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As expected, Amazon unveiled its new Kindle 2 eBook reader this morning in New York. The company promises the device will be thinner, offer faster page-turning, store seven times as much information, present sharper images, and include a new “Read to Me” audio feature.

MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka, who liveblogged the event, says the new Kindle “looks like an Apple device.” At 0.36 inches thick, it is in fact thinner than the iPhone. The Kindle photos released last week were real, as was the rumor that Amazon isn’t cutting the $359 price at all.

Bestselling horror novelist Stephen King also announced he will be releasing an novella called “Ur” exclusively on the Kindle. Now, I can’t imagine that any single book, especially one that wasn’t even a full-length novel, would convince me to shell out the money for a Kindle, but that could certainly provide some incentive for any King fans who are on the fence … assuming they want to read a story about a “lovelorn college English instructor” who buys a Kindle. Uh, what?

Investors don’t seem to know what to make of the announcement, with Amazon’s stock falling, then rising again — as of 10am Pacific, it’s up 0.45 percent to $66.85. I guess the good news (new Kindle!) and the bad news (same price!) sort of canceled each other out. The Kindle 2 goes on sale on Feb. 24; the old one has been sold out since November.

As for me, well, I’m still pretty happy with the physical book. If I were to start reading eBooks, I’d probably focus on the classics Google offers on my iPhone, rather than buying a new device. Meanwhile, a startup called Plastic Logic just announced content partnerships with The Financial Times and LibreDigital to offer newspapers on its competing device.


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