleek, will turn non-readers into readers. Jeff Sparrow Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland. More by Jeff Sparrow Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 24 February 202317 March 2023 Main Posts Final Results of the 2022 Judith Wright Poetry Prize Editorial Team Overland, the judges and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation are thrilled to announce the final results of the 2022 Judith Wright Poetry Prize. First published in Overland Issue 228 24 February 202317 March 2023 Main Posts Final Results of the 2022 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize Editorial Team Overland, the judges and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation are thrilled to announce the final results of the 2022 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize.