Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Amazon's Kindle ebook Reader

Levi Asher is skeptical of's Kindle. I blogged here about Sony's ebook reader and most of what I said about it can be applied here.

In a nut:

1. $400 is a lot to pay for a device to read books that doesn't do anything else and is locked into one bookseller. What if Amazon bellies up? Books are remarkably well-designed, durable and portable information storage devices that only require some visible light to use. Why introduce an unnecessary layer of mediation to achieve the same end result?

2. Most people who read anything at all buy four books a year. They won't buy a Kindle.

3. About a month ago I backed up essential folders and files on my other computer in preparation for installing a new hard drive. I had a folder with about ten ebooks I had downloaded for free. Most were "real" books by professional writers, not fan fiction or some self-published crap. The only one I saved was a James Ellroy anthology, Breakneck Pace, because I paid a few bucks once in the wee hours to download it from Amazon when I was bored out of my mind and because I don't think it's available in a print edition. It's also one of the few ebooks I finished and might want to reread one day. My experience with ebooks is that there's more anticipatory excitement generated by he idea of being able to instantly download and read hem than in the content itself.

4. The Kindle is an ergonomic nightmare. The shelf-like surface with the control buttons seems to put the screen farther away from you than needed. Why aren't the controls on screen, like the iPhone? The Kindle is all angles and edges and hard, unyielding surfaces. The places where one holds this device should be covered in some soft silicone like the grip that even cheap ballpoint pens offer.

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