The new Kindles are coming!

Sure, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) hasn't officially announced the rollout of the next generation of its e-book reader, but everyone else seems to be doing exactly that. It hasn't taken long for the media to connect the dots:

  • A lack of new Kindles since mid-November has suggested refreshed availability sometime in February.
  • The company has scheduled a press conference for Feb. 9.
  • The media briefing is taking place at the Morgan Library and Museum.

If this were a game of Clue, now would be the "a-ha" moment where you announce that you'd like to make an accusation: Jeff Bezos … in the library … with the Kindle shtick. The only thing left up for speculation is how the new model will improve on the original.

Everyone has a wish list. I would love a touchscreen, improved graphics (without sacrificing the E-Ink platform and its easy-on-the-eyes text), and better Web-surfing functionality.

I'm unlikely to buy one anyway. I rarely use the first-generation Kindle that I bought in May. However, there are some logical upgrades -- and pricing moves -- that can always sway the early adopters.

History will have to decide whether Amazon's three-month outage between generations was the appropriate tack. It cost it the holiday sales push and momentum after Oprah Winfrey’s late-October endorsement. The lull also gave Sony (NYSE:SNE) a chance to win more bookworms to its rival Reader, while giving smartphone giants like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), and Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) a shot at fringe readers who don't mind squinting into small screens.

Amazon's push is bold, albeit out-of-character. The company is also promoting the digital delivery of music and video, but you don't see it promoting portable media players (unless there's more of a multimedia turn to the new Kindle than anyone thinks).

No matter what, if the new Kindle proves to be more accessible to mainstream audiences, it will be just one more headache for conventional booksellers like Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) and Borders Group (NYSE:BGP).  

Answers are coming, even if the media doesn't have all the clues it wants.

Stories that may have happier endings:

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.