The five reasons why I bought a Kindle

28 Comments

I know, everybody’s talking about the Amazon Kindle and how it’s either going to revolutionize the ebook business or prove without a doubt that the business is not viable.  That is a worthy discussion but there are five reasons why I bought one so for all who have been asking me here they are in no particular order:

  1. I am the perfect target market for the Kindle.  I like gadgets and I have been reading ebooks exclusively since the Palm Reader first appeared on the Palm PDA.  I have over 200 ebooks in my eReader account and over two dozen in the MobiPocket account I only set up a few months ago.  I love reading ebooks so if the Kindle doesn’t work for me it won’t likely work for anyone.  One of the big hurdles that Amazon will face selling the Kindle in the mainstream market is selling the concept of ebooks over dead tree versions.  They don’t have to sell me, I’ve already seen the light.
  2. I want to report here on the Kindle.  It’s what I do and with so many interested in this new device it makes sense for me to pick one up and talk about it.  You can count on me doing that.
  3. Amazon has the clout to make this a Big Thing (BT).  While I love eReader and the selection of ebooks they offer me for purchase they can be pricey, especially for new releases which comprise most of my purchases.  Amazon could actually be cheaper in the long run with those same titles only costing me $9.99 believe it or not.  Plus, let’s face it, they have a library of around 90,000 titles!  That is huge in my book, pun intended.
  4. The Kindle offers instant gratification. I can search for ebooks and buy them on my HTC Advantage today and that has revolutionized my experience in purchasing ebooks.  I love instant gratification as much as anyone and Amazon has done this right with the Whispernet.  Being able to find and buy an ebook in less than a minute is the ultimate act of instant gratification for those who love to read and I expect this will be quite good for me.  While I can do this (not so quickly) with eReader this ability has only been around for a few weeks now and requires a data plan on the Advantage to make it work like the Amazon system.
  5. I think it will make the perfect holiday gift for family members.  OK, this one is personal.  I always have a hard time buying gifts for my lovely bride and since she has already been introduced to ebooks but hasn’t liked a device she’s tried yet I think there’s a good chance she’ll like the Kindle once she sees it.  Then I have an easy decision what to get her for Christmas.  :)

So these are my five reasons for buying a Kindle.  One thing I have given a lot of thought to is how much fun it will be to hack this device.  It’s a closed system so of course it is crying out to be opened up a little.  That said, after that thought process I don’t think I will hack the Kindle.  That’s a surprise, even to me, but the fact is I have other devices that can read ebooks that do a host of other things, and do them very well.  I won’t gain much if anything by hacking the Kindle.  But the main reason for leaving the Kindle be is because I believe for it to be a good tool for me it must be simple and do only what it’s intended to do, and that’s make reading ebooks better.  I’ll see how well it does that.

28 Comments

kindle delivery

Amazon’s New Wireless Reading Device: “This is the future of book reading. It will be everywhere. Amazon Kindle is an electronic book (e-book) device launched in the United States by Amazon.com in November 2007. Buy Now!!!

Mike Cane

Ho ho! Santa Claus Bezos is here to take a nice fat present FROM you!

Via teleread comment:

>>>Okay, so I’m loving my Kindle here…reading ebooks, visiting web pages…very nice…reading Project Gutenberg files from that web site…then I break out the manual and notice the License Agreement…so, about that free wireless web browsing….

>>>“General. Amazon provides wireless connectivity free of charge to you for certain shopping and acquisition services on your Device. You will be charge a fee for wireless connectivity for your use of other wireless services on your Device, such as Web browsing and downloading of personal files, should you elect to use those services.”

>>>Oh, and they can “chang[e] the amount and terms applicable for wireless connectivity charges” at any time.

http://www.teleread.org/blog/2007/11/20/wikipedias-kindle-page/

JC

Thank you for pointing out the user’s guide.

I had missed that it has USB when I first looked at the Kindle page at amazon.com. The promotional blurb was heavy on the Kindle not needing a computer, and light on how it might connect to a computer should you happen to have one. I was afraid that the only way to get your own work onto your own Kindle was to pay Amazon money to do it for you. It’s good to know that you can transfer it yourself using USB. I also like that you can clip pages and transfer them to your computer. Hopefully, since it transfers them as text files, there are no limits on what you can do with those pages. It’s too bad that you lose any graphics that might be on the page though.

It’s good to know that there is at least a stab at a web browser. It seemed like such the obvious application that I was surprised not to see any mention of one in the promotion blurbs. Otherwise, it seems like the only reason for the EVDO network is for them to give you paid content and Wikipedia. I wonder if there is enough web browser functionality to use a webmail site. Hopefully, when the web browser gets less experimental, it will be able to clip web pages. If people start using EVDO more for web browsing than for Amazon’s paid content, will they care?

I don’t know that I like the ideal of automatic, unprompted, push updates though. I don’t like it when Microsoft does it. I’m not sure why I should like it when Amazon does it. I hope they don’t go there. I’d prefer to be prompted.

Finally, the DRM is troublesome, as well as the proprietary document format. Yes, they have a free conversion service. But not all of us work with documents that we can freely mail to third parties for conversion.
Of course, the Kindle is optimized for buying ebooks from Amazon, not the generation of documents from source materials. So I may just be complaining that doesn’t do what it wasn’t designed to do.

Having read the user’s guide, I find it a less problematic product. But, honestly, the Kindle Terms of Service are still scary…

Scotty

I’ve got mine and its the most unique ebook reader I’ve ever used. That scrolling LCD thingy is taking me time to get used to. Their dictionary lookup is unique as well… My prediction, they’ll have to add a feature to turn off one or the other sets of flipper bars. This thing is very awkward to hold with out flipping a page unintentionally.

It coming customized with a note from Jeff to ME was pretty nice. :-)

All my pre-purchased content was sitting there waiting for me after I got back from lunch. (I plugged it in and left for lunch) So far I haven’t touched the USB cable.

The display is PRS-500 quality e.g. last generation Sony Reader. You put a Sony PRS-505 next to it and you instantly see the higher quality of the PRS-505 display. $400 and they used last generation panels, sigh….

Six font sizes is nicer than the 3 font sizes Sony provides.

Page flip speed is comparable to a Sony PRS-505 but system operations are noticeably sluggish.

So far magazines are stripped of graphics, text only.

Ron

I agree that the iphone and touch could be the killer ebook devices. I use a pocket pc and would have to give up too much functionality to switch right now, but that may change when the sdk is released.

borax99 (Alain C.)

Kindle not available in Canada, would buy the Cybook Bookeen in a heartbeat if it supported the ereader format. I am one of the customers Amazon burned with their previous attempt at an ebookstore. Might as well have burned my money. Caveat emptor, if they did it before, who’s to say they won’t do it again.

As far as I’m concerned, the most evolutionary thing for the ebook biz would be for the Kindle to fail quickly, since otherwise I’m afraid they’ll choke the life out of all the other vendors by undercutting them.

The Wife

Dear husband:

I love you. It’s nice that you thought of me. But please, I beg of you, STOP BUYING YOURSELF STUFF THAT WOULD MAKE EXCELLENT CHRISTMAS GIFTS. You do realize why you only get cologne and ties for Christmas and our anniversary, don’t you? Cause you buy it before I get the chance to think of it first! Hmmm, maybe this year I’ll think big! Yes, holiday underwear!

Frank McPherson

It will be interesting to see how this affects eReader. Personally, I am looking forward to a version of eReader for my iPod Touch (and iPhone) that I got to think will come once the SDK is released. I think the Touch will make for a good eBook reading device.

James Torres

I just received my Kindle and am reading a Novel on it now. My initial impression is not great. It is a little slow and the contrast isn’t great. It is also fairly difficult to hold without accidentally pushing a button.

Rob Ingersoll

Anthony:
Sadly, no Mobipocket or Mobicreator for mac. Yet. Here’s hoping though.

Matthew Miller

I actually thought a bit harder about buying one and was all set to pull the trigger before my trip to Amsterdam next week, but everyone must be buying them as they are now out of stock until November 29th. The urgency to get one (for my cross-Atlantic trip) is now gone so I’ll look to see James’ review and may then have found a good gift my wife can get me for Christmas.

A bit bummed I didn’t just buy one yesterday when it was announced :(

Anthony

Also, expanding on what GoodThings2Life was saying about text books. I think Amazon would be very smart to get both University textbooks on this thing (being that I’m a student) but also primary and secondary school text books.

We hear on the news all the time about how kids are carrying way too much weight in text books on there backs. This is something I think high schools would jump at. Plus the delivery system is easy so each kid will have all of the books they need for the year in homeroom on their first day when their teacher passes out their kindles.

Anthony

Is there some type of mobiCreator for macs that anyone knows about. I’ve spent all last night looking but I can’t find anything. I have a lot of .pdf’s to read and I would love to be able to put them on my kindle.

Rob Ingersoll

From what I’ve read, you don’t have to pay Amazon to have files delivered. You can have them email the .azw back to your PC for free and transfer to the device using USB.

It will also accept .txt and .mobi this way (with no conversion) so Baen books can be loaded easily and for free.

Also note that you can use MobiCreator to convert a .pdf file for viewing on the Kindle.

Woadan

According to reports, the books will be DRMed, and you will pay for Amazon to send you RSS feeds that you otherwise get for free by going to their site. (Not on the Kindle itself, obviously.)

If I pay for a paper book, I can take it anywhere I go and use it whenever I want. That is a freedom that the DRMed Kindle won’t be able to offer.

I don’t like the color. Hey Amazon! The ’80s called, and they want their putty ‘puter back!

If it were for $100, had color (for magazine viewing), and weren’t ugly, it might be a bargain. It’s $400, is ugly, and therefor is no bargain.

Woadan

Scotty

I’m hoping Baen can easily add a Kindle delivery option. Since they support .mobi, and delivery is just an email away, I’d think it would be a quick addition.

Does Amazon have an affiliate program for Kindle content? Can JKOTR start a mobile computing ebook store for Kindle owners?

Mike Cane

>>>Clippings are described as the ability to capture entire pages for later referral which could be very useful.

I’d really like to see and know how that works. I’m a quote hog, using a pen scanner to grab stuff out of books.

James Kendrick

That’s correct, there is no charge for the EVDO network usage on the Kindle. There is a poor web browser in experimental mode on the Kindle that others have written about. The cool thing about the network connection that no one has written anything about is how Amazon can use that to push updates and new features to the Kindle without the user having to do anything. I think that will be pretty useful in the long run.

According to the user’s guide for the Kindle, which is available on the Kindle web site on Amazon, you can bring notes, annotations and page clippings over to your PC from the Kindle. It’s not clear what if anything you can do with them there but the ability to bring them over to the PC is integrated into the Kindle itself. Clippings are described as the ability to capture entire pages for later referral which could be very useful.

GoodThings2Life

JC,

There are no contracts with the service, from what I understand. You buy the device, you buy the content, and that’s it. I’m sure JK can correct this if it’s wrong (and in which case I apologize). EV-DO is a rather extensive network system, so being outside of coverage is going to be a somewhat limited period of time, I would hope. But as with any wireless service, I wouldn’t suggest getting stranded on an island.

I’d love to hear your point 2 addressed as well.

JC

I’d be more excited about the Kindle if:
1. There were some officially sanctioned way of getting text onto the thing without paying Amazon money. (I don’t like that I’m tied to Amazon and their EVDO network. What happens if they lose interest in the product? What if I’m somewhere outside their wireless network?)

2. There were some officially sanctioned way of getting text off the device. I like that you can annotate the ebooks you buy. However, AFAIK, there’s no way of getting that annotation onto your computer. Books for Kindle cost as much as a paperback, but, in lots of ways, it’s actually less useful than a paperback. Worse, with Kindle, you can’t take advantage of etext’s compensating benefits. (e.g., the text is stuck on your Kindle so you can’t manipulate the text at all.)

GoodThings2Life

If they can get textbook makers to invest in this with eTextbooks, then this will grow like a wildfire in the education sector.

Students will flock to it as their end-all-be-all solution for textbooks. Especially if they create a software version that can be used on TabletPC’s.

txboris

Started with a Rocket eBook; great technology killed off by Gemstar two years into my eBook experience. Really feel screwed about that. Switched to eReader in 8/03, on my second Dell PDA. 250+ books in my account; only complaint is I can’t get everything I want to read in eBook format.

I’m all over the iPod touch as soon as it can offer ebooks with a reasonable selection, better battery life and removable storage (or more than 16GB on the device.)

Best of all possible worlds: a good cell phone and one other PDA/iPod size device that does everything else.

Rob Ingersoll

I’m interested to see a comparison of reading an amazon kindle ebook versus an unprotected mobipocket ebook. Since Mobipocket is owned by Amazon, I’d say it’ll work fine.

As for color e-ink. It exists, barely. The test displays that have been shown have 4096 color support, but it takes more than 2 minutes to change the image. Give it time…

As a Gen 1 Sony Reader owner, I’ll be watching your experience closely. I was so close to buying today, but I need some hands on reviews first.

gasusan

glad to see YOU got one.. I was/am tempted because I read ALOT!!

Looking forward to hearing what you think….. perhaps Santa (me) can put one under the tree this year :)

zunq

The most enticing news about the Kindle is the free EVDO service which lets you surf online almost anywhere without a fee. That said, for me the biggest bummer about the device is that it lacks color for viewing those webpages. If they make a color version I’d consider getting it. The price isn’t that big a deal like as you said, for someone who needs a library of books this thing is a bargain given the cheaper priced books. Anyone who is never home can really take advantage of this device as it can replaces thousands of books.

Hacking it seems like a no brainer, It’d be nice if the EVDO could be shared with my laptop.

Comments are closed.