Thursday, November 29, 2007

What I Want For Christmas

So considering my profession, I probably should have heard of the Amazon Kindle before now, but I tend to be out of the loop that way. At any rate, wow. I like it. I've seen other attempts at portable reading devices, but I'm really impressed by this one. It seems to be lightweight and easy-to-use (or at least Amazon says so), and it uses ultracool technology that gives the screen the look of printed paper. And it makes perfect sense that would be the people to make the portable reading device that is actually going to work, since they already dominate the market in all kinds of related media so they're in a position to back the device up with a service that makes it usable, but for some reason the idea never occurred to me.

Considering Marvel Comics' recent foray into digital comics (and DC is sure to follow sooner or later), I'd say it's only a matter of time before I'm reading my weekly comics on the Amazon Kindle that you're going to get me for Christmas (yes, you--c'mon, it's only $400).

And you know what? I'm okay with that. Call me a traitor to librarianship. Yes, there will always be books that I want to have in a tangible form on my wooden (well, plywood) bookshelf, but I'd say the majority of what I read I'd be just as happy to read without paper. Why kill another tree?


bawb said...

Hmmm, now that I look at Wikipedia: Kindle, I see that the DRM isn't as bad as I thought. It would be obscene, of course, to have all of the books you buy in AZW format irreparably lost if the Kindle's a flop, but at least you can upload MP3s and plain text.

The physical interface looks pretty natural, but $400 still seems really steep for such an ugly device with so little storage. I'm interested to see where it is in a year. (Come on, Amazon--if you can sell MP3s from the music industry, surely you can wrest plaintext from authors.)

svoid said...

I would wait for the second version. The concept and functionality of the device and readability of the screen is really cool. However, the design of the device is less than stellar. The first thing that I thought when I saw one is that you are liable to flip a page every single time that you pick this thing up because of how they placed the next/previous page buttons. The keyboard and scrollwheel also look very cheaply designed. Overall I would say that the device gets an 'A' in functionality, a 'C-' in usability and an 'F' in sex appeal. Even better... wait until Apple releases their iBook :)

ambrosia ananas said...

I have to begrudgingly admit that it sounds very useful (I could pack five thousand books in my suitcase instead of ten, and use 1/10 the space). My knee-jerk reaction is to dislike it--I just like actual *books*. I'd probably like it if I met it, though.

Mr. Fob said...

Okay, I guess you can get it for me next Christmas. Sigh. I wouldn't want to end up with an unsexy device when all my friends have the sexy new version.

Th'reader said...


Recession Cone and I have been talking about Kindle and its ilk for a while now--it's something we've both been following for years--and I am closer than ever to actually wanting one. But I still say $400+$10/book is absurd. Never gonna fly at those prices.