Hey Amazon, want to put a Kindle in every hand? Try this

Do you want to read on e-ink, or an LCD? That's the big question. There's a worry that Amazon could be going the way of the iPad in something of a "Me, too!" move, opting for full color and an LCD touchscreen. That's entirely the wrong move, according to author Seth Godin.

The Kindle has arrived at a fork in the road. It could go all-out and try to do more than just book readin' — and it certainly seems like it may, as Amazon purchased Touchco, a company that specializes in multi-touch screens for use with LCDs.

What should the Kindle do, though? Make itself stand out from the iPad and its ilk. Author Seth Godin has come up with what he terms the "Paperback Kindle." He contends that e-readers operate more like hardcover books — they're big and expensive. This new Kindle would take a page from paperbacks: it'd be small, cheap and focus just on reading.

From Seth's blog:

Don't worry about touchscreens or color or even always available internet to download new books. Make a $49 Kindle. Not so hard if you use available wifi and simplify the device. Make it the only ebook reader in town… The only way to get authors and publishers to embrace this device is to sell 20,000,000 of them.

As someone who enjoyed using a Kindle but has resisted buying one, this is exactly what I want. I don't care about listening to music on my e-reader or being able to watch television shows. I want something I can take with me everywhere without a backpack. Oh, and I don't need that big keypad, either. I just want to read.

More than anything, I want it to keep that e-ink screen. The iPad has soundly beat the Kindle in the full-color game, and there's a deluge of cheap e-readers on the horizon. Amazon has plenty of cachet in the Kindle name, so why not take it in a direction where no one's really excelled, rather than try to chase the iPad's coattails?

Seth's Blog, via Wired