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Topic: Kindle: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device
Message: Posted by: Kjellstrom (Nov 25, 2007 09:21AM)
Looks like a great reader, can yo use it for PDF files ???

Kindle: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device
Message: Posted by: Magiguy (Nov 25, 2007 10:10AM)
Here's the recent review from Chris Wasshuber (of http://www.Lybrary.com ). I hope he won't mind me posting it here...


Amazon released a new e-ink based ebook reader called Kindle. It uses the same 6" diagonal e-ink screen module as the Sony reader PRS505 but comes with a number of differences.

The biggest difference is that it costs $400 which is quite a bit more expensive than the $300 (and I have heard it already is discounted for $250) Sony reader. It is also larger mainly due to the keyboard Amazon has added. The keyboard comes in handy for searching and annotating but if the main application is reading then I am not so sure if a keyboard makes a lot of sense. A better solution would be to have an optional keyboard that can be hooked up for when one needs it. It makes the device unnecessarily larger.

Although the Amazon reader doesn't look as slick as the Sony reader it has page forward buttons on both sides and so works for both left and right handed people, which I think is a smart design choice because even right handed people might want to hold the reader at times in the left hand.

Another nice feature is the wireless connection to buy and download new ebooks. Of course this only allows one to connect to the Amazon ebook store but it is definitely a very nice convenience feature.

Although it does not officially say that it can display PDFs, one can convert a PDF to the mobipocket format which the Kindle can display. This means there are ways to get your own contents displayed on the Kindle. Of course any conversion can run into problems or produce not so nice results, but the basic support for PDFs is available.

The main reason I like the Kindle is that it will heat up the competition and will drive the various players to work on better devices and lower prices. There is quite a bit of room to improve design, functionality, software, support for various formats etc. I bet in 2-3 years we will have a really good ebook reader for around $200 with support for all major formats and without any major usability snags.

Speaking of formats, PDF is still the number one ebook format. However, there is some development, again from Adobe, with their new epub format which is based on XML and supports reflowing contents. The ability for text to reflow into a small screen device is crucial to make ebooks readable on anything from a cell phone to a laptop. The new Adobe Digital Edition reader software does support this epub format, as well as PDF. And that is why I have recommended earlier to switch to the Adobe Digital Edition reading software. Once the various reading devices from Sony, Amazon and others support the epub format, the world of ebooks will make a big step
Message: Posted by: ScottRSullivan (Nov 25, 2007 11:11AM)
I have mixed feelings about the Kindle. On the one hand, I am a digital fanatic. I've had Palm Pilots since they were first introduced (then Handspring, then the Clie, then a Tungsten, then the iPhone).

Here are my thoughts. Take 'em for what you paid for them.

I agree with Chris' comments about the keyboard. When its primary function is a reading device, why waste a third of the real estate with a keyboard. At the least, hide it under a slide like many cell phones do today. Or, add Bluetooth and a collapsable keyboard like the Palms could do.

The best alternative would be an onscreen keyboard that appeared as you needed. Similar to the Sony Clie and the iPhone.

The next big issue is the file format. Again, as mentioned, native PDF would be better, but there is a larger picture to deal with and that is DRM. I really don't like it and there are several recent examples:

The MLB website charged fans for downloadable videos for the season. Then, they decided it wasn't worth it and they shut down that feature. Ok. No big deal. However, all those people who paid for that content now had videos on their computers that would not play. You see, the DRM copy protection needs to check back with the server to check the license. When the server shut down, the video stopped playing.

Google Video did the same thing. Sold videos online, then later down the road decided to shut it off.

That's like you buying a DVD and one day the studio says, "Ah, let's turn it off." And from that day forward, your DVD stops working. The Kindle has the same problem.

Please don't misunderstand me. I am completely against stealing content. That's not what this is about. I'm in the video production industry and we've been having this same talk in the video industry.

Copy protection only hurts the consumer. Which is why Amazon's other digital product (mp3 downloads) is thriving. It is DRM-free.

So in the end, in order for the Kindle to be successful, it must do two things:
1. Get a better design (one reason I LOVE my iPhone)
2. Support open formats (like a PDF or XML based format).

Message: Posted by: MagicBrent (Nov 25, 2007 01:24PM)
I'm a huge reader and I love the idea of this...I hate to commit to a first time product, especially if there's going to be an upgrade or someone improves upon it...is now a good time to get one, you think?
Message: Posted by: Chris (Nov 29, 2007 01:24PM)

I fully agree with you on the DRM comments you made. That is why Lybrary.com has always published and retailed DRM free software. We have lately added DRMed ebooks published by other publisher's simply because this contents is not available otherwise, but if I could change their mind to leave DRM behind I would do in a heart beat.

My experience over now close to a decade of selling digital contents online is that if the product is good, the price fair, the vast majority of customers is willing to pay for it. There will always be a piracy issue, but there are other ways of fighting this. DRM is not the right way to go.