Plastic Logic – Mr. Bezos on Line 1

This week at Demo, Plastic Logic demoed the second generation Amazon Kindle.

Okay. I’m joking, of course. Plastic Logic is a separate company in no way associated with Amazon – yet. But, they did display a new eReader device with a form factor that Bezos’ design team should be studying intently for the second generation Kindle. Lots of people are writing about Plastic Logic’s demo – here, here and here.

Currently, you can read the New York Times, and many other newspapers and magazines on the Amazon Kindle. But, would you rather read the morning’s New York Times on an airplane or your morning train ride on the cramped Kindle screen or Plastic Logic’s large screen? Plastic Logic’s eReader more closely resembles the typical size of a magazine page vs. the Kindle’s paperback book size.

As much as I love Plastic Logic’s large form factor, I seriously doubt they’ll achieve long-term success, unless Jeff Bezos is on line 1 to discuss a partnership or acquisition. Why so negative?

What’s their content strategy? – Joe Wikert beat me to this argument. But, I want to echo what he said.

I spent some time this morning perusing Plastic Logic’s website and management profiles. Plastic Logic has a huge amount of talent – technology talent. I didn’t see any manager with high profile, deep experience cutting deals with book publishers and other content companies – magazines, etc.

From the Plastic Logic demo, it appears that the company is aiming their reader squarely at the enterprise market. Why limit the device to corporate documents, newspapers, and other business content? Once again, consumers and business people will be forced into a device with a narrow focus.

Unless Plastic Logic execs are hard at work in New York City cutting deals with numerous book publishers to get thousands of front list and backlist novels and non-fiction book, ereader fans are going to face a frustrating choice. They’re going to have to shove their Kindle and their Plastic Logic devices into their briefcase for a flight. After they read their latest sales documents on their Plastic Logic (on a beautiful, large screen), they’ll have to dig out their Kindle to read a science fiction or mystery novel published four or five years ago.

I love the Plastic Logic’s form factor, but I’m seriously concerned about their content strategy. Launching with a few thousand bestselling novels and non-fiction books is just not going to be compelling, especially with 140,000+ books available on the Kindle.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Amazon has up their sleeve for the second generation Kindle, and I think I hear a phone ringing at Plastic Logic’s corporate offices.