Amazon Kindle - Books of the Future?

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Amazon.com has released a new product they believe to be the future of how we read books and media, dubbed Kindle. The 10-ounce device has wireless download capabilities so that a user can download books, blogs or newspapers in less than one minute, without a data plan or service provider. And that capability is touted as the reason the Kindle will revolutionize how we read. The six-inch display utilizes "electronic paper" so that the display looks more like a book and less like a digital screen. The device holds about 200 book titles but can be expanded with an SD memory card to hold much more.

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, speaking with USA Today said, "This is really a reading service. The store is right on the device. You can't out-book the book. You have to find things that you could do with this device that you could never do with a physical book. The idea that you could be on a train, in a car, lying in your bed and 60 seconds later have a new book …" Certainly, that's a nice feature.

But the biggest problem with this new electronic book? It's just not a book. The display is still a digital screen, meaning limited space - much more limiting than a two-page spread of a conventional book. By the looks of it, you get about three paragraphs before you have to move to the next screen. Want to loan your latest greatest book to a friend? Unless you want to hand over your $400 device, your friend is out of luck. Personally, I like holding a book open, I like flipping pages and I like the satisfaction of holding the bulk of the book in my left hand right before I read the last page. And I'm no interior designer, but displaying your Kindle on a bookshelf just doesn't hold the same appeal as a nice, full bookshelf of your favorite titles. This all reminds me of the dawn of the Palm Pilot. I was pretty excited to sync my Palm Pilot after work and read the NY Times or a magazine on my way home from work. But before long, I grew tired of a small screen and went right back to print. And at $400, I can buy upwards of 30 books before the numbers work out - and that's before spending $9.99 or more for each title to fill my Kindle.

Personally, I would rather use my mobile device to scan newspapers and blogs and keep browsing my favorite bookstores for literary gems. But if you're interested, check out the video demo of the Kindle.

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1 comment

04-21-2008 3:01 PM

Well, it appears that Amazon has re-stocked their e-book reader Kindle. Splendid.Speculation has swirled...

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