PALO ALTO, Calif. —
This week, Bezos unveiled one more addition to his content smorgasbord. Amazon is launching serialized titles, letting authors publish books in installments. Serialization has all but disappeared in the publishing industry since the days of Dickens. Now Bezos may have found a way to resurrect a long-lost art form.
Nearly a year ago, after Steve Jobs died, many in tech wondered who would replace him as the industry's new force for innovation. Bezos was an obvious suspect, and this week's's presentation offered many opportunities to spot superficial similarities between the two. Like Jobs, Bezos spoke slowly and deliberately, and he talked about his business philosophy just as much as he talked about technology.
Yet it would be wrong to say that Bezos is aping Jobs, or that he's trying to build a new Apple. He isn't. Amazon is turning into a new and potentially powerful force in the hardware business, a company that could clobber its rivals by marrying compelling content to hardware that's just good enough, at prices that are unbelievable. If this plan works, it could be unstoppable.
Manjoo is Slate's technology reporter.