Amazon has introduced a per-megabyte pricing mechanism for delivering files to the Kindle e-book reader, replacing the ten-cent flat rate for whispered content.
Users wanting to put their own documents onto a Kindle reader, over the wireless network, will have to stump up fifteen cents a megabyte for delivery from Monday, rounded up, though Amazon has expanded the file types supported to include DOCX and RTF files.
The Kindle was touted as stand-alone device - content is delivered wirelessly over Sprint's CDMA network using what Amazon refers to as Whispernet, without the user receiving a bill. That content might include magazines and books, but many users want to put their own documents onto the Kindle too and while that can be done using a USB link Amazon offers a wireless-delivery service that used to cost ten cents for each document, regardless of size.
Amazon also offers a free file-conversion service that will translate documents into Kindle format and mail them back, for USB transfer.
The fact that Amazon feels it necessary to up the charges means the service must be proving popular, and that fits in with anecdotal evidence that e-readers are mostly being used to read documents rather than magazines and/or books. Anyone who's job involves, say, reading reams of Ofcom reports and radio-spectrum analysis will love a device that enables easy transportation and keeps track of progress - not to mention removing the intimidating heap of paper from the desk.
There has been talk of e-readers splitting in to two categories: smaller devices for reading books and larger, near-A4, devices for trawling though company strategies and the like, though for the moment the size of the market dictates that one device must try to provide both services.
Increasing the price of delivering documents to the Kindle will likely drive some users to their USB cables, but that won't bother Amazon who'd much prefer to make money on magazine subscriptions than delivering documents.