Q&A With Bezos About the Kindle

After liveblogging Amazon’s Kindle announcement earliertoday, I was able to sit down with Jeff Bezos for a quick one-on-one. Here is the Q&A:

Q: Who do you see buying this device?

Bezos: Heavy readers. Anyone who keeps three or four books open at the same time. It is heavy to carry all of those books around. People who are really busy. The traveler is another constituency. it id designed to be usable by someone who does not even want the complexity of using a computer. It is closer to being an appliance.

Q: Would you take this to the beach?

Bezos: Yes. I would treat it like Blackberry. I wouldn’t bury it in the sand. But it is much better than trying to read a newspaper on the beach with the pages blowing everywhere.

Q: Do you really think anyone is going to pay to get newspapers or blogs on this device when they can get the same thing for free on the Web?

Bezos: The convenience of having your newspapers pushed to you full text—newspapers and blogs—is fantastic. People will understand the subscription charge is essential to cover the wireless delivery. 99 cents a month for a blog, a third of the cost of a latte? To get the wireless convenience of having that blog resident on your device and updated at all times? [Ed.’s note: Some blogs, like TechCrunch, are $1.99 a month. We remain skeptical that anyone will pay for these, but hope to be surprised].

Q: Would you consider opening up this service to other devices so that I can get my Amazon e-books on my Tablet PC or my iPhone?

Bezos: In principle, I think that is a very good idea. [Ed.’s note: Nothing to announce at this time].

Q: What about getting rid of the DRM [digital rights management]? You came out with a DRM-free music download service. If that is the right thing to do for digital music, why not do it for digital books as well?

Bezos: We’ve made it so the publishers can choose. Publishers are not ready to do DRM-free books. We worked with the music labels for years to get them to the point where they would be able to do DRM-free music. It is up to the publisher. [Ed.’s note to publishers: Don’t make the same mistake the music companies made by limiting how people can consume your books].

Q: How important is this for Amazon, and what is your time horizon for measuring its success?

Bezos: We have invested significantly. In terms of meaningfulness, this could be one of the most meaningful things we have ever done. . Things we have done in the past have taken years to come to fruition, but we are very patient.