The N&O is now on Kindle. Kindle is Amazon.com's popular gizmo that lets you read books and other content - like newspapers - on a book-sized electronic tablet. The charge is $6.99 a month. You can also get one day's paper delivered on the Kindle for 50 cents. Here's how to find out more.
This is the third way that people can get our content digitally. There is, of course, the web where you are reading this right now. Then there's our e-edition, which is free to seven-day subscribers of the print newspaper, but costs $5 monthly for non-subscribers.
I should probably say four ways, because, increasingly, people are reading us on their Blackberrys and iPhones. This has been the so-called mobile version of newsobserver.com, although I think the Kindle now is just as mobile.
There are different experiences with each medium. The print newspaper can be spread out on the breakfast table. I can read Sports while my wife reads Triangle & Co., tear stuff out and take it anywhere. I can also see all the ads and the news at the same time.
The web site - newsobserver.com - has unique advantages. For one thing, it's updated throughout the day, so it has the latest news. We also put photo galleries on the web, as well as video and audio. The web has our blogs, like this one. And you can email stories easily, and add your own comments. We also have ads online that frequently are different than the ones in the paper.
The e-edition is essentially a digital version of the morning paper, so you can look at it on your laptop and see exactly where the stories, photos and ads were published in print. For folks who want to see what stories went on Page One and which stories went on 3B, that's useful.
Cell phones are great for getting the news quickly, but the screens are tiny and passing the phone back and forth across the breakfast table has its obvious limitations. And no comics.
We'll see where the Kindle and other products like it fall on the spectrum. The device has been popular among book readers, because it looks and feels like a book, only it can hold a lot of books. Whether people will want to read newspapers on it remains to be seen. But we have only seen Kindle-like devices in their infancy. In five years, these devices will certainly be turbocharged, just as today's computers are about a light-year more advanced than the first one I bought in the late 1980s.
So our first step was doing all the work - technically speaking - to feed our stories to Amazon.com so it can deliver those stories to Kindle subscribers. That's a baby step. In a year, we might be sending photo galleries, video and audio to Kindle readers. We may be able to send updates of stories. We may create book-like collections of major stories just for Kindle users. Who knows.
I'm positive that as more and more companies compete in the Kindle space, the collective genius of these companies will figure out ways to present the content we gather every day in new, visually compelling and interactive ways.