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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kindle Things

Books versus documents: what's wrong with so-called "e-books":
"To sum up, future e-book readers will have to offer both an expansive facing-page format and a stylus-based annotation feature before they can evolve from being mere document viewers aimed at consumers of texts and become something approximating a genuine electronic 'book' that those of us who use and re-use our books can finally adopt."

This statement is so stupid, pretentious, and insipid that I don't think I need to comment on it. It speaks for itself. How would Mr. Stokes complete the following sentence: consumers aren't buying eBook readers because... they don't display two pages at a time? Because they're not tablet PC's with a stylus?

As Jason says, I agree that there's a lot of premature hate for Kindle. But at the same time, I can say I wouldn't buy one. John Gruber outlines my problems with it well, and it boils down to DRM. Kindle will read PDF's, word documents, and picture formats... but you have to email them to your Kindle account, and each email costs $0.10 -- which adds up really damn fast if I want my collection of extraneous D&D rules on there. I just can't bring myself to buy a reader that charges to read my existing files, won't export or backup its own files, and might stop working in 5 years if no one else buys one. Especially for the cost of an iPhone. Which, by the way, CAN read my PDF's, Word documents, RTF and HTML files for free -- just in an unpleasantly small screen size for reading long documents.

I don't know if my reasons are the same as everyone else's (aside from the outsiders like Jon Stokes, whose opinion is wildly different from mine), but I think most people just don't see the advantage of an eBook reader. Only half of all Americans read AT ALL (2002 study - Yahoo news), and how many read so much that they need more than one book on hand at a time? Unless there's a more distinct advantage to eBooks than that (and concerns about eye-searing screen reading and DRM are allayed), people are probably just not going to invest in eBook readers.

I won't make a prediction about Kindle's success or failure. It would be cool to see it take off and eBook readers become a popular and competitive field. But I have my concerns about such a thing, and I won't be investing in one at this time.


Blogger WiL said...

to quote the Kindle help page:

Delivery to Your Amazon.com Account E-mail Address

If you are not in a wireless area or would like to avoid the ten-cent fee, you can send attachments to "name"@free.kindle.com to be converted and e-mailed back to your computer at the e-mail address associated with your Amazon.com account. You can then transfer the document to your Kindle using your USB connection.

so yo udon't have to pay no durn fee. Though admittedly the wireless transfer thing would be pretty convenient.

Not to mention it reads SD cards and you can just convert the pdfs to prc with mobipocket's freeware converter.

Though for my money i'd still like to have an iLiad.


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