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New Kindle may come with King-sized content

Today, Amazon has announced the release of Kindle 2, the new version of its popular Kindle e-reader. Priced at U.S.$359, the new version of the device includes an improved display, with 16 different shades of grey (who knew?), 25% longer battery life, and the capability of storing 1,500 books.

And, according to the Wall Street Journal, one selling point may be a new work of fiction by Stephen King, produced exclusively (at least in the short term) for the device.

It is possible that the King work — in which a Kindle-like device plays a role in the story — could be published as part of a physical book at a later date by the author’s current publisher, Scribner, an imprint of CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster publishing arm. Scribner last November published Mr. King’s most recent book, “Just After Sunset: Stories.”

Efforts to elicit an email response from Mr. King were unsuccessful. Spokesmen for Amazon and Simon & Schuster both declined to comment.

This Quillblogger has in the past got into some hot water for daring to criticize the unchallenged ascendency of e-readers, and will refrain from doing so here. Presumably Oprah’s endorsement last fall (which, according to the WSJ might have contributed to the device’s unavailability over the crucial Christmas selling season), along with the King story, will result in healthy sales for Kindle 2.