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Amazon's Ebook The Future of Reading? 354

theodp writes "With a seven-page cover story on The Future of Reading, Newsweek confirms all those rumors of Amazon's imminent introduction an affordable ebook. Kindle, which is named to evoke the crackling ignition of knowledge, has the dimensions of a paperback, weighs 10.3 oz., and uses E Ink technology on a 6-inch screen powered by a battery that gets up to 30 hours from a 2-hour charge. Kindle's real breakthrough is its EVDO-like wireless connectivity, which allows it to work anywhere, not just at Wi-Fi hotspots. More than 88,000 titles will be on sale at the Kindle store at launch, with NYT best sellers priced at $9.99."
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Amazon's Ebook The Future of Reading?

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  • No picture? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uuxququex ( 1175981 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @07:23AM (#21396585)
    They write seven pages on the ebook reader, that's good. But apparently they thought that showing the device would be unnecessary?

    Or are they afraid a picture would distract the reader from the many shiny ads on the page?

  • Yes!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Michael_gr ( 1066324 )
    This is what I've been waiting for. I almost considered buying Sony's Ebook reader a while ago, but, to tell the truth, I hate Sony. The Kindle sounds like something I'd really like to have. It's not cheap but once it's in my hands, I have the entire Project Gutenberg to go through.
    • by Ajehals ( 947354 )
      The one thing about all the Sony Kit I have ever owned is that the screens are lovely, my clie had a gorgeous screen for reading text, the phone is a SE with a fantastic screen (resolution and colour vibrancy) and the various vio's I looked at and then didn't buy all had lovely displays too. How can an apparently evil company have such good sense when it comes to the part of the device most important to the user?
    • Re:Yes!! (Score:5, Informative)

      by xmedar ( 55856 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @10:33AM (#21397419)
      I bought a Sony Reader here are the bullet points-

      1. Great to have hundreds of books at the press of a button.
      2. Easily navigatable.
      3. The 6 inch screen is a bit too small for reading technical pdfs (long equations, detailed graphs etc) even in landscape, if you really have to have that you want an Irex Iliad $650 (£468 in the UK)
      4. Can be read in direct sunlight, great for beach reading.
      5. Contrast is not fantastic, reading black on light grey not white, there is a tool on MobileRead called RasterFarian [mobileread.com] that helps with pdfs, but I've found the best solution to copy the text of pdfs out of Adobe Reader into Open Office Reader, reformat the page to 9cm x 12 cm and change the font to Arial Black 11 or 12, the formating might be a bit messy but I can read it low light conditions easily and it only takes about a minute to convert a whole book.
      6. Overall I'm glad I got the Reader, if the Iliad was cheaper or I could have expensed one I would have prefered it for technical pdfs.

  • Learn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eddy ( 18759 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @07:37AM (#21396625) Homepage Journal

    The only way I'd ever buy one of these is if it nicely renders unDRM'ed PDFs and features good bookmarking (not just files, but page and line too). If the idea is a device that will only work with some DRMed format, then it'll have the same future as an ATRAC-only music player, which is to say... None.

    No, I didn't RTFA, I'm just naturally pessimistic about these devices because everyone seems to be out to sell a service and 'give away a device'.

    • if you have a spare grand check out the irex illiad. take Sony's ebook, or kindle add in wi-fi, touch screen and linux. You can request from the developer a method to unlock the system so you can install applications on it. People have already setup a simple web browser, and mp3 player.

      both of those kill the battery life while you use them, but you can also turn them off. If the damn thing didn't cost a small fortune then I would have gotten one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by webagogue ( 806350 )
      DRM the hell out of 'em... just make them cheap. Books, unlike music, are often read only once (if at all). I wouldn't mind a 99 cent book that expired after six months. If I wanted to read it again, I'd just buy it again.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MythMoth ( 73648 )

      Actually the Sony Reader does nicely render unDRM'ed PDFs and features good bookmarking! It's pretty neat. The DRM'ed books suck, of course, but I've never bought one. Guttenburg texts pre-formatted for it [manybooks.net] rock.

    • Buy or lease? (Score:3, Insightful)

      Well, I did RTFA, and you are sort of right, but it doesn't even have to be an issue with DRM - the format is just as important. The key to providing a winning formula for consumers is:

      a) don't DRM the data. People remember what MS did to all their loyal customers with the Zune (all their legally purchased "PlaysForSure" music from Napster, Yahoo Music, AOL Music Now, MusicMatch, or even Microsoft's MSN Music or MTV-partnered Urge became obsolete and unusable in the Zune, and therefore completely unusable a
  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @07:38AM (#21396633)
    I like the idea of ebooks on physical "epaper". I like the idea of not having to pay ten to fifty dollars for a fucking paperback book, because I'll now be able to buy it in digital form, without the expense of manufacturing and distributing. I like the idea of having the data available to myself for use in different formats and as part of my collection forever, instead of having to buy another copy if I lose my book or spill a soda on it.

    However, what is more likely to happen is that you'll pay just as much as you would for the real thing, be severely limited by crippling DRM, have to pay all over again to re-download the data should you ever need to and also be bound by all sorts of limitations that only benefit the publishing industry. For instance, now you won't be able to sell your book back to a store for them to sell on-the-cheap as used to another reader. The publishing industry HATES the used-book trade and they'd even love to see it criminalized. Not to mention how this could affect libraries.

    So yes, the idea is great. Just like the idea of an immense online collection of videos that I can cheaply download and watch any time I want to with some sort of subscription service. Sounds great, but every implementation sucks and is more limiting than anything else.
  • Too expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @07:46AM (#21396665) Journal

    Paper books have to be printed, they have to be printed before you buy them and this costs lots of money. The publisher has to take a gamble on how many books can be sold, he will then put in an order for that amount at a printer, who wants his money NOW thank you very much. He will then have to stock those books before sending them to the various retailers. Those retailers will have to stock the books as well, until the customer hopefully end up buying them, eventually. In the meantime a lot of the books will get damaged and be less desirable to buy.

    It is a huge complex operation that EATS money. It is why books are still so damned expensive.

    Go digital and you loose an awfull lots of costs. First, with digital distribution you can always create EXACTLY the right number of copies. You will never have to take unsold copies back or have to turn a customer down. Never again will the last copy be in some bookstore in a remote place devoid of human life, like New Jersey.

    The cost of "printing" is insanely low and in this case for a large part already paid for by the consumer. The consumer PAYS for the download through his internet connection and PAY for the "paper" through the ebook reader. Would you pay the same for beef at the butchers if you had to bring your own cow? The cost of distribution also plummets, what do you rather send, a paper book or a megabyte (and text books are well under that) of data? Could you even express the cost of transmitting that amount of data in whole cents anymore?

    Then there is the fact that the costs remain the same no matter where the ebook is send, that there are no losses or damages in transportation and that there is no wait time for delivery.

    The costs of stocking disappear as well, you only need to stock one "copy" of the book and then can sell it through the magic of the computer a million times over. The ebook doesn't get old, can't be stolen from inventory, doesn't get eaten by rats. It just sits there, pristine, ready to be sold anytime there is a buyer. For a company like amazon that stores a great many books going to ebooks would mean a fortune saved in warehouse space.

    The cost savings of going to ebooks are gigantic.

    Yet we still got a price of $9.99 for an ebook when all that is really left is to pay the author, a bit of hardware and software and electricity?

    Anyone want to make a bet that an ebook means a profit margin for amazone that would make Apple blush? I am no economists, but I think you can express amazon's angle as "Cazhiiing", or eyeballs spinning and being replaced by dollar signs.

    Do you also want to make bets that authors won't all of a sudden find that they get a huge increase on their income?

    I can see Amazon's reasons for keeping theprice high, amazing profits is one, not wanting to canabalize paper sales (anyone could setup an ebook store, no need for huge investments Amazon had to make to setup its paper book distribution system) but I also fear it will kill the idea.

    Why is it so hard for these types of companies to understand that the less you sell something for, the more you sell. Rather then trying to squeeze a limited audience for all you can, squeeze them less and find yourselve with a bigger audience.

    It is depressing that business just doesn't seem to get that with the costs of selling digital content being so low, you could expand your market to truly epic proportions.

    Imagine for instance if comics (or manga or strips) were no longer sold JUST on their original continent, but were distrubuted worldwide at a fraction of the costs. I find it very hard to believe that this would not massively increase the sales and profits of the publishers. Yet they keep insisting on distrubting their works in the most expensive way possible that limits the exposure to potential customers.

    Truly amazing. $9.99 for a megabyte of data, that requires me to pay for delivery AND the tech to read it. Yeah, why not.

    If business had been charge of the internet, email would cost 0.50 euro cents to send. Because hey, that is what regular mail costs so why should we pass the savings by going digital on to the customer?

    • Re:Too expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @08:17AM (#21396831)
      When you talk about the publishers going digital, you have to carry it out to the logical conclusion. Printing costs go down to zero, so do distribution costs. Pure profits, right?

      And then the authors will get ideas -- all the sucessful ones say to themselves "Hey, all I need is to hire a good editor and then I can do this myself!" Of course, they would want marketing and such services -- but instead of having an editor which controls you to a degree -- eventually an ebay/amazon/itunes of ebooks gets developed by someone who wants only a small percent and who the general public congregates upon to get this type of item.

      If iTunes were to become the major (>50%) sale's force in the music world over CDs, you will see more and more artists doing the same.

      So while it would drive their costs down, publishers have almost no interest into shifting to such an paradigm as the distribution channel is their source of power. They don't do retail, they don't control the shops directly, but they can pretty much decide if your books hit the physical shelves or not. Lose that and they become irrevelent -- much of the publishing industry could become a free associations of editors, authors, and artists who work with each other on a one by one basis as need arises.
    • The cost of "printing" is insanely low and in this case for a large part already paid for by the consumer. The consumer PAYS for the download through his internet connection and PAY for the "paper" through the ebook reader. Would you pay the same for beef at the butchers if you had to bring your own cow? The cost of distribution also plummets, what do you rather send, a paper book or a megabyte (and text books are well under that) of data? Could you even express the cost of transmitting that amount of data
    • by DingerX ( 847589 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @08:34AM (#21396897) Journal
      DRM, like crime, never pays.

      An EVDO connection instead of WiFi: Well, okay, 802.11x sucks for a variety of reasons, but there is one good thing about it: many people have home networks that use it. EVDO? That's a fancy way of saying "we control the device's access to the internet, and you will pay for it."

      According to the article, "classics" will be available for $2/pop, and you can subscribe to blogs for $1/month. You know, classics, like the ones that are out of copyright, and blogs, like the ones you can get for free.

      How many times do companies come out with a "cool product", and then think it will succeed purely as a vector for other purchases? It might work for video games (where the base product's performance and design is unique) and inkjets (where the supplies drive the retail price), but here you're competing with services that are free. You want to point to the iPod and ITMS? What percentage of tracks on all iPods out there were purchased at ITMS?

      Okay, one more thing, this time from Microsoft's Hill:

      There's 550 years of technological development in the book, and it's all designed to work with the four to five inches from the front of the eye to the part of the brain that does the processing [of the symbols on the page],

      There's more than that. Codices have been around since late antiquity (I dunno, 4th century maybe?). Before that, we had papyrus rolls. Books are also more versatile than that, with some being designed to be read from across the room.

      Finally, how fast does kindle let you flip through the pages?

      Like many other people here, I've been waiting for an affordable and usable eInk reader, but this ain't it either.
    • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @08:57AM (#21396991) Homepage
      If this included a copy of all the books I already own then it would be a good deal. ...but I suspect he's hoping I'll pay all over again for an 'e' version of them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mmurphy000 ( 556983 )

      Paper books have to be printed, they have to be printed before you buy them and this costs lots of money. The publisher has to take a gamble on how many books can be sold, he will then put in an order for that amount at a printer, who wants his money NOW thank you very much. He will then have to stock those books before sending them to the various retailers. Those retailers will have to stock the books as well, until the customer hopefully end up buying them, eventually. In the meantime a lot of the books w

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )
      Basically, if allowed Amazon or Apple to sell an e-book of cheaper than the paperback is sold at, all the bricks and mortar bookstores who are selling the paperback will complain.

      Its the same reason why buying games on Steam doesn't cost less than buying them from GameStop or Wal-Mart, if it did, GameStop and Wal-Mart would be a lot less willing to carry the game.
    • Have you been to IRC channel bookz at Undernet Europe?

      I'm sticking with pirate channels of distributions until publishers offer at least a comparable service, in volume and in quality (the latter is easy, as most texts in pirate libraries are bad OCRs). Hey, I gladly paid to allofmp3 while it lasted: it was in some ways a better service than peer-to-peer networks, and offered a selection of music that was not available in any other e-store.
  • by lena_10326 ( 1100441 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @07:50AM (#21396695) Homepage
    To read E-Books.... Search google for ebook+psp or ebook+ds and you'll see lots of into on them.

    If I was into ebooks, I'd probably prefer reading them on a PSP because it's screen is wide. For reading, a wide screen is more important than a tall or square screen... IMO.

    • by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @09:55AM (#21397229)
      I can't answer how -this- beats a PSP or DS, but I have an n800 and I can answer how that does.

      The large screen is a must. The DS's screen doesn't get enough text on it at once, even using both screens, to read at a good clip.

      The touch screen is -really- useful. I can tap a corner of the 'page' with my thumb and it'll go forward or backward in the text.

      You don't have to hack or buy a questionably-legal cartridge to use the n800 for reading.

      I can guess the Kindle would also add: 30 hours of battery life, and paper-like screen which could be easier on the eyes.

      I bought the n800 mainly for ebook reading. I use it for other things as well now, but it really was just another $400 ebook reader when I bought it. But it -could- do other things, which this Kindle cannot. No Skype phone, web browsing, organizer, etc, etc.

      One last unrelated thing: I see everyone talking about DRM'd ebooks. I have never bought a DRM'd ebook in my life and never will. I buy my books from baen.com (ALL completely DRM free and in several formats) which has -years- of good books that I don't have yet, and they release more each month than I can read in a month. In addition, Project Gutenburg has the classics.
      • by juhaz ( 110830 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @11:02AM (#21397565) Homepage
        Agreed, the internet tablets are THE devices for e-book reading at the moment.

        Amazing screen, open, FBreader has amazing format support, pretty good user interface (I like zoom buttons for page browsing, in addition to the thumb press). And while they might not get quite 30 hours of battery life, if you're just reading without using wifi/bt or anything cpu intensive, my 770 gets at least twelve hours. While the paper-like screen could, in theory, be better for your eyes, much of the eye-relief of paper comes from huge resolution, and e-ink just doesn't have that yet - the Tablets actually have quite a bit better resolution (~225DPI) than the amazon gadget (167 DPI), so it just might be that they're actually better to read on, to boot.

        And of course, as you say, while they're good book readers, they can do a whole lot more for almost half the price (n800 is going for just over 200 now that n810 is out).
      • by Chelloveck ( 14643 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @11:31AM (#21397757) Homepage

        One last unrelated thing: I see everyone talking about DRM'd ebooks. I have never bought a DRM'd ebook in my life and never will. I buy my books from baen.com (ALL completely DRM free and in several formats) which has -years- of good books that I don't have yet, and they release more each month than I can read in a month.

        Amen to Baen! Darned near all of their catalog is available electronically [webscription.net] (certainly everything printed in the past decade), they have a huge library of free books [baen.com], and everything is available in plain ol' HTML as well as other forms (Rocketreader, Palm Mobipocket, Microsoft Reader, and RTF). Individual books are priced about the same as a paperback, cheaper if you buy the bundle-of-the-month.

        They also publish a monthly SF magazine [baens-universe.com] in a purely electronic format, if that sort of thing floats your boat.

        Baen has a serious corporate allergy to DRM. Jim Baen hated it, and his successors hate it. This is what commercial electronic media should be. (I'm talking to you, RIAA!)

  • EBooks delivered to and read on Cell Phones is the future.

    Screen resolution on cell phones has greatly improved allowing much more text to be displayed...

    Of course, reading such a small screen poses challanges ... but a simple magnifier lens solves that problem ... could be in the form of a snap-on for regular glasses or as a separate bluetooth unit that's worn over one eye; guy from MIT used something like that for over 5 years to surf the internet most anywhere he went ... to digress a bit, I wouldn't be
    • It'd have to be a PDA style cell phone, or possibly PDA style table PC. I don't think tiny cell phones will ever be suitable for extended reading, no matter the resolution. No one wants to carry around magnifiers either.

      • I agree that carrying around a lens could be a hassle for many people, but is a simple, viable solution that will work today.

        Looking way into the future, it may be possible for cell phone manufactures to come up with a screen that appears much larger when viewed from a normal reading distance - that is to say the enlarged image would appear to float about a foot or so above the actual screen.

  • More info... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ThreeGigs ( 239452 )
    From 2 months ago (Engadget):
    http://www.engadget.com/2006/09/11/amazon-kindle-meet-amazons-e-book-reader/ [engadget.com]

    $399 is too much for something that's bigger than a PDA or smartphone and does less, doesn't take standard AA batteries, displays in two-bit greyscale, can't be left in a car on a sunny day, has a headhone jack and cellular CDMA capability but can't make a phone call, can't scribble in the margins or highlight.

    Cross an iPhone and a OLPC laptop together, and you'd get a better ebook.
  • I don't get this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @07:59AM (#21396737)
    I mean a six inch screen at $399? What's so revolutionary? I can get a sony ereader with eink right now for $299:

    http://www.amazon.com/E-reader-Portable-Silver-E-book-Approx/dp/B000WPXQ2M [amazon.com]

    and it looks a million times better with less buttons. While I personally want to buy it, I won't until the screen is the size of textbooks or a standard 8x11 page sheet. I hate squinting -- I might as well read off a PDA if they keep insisting on making screens so small. What is so frustrating is that we could have our libraries - every newspaper we read, every book we ever bought, every textbook in such devices already with current technology.

    But how long will it be in coming? Will textbook manufacturers stall until the wikibooks project provides real competition on any level?

    Will the future releases of J.K. Rowling come in pdf or will they wait until, like music, they can't ignore the market due to downloads they don't get any compensation for?

  • and like the iPod, it will stand or fall on two fundementals:
    • the user interface
    • the available content (and its price)

    However, unlike an mp3 player, this cannot be just a passive device: plug yourself into it and vegetate. It will need user interaction for every page, so apart from looking pretty, this UI will have to actually be usable.

    Now if Amazon want to really make this take off, they'll make it able to read the book to you. Apart from never overestimating the intelligence of the user, this would al

  • by Lazy Jones ( 8403 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @08:28AM (#21396879) Homepage Journal
    The entry price for a book is usually $10 or less. A $399 gadget (in the order of magnitude of a laptop or e.g. ASUS Eee PC) just to do the same is too expensive and unattractive. True, you can carry around many books with you that way, but you can do that with a laptop as well.

    I'll call this revolutionary when the reader costs $50 or less (or is free) and when the books cost $2. Not when you get ripped off on the reader as well as on the book price (zero cost for the manufacturer, same or higher price than a paper book).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by debest ( 471937 )
      I half agree with you. The price of books should be from $2 to $10 (variable, depending on the volume of sales), with the more popular and older works definitely at the lower end of that scale. I'd also be willing to put up with non-insane DRM at that price.

      But I would pay $400 for a well-engineered, well-built reader. A device that would be about the same dimensions as a smallish laptop, only really thin. A full-sized screen (about 12"). Designed to take a lot of punishment. Able to display ordinary
  • I agree that wireless is the killer part of this device - you now have a way to get readable documents to someone instantly via pdfs. No longer do you need to connect a laptop and d/l a file or struggle to read a pdf on a PDA; all you need to do is email it to a Kindle. The question is how well does it do gray scale (no mention of color) so taht you can get reasonable reproductions of documents.

    In addition, it'll be interesting to see what is in this for Sprint. While I am interested in the device I don'
  • (BTW, this is fiction!)

    I'm a household name (at least in the literate households) and I've just written my next best-seller. Where exactly does a publisher feature, if the book only appears as an eBook? They won't need to publish (i.e. print) anything and I can obtain the services of a publicist myself.

    What that means is all the royalties go to me - and then to the tax-man, without having a mega-corporation in the middle, skimming most of my pay.

    Even for the unknown authors, it will be easier, if somewha

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Publishing != printing. Publishers, when doing their jobs well, see a hair past what the author submits to what the book could be with a little polish. (They pay people such as copy editors and developmental editors to add that polish.) I get stuff thrown at me when I say so, but publishers also act as quality gatekeepers, if for no better reason than they have some money on the line. Now, with ebook publishing, that initial investment in paper and ink is reduced to almost nothing, and it's mostly the publi
  • Is it waterproof? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitig ( 1056110 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @08:49AM (#21396959)

    If it's not waterproof, when I drop it in the bath I'll be $400 down instead of $10 down. And will I have to turn my book off during take-off and landing? Oh look, I'd need to change my mobile phone service provider! How much does EVDO cost, anyway? I can't find anybody offering UK-based contracts? Can I mark text with different coloured hi-lighters and draw diagrams in the margin?

    Looks to me as if it might find a place alongside the book, but I don't see it being a replacement any time soon.

  • Ebook Copyrights (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @08:54AM (#21396979) Journal
    The ONE reason I don't buy ebooks anymore is due to copyrights.

    With a book it's quite LEGAL for me to loan what I've purchased to somebody else. With most ebooks I can't. They usually are locked up with DRM as well. The publishers want to treat ebooks like traditional software (in regards to copyright). You can't just check out an ebook at the library free of charge (usually) and you can bet the publishers would like it to stay that way as they generally hate libraries.

    The liberal copyright restrictions on books when it comes to loaning them to somebody else is very important.
  • Too expensive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by crunzh ( 1082841 )
    399 when you can get a paperback for lets say 10 USD, then thats 40 books for the price of this. Thats quite a lot, I really like to read books but rarely get time to read more than 1 a week, so this thing cost the same as allmost my yearly book habit, without actually giving me any books to read. There are no way I am going to cash out that amount of money.
  • $9.99 for a book? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s_p_oneil ( 795792 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @09:14AM (#21397053) Homepage
    Why are companies so greedy? When I buy a book, I go to a store and buy it in paperback, which is cheaper than $9.99. So this company wants to sell me a book without the paper (which saves them a lot of money on production and distribution costs), and yet they still want to charge me even more? An e-book is worth less than a paperback to me, it costs them a hell of a lot less to make and distribute copies, and I'm certain it will be bound up in DRM so tightly that you can't use it with different devices, which means you will have to buy it again when that device goes out of style. Does that sound like a good deal to anyone here?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by HunterD ( 13063 )
      Go look at the prices again. $9.99 is for any book on the NY Times best seller list which are *all* hardcovers books. The average price of the ebooks this is referring to is less then *half* the cover price of the paper copy, and generally 50% lower then the paper copy from amazon.

      You: Staying Young: The Owner's Manual for Extending Your Warranty
      Cover price: $26.00
      Amazon print Price: $15.60
      Kindle price: $9.99
      http://www.amazon.com/You-Staying-Owners-Extending-Warranty/dp/B000UZNS36/ref=sr_1_1?ie=U [amazon.com]
  • Wasn't this idea tried years ago? And wasn't it a complete failure? The entire thing is too expensive, and too big a pain.
  • powered by a battery that gets up to 30 hours from a 2-hour charge.

    The biggest problem I have with reading a physical book is lack of light.

    If my cell phone and laptop are any indication, my biggest problem with ebooks is that when I want to read, I'll have forgotten to charge the damn thing.

    If they would add an "emergency" generator like in those shake flashlights, so that I could get a 15 minute charge after shaking it for 30 seconds, I'd buy it.

  • Not ready yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @10:05AM (#21397273)
    In fact I think a dedicated book-reader will never have any significant market share. What it needs is that everybody carries a PDA araund, that can also serve as a book reader. Until then, a genuine paperback has huge advantages:

    - Cost: Cheap. If it gets wet or you losse it, no issue.
    - Reliable: Works. And everybody understands what it can and cannot do.
    - Resilient: Works when damaged. Pretty hard to destroy to non-functionality unintentionally.
    - Compatible: Works with eyeball mark one and light mark one. No vendor lock-in here.
    - Easy to use: Flip a page.
    - Versatile: Can also double as fire-starter, toilet-paper, doorstop, ...
    - Durable: If stored carefully, will still work after decades
    - Non-surprising behaviour: No virusses, disk-crashes, empty batteries, ...

    The only advantage I see in a dedicated ebook is the following:

    - Simpler transport and storage: Easier for the bookseller to make money.

    I think this thing has zero market. At some time we all will be carrying around a PDA stype devices that can match most of the advantages of a book, and then we will be buying ebooks, But not before that. And there will allways be a market for trade-paperbacks and hardcovers. It is not only about getting a sequence of letters to the customer.

  • It didnt mention how much the device was, if its $500 bucks then its silly even if books are 8 dollars or less.

    Can i backup my books locally on my PC forever, or are we going to have another fiasco where down the road amazon pulls the plug and i lose access to all the content i bought?

    Can i load my own books in PDF format onto this thing ?
  • I would really rather have an EBook reader, say as opposed to read pdf or txt files in a computer. The thing that would make me buy it would be: - decent screen that doesn't kills my eyes (after already spending the whole day programming); - battery life measured in thousands of pages; - a form format that is suitable for reading. - easy to get it to work with Linux The form format of the screen is a bit of a problem with something like the XO. The screen brightness could also give me trouble. [...] Ab
  • Kindle? As in kindling? As in a bonfire? Books and bonfires?

    The only logical conclusion is that Amazon is a front for Neo-Nazis.

    (kidcharles - Godwining threads with a single post since the dawn of the intertubes!)
  • by theodp ( 442580 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @10:47AM (#21397493)
    Under-Construction Kindle Store [amazon.com]: No pics yet, but tabs for Buy a Kindle, Kindle Books, Kindle Newspapers, Kindle Blogs, Kindle Magazines, Manage Your Kindle, and Kindle Support.
  • Non-starter (Score:4, Insightful)

    by frisket ( 149522 ) <peter@[ ]maril.ie ['sil' in gap]> on Sunday November 18, 2007 @12:26PM (#21398119) Homepage
    It's not the device which is important: it's the file format. As long as these devices use restricted formats, they're dead in the water.
  • Surely (Score:4, Interesting)

    by goldcd ( 587052 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @01:20PM (#21398563) Homepage
    they should just hand Kindles out to people on planes.
    Something new and fun to play with. Get to use it for a few hours to see if you like it - and offering a plane trip with an onboard library of a few hundred thousand books deinitely ranks above half a dozen crappy blockbusters.
    More importantly, you can seed the market by letting travellers pay to walk off the plane with their new Kindle and their half-read book.
    (Jeff, you owe me if you run with this)
  • by RonBurk ( 543988 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @03:20PM (#21399493) Homepage Journal

    When will they learn? Greed guarantees failure for yet another e-book reader entry. Only $400? Wow, I can buy a laptop and donate another for that price. Let's go over what you need to succeed One More Time:

    • Price: $400 is a non-starter. Shoot for $200 for the opening price, with price reductions to follow.
    • Hardware Openness: Hardware companies don't know how to make software. Open the hardware up from the beginning. Give out free SDKs. Let skins and mods proliferate. This sucks in the geeky early adopter, who will then start selling his geeky peers on the device.
    • Decrease Information Friction: Don't eyeball every source of information as a profit stream -- instead, focus on how damned easy you can make it for people to get information onto your hardware (think of why YouTube succeeded and Google Video had to fold).
    • Profits from Platform: Of course, you have to make money or you won't bother to make the device. Focus on being the platform that all e-book readers are based on. Think long-term. Think profits from volume. Think of being the AdWords/AdSense of e-books (you can pay and get X content ad-free, or not pay and get it with ads).
  • Amazon Kindle PHOTO (Score:3, Informative)

    by AlexanderT ( 846266 ) on Sunday November 18, 2007 @03:48PM (#21399713) Homepage
    If you still don't believe that the leaked FCC photos depict the final product (some say it's hideous), check out next week's cover of the Newsweek: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=7336&d=1195413957 [mobileread.com]

Marriage is the sole cause of divorce.