Talk show host Oprah Winfrey is about to endorse the Kindle, Amazon‘s ebook reader. After today, it will be a lot harder to argue that the Kindle is just a niche device for tech nerds — assuming Oprah fans actually buy the device.

Right now, the Amazon website features a video trailer for today’s show, in which Winfrey says she’ll reveal her “new favorite gadget.” In the course of the 30-second commercial, she also describes it as “life-changing, for me” and “the wave of the future.” Interestingly, the commercial doesn’t identify the Kindle specifically, but it’s not hard to connect the dots. Amazon has also sent out an email saying founder Jeff Bezos will be on the show to talk about the Kindle, according to the Financial Times.

There’s no doubt that the Kindle will get a boost because of the this. The question is, how big will the boost be, and will it last? At $359, the Kindle isn’t that cheap, and with the economy tumbling, Winfrey’s core audience may be less willing than, say, your average Silicon Valley techie to put a dent in their budget to buy a cool new gadget. During a recent earnings call, Bezos said Kindle customers continue buying the same amount of physical books, they just buy electronic books too. On the one hand, that’s good news for traditional publishing. On the other hand, if ebooks aren’t a replacement for physical books, then they’re just an additional expense.

Still, there’s no denying the growing indicators that reading ebooks is starting to become mainstream. I’ve written about the popular ebook reader for the iPhone called Stanza. It’s also worth noting that this week’s Apple featured app for the iPhone is a downloadable version of the Bone comic book. Paging through an electronic comic book isn’t as easy as reading a real comic, but it’s doable.

All in all, it’s looking like troglodytes like me, who thumb their noses at ebooks, will have to learn to adapt. Otherwise, I’ll just be that old guy muttering in the corner about the good old days.

Update: Looks like the endorsement is official. Also, Oprah viewers (or anyone else who uses the discount code “OPRAHWINFREY”) get $50 off the price for until Nov. 1.

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