Kindles and literary fiction: What Amazon could learn from TV

“Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” “House of Cards,” “Transparent”—those and other upscale shows have smartened up television and fattened corporate earnings along the way. Better technology, not just creativity, is at work here.

Is there a lesson for Kindle executives and others in the ebook industry, if they want to expand the market for literary fiction, which demands more of readers than does the typical e-potboiler? Definitely. Better tech means greater appreciation of better content, and the reverse applies as well. The sparse typographical options and other limitations of Amazon apps and hardware, even the $290 Oasis, must be taking at least somewhat of a toll on ebook sales of all kinds, but especially on literary fiction.

Kobo’s new $230 Aura One offers some hope with a 7.8-inch screen and an extensive range of typographical choices, even letting you control the levels of text bolding. But for now, at least here in the United States, the Kindle line is the Kong of the market and is dragging down…

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