Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Kindle: Boon or Bane

Amazon recently released its e-book reader, christened Kindle, a portable device that can store up to 200 books, magazines, and other publications which a user can download through Amazon. Downloading is done through the mobile phone network, not WiFi.

Its plus-features include a non-glare screen, thanks to e-paper technology. The unit's weight is comparable to ordinary books, and it has a built-in dictionary in case you want to look up a word. More research can be done through a link to Wikipedia. You can also annotate pages and change the type size.

There are no monthly charges--you only pay for the unit and the books you buy or the newspapers and magazines you subscribe to--since Amazon pays for the access. And what you order supposedly makes it to your Kindle in a minute or less.

Sounds like a dream come true for many reading aficionados--imagine bringing a whole library of books on a long trip. But Amazon wants you to dole out $399.00 for the convenience, and because its functionality is based on a mobile network, the service may not reach the Philippines anytime soon. On the pricing front, while books will cost you $9.99 or less, they're not only under Digital Rights Management (which means they'll be inaccessible after some time), they're also in a special format. The Kindle cannot read PDF files, at least not yet. Oh, and no color pictures.

On the area of aesthetics, the Kindle looks like something you'd find in a medical laboratory. Personally, I'm okay with it. I like the "clinical" look because it won't get in the way of the reading experience. However, the Sony Reader looks a lot better, apart from it being cheaper and PDF-friendly, but I read somewhere that its screen isn't as large as the Kindle's.

For $399.00, the new baby of Amazon isn't very practical. That's equivalent to a over forty paperbacks. But Neil Gaiman seems to like the gadget. Scroll down the Kindle product page (link below) to watch his testimonial video.

You can check out more about Kindle through the Amazon Store.

2 comments:

KEL said...

I never really liked the idea of e-books. I like the idea of holding the book and sifting thru the pages. Neil Gaiman in his blog likens it to an ipod. He likes the ipod coz he gets to bring around his music but when he's at home he still prefers plopping in a CD into his player. I don't have an ipod so I guess I might not get into the Kindle either, even if it were cheap. And oh, Neil Gaiman thinks $399 in a bit expensive too.

Carver said...

kel... maybe he got his for free. :-)

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