kindle

well, i think i’m asking for a kindle for christmas. i’ve been dying for an e-reader for a while now — i carry sooooo much extra poundage around when i travel — always 2 or 3 books, just in case my mood changes, i finish the one i’m reading, etc. so this is a really welcome development.

2 things stand out: (1) pricing — at $9.99 or less, ebooks are finally at a price advantage (the way that they should be) — with a $400 kindle price, i’ll recoup that investment after buying about 40 books, or what i do in a year, more or less, and (2) title availability — i’ll do a scan of my “to read” bookshelf when i get home, but first glance suggests that 80% of what i read is already available on Amazon. pretty good.

it’s not perfect, i think. first of all, it’s incredibly ugly. ugh. second, i don’t think my books, on the whole, really need a keyboard. whatever. the wireless is neat, but as my canuck friends pointed out, it’s US-only, which is a bit of a drag. (although, to be honest, this is a theoretical bad thing to me, but not really a practical one.)

other things: screen looks like it probably could be bigger; don’t think their $13.99 NYT monthly subscription will compete with, um, free on the web. their ability to view .docs and .pdfs is dumb — you have to pay amazon to translate them into kindle format. bah.

so far it’s looking at lot like apple/iphone/itunes. super-great functionality, great pricing, completely closed technology & stack, locking you to this vendor.

i’ll say this: my media consumption habits are changing very very quickly now, across the board. if we can get this stuff to evolve more like the web and less like wireless carrier locked environments, life will be really good. pretty big if, though. (actually, i think it’s a “when,” not an “if,” but a with a potentially long timeline.)

8 Replies to “kindle”

  1. A couple of years ago, I could see the point. But now? I don’t really see it. A few disruptive innovations are coming around:1. The iPhone sparked a new breed of all-in-one devices. Beautiful display, small size, does pretty much everything (give it 2 years, and the camera will be pretty good too).2. Cheaper bandwidth. Android and the spectrum opening up (Google/Sprint merger?) Are all hinting at lower bandwidth costs.3. WiFi becoming more widespread. Means dependency on #2 is less and less.I’d rather have one device that does everything than 5 devices that do 5 different things. Just more practical and cost effective.I can see Amazon’s service doing very well as an iPhone app and an Android app. And I’m sure they are thinking the same thing.

  2. hmm. maybe. i know for a fact i can’t read whole books on my iphone. screen is too small, and the lcd is too hard on the eyes. e-ink has the optical characteristics of paper — much much easier to read over the long term. but i read a LOT of books now, so i can understand other people making different choices.

  3. A couple of years ago, I could see the point. But now? I don’t really see it. A few disruptive innovations are coming around:

    1. The iPhone sparked a new breed of all-in-one devices. Beautiful display, small size, does pretty much everything (give it 2 years, and the camera will be pretty good too).

    2. Cheaper bandwidth. Android and the spectrum opening up (Google/Sprint merger?) Are all hinting at lower bandwidth costs.

    3. WiFi becoming more widespread. Means dependency on #2 is less and less.

    I’d rather have one device that does everything than 5 devices that do 5 different things. Just more practical and cost effective.

    I can see Amazon’s service doing very well as an iPhone app and an Android app. And I’m sure they are thinking the same thing.

  4. hmm. maybe. i know for a fact i can’t read whole books on my iphone. screen is too small, and the lcd is too hard on the eyes. e-ink has the optical characteristics of paper — much much easier to read over the long term. but i read a LOT of books now, so i can understand other people making different choices.

  5. John: If you want to avoid the $0.10 fee you will be able to convert your word docs by emailing a service that will email you back a converted version and you can copy that via usb. You can do plain text via usb without going through that process. Mine will be here tomorrow.

  6. John: If you want to avoid the $0.10 fee you will be able to convert your word docs by emailing a service that will email you back a converted version and you can copy that via usb. You can do plain text via usb without going through that process. Mine will be here tomorrow.

  7. John…You’ve got me wanting one now. I first tested an Alpha version of an e-book in 1997 when we were evaluating this as a business to acquire @ HP. Almost exactly the same idea and business model but the technology was more clunky (device was too as a result…low res LCD/no backlight), larger format and of course no one had seen iTunes yet so it was hard to explain. We passed on it but I’ve wanted one that worked ever since.

  8. John…You’ve got me wanting one now. I first tested an Alpha version of an e-book in 1997 when we were evaluating this as a business to acquire @ HP. Almost exactly the same idea and business model but the technology was more clunky (device was too as a result…low res LCD/no backlight), larger format and of course no one had seen iTunes yet so it was hard to explain. We passed on it but I’ve wanted one that worked ever since.

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