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Amazon Announces Kindle -- their ebook reader
Amazon  ISBN/ITEM#: B000FI73MA
Date: 19 November 2007

Links: Amazon's Kindle page / New York Times Article / Show Official Info /

For years, I've been looking for a ebook reader that acts more like a 'real' book than like my PC looking at PDF files. Every ebook reader that was released was looked at with an eye to the following features that I wanted: changeable text size, ability to mark my place, ability to look up words in a dictionary, ability to hold multiple books, ability to take notes or highlight the text in the book I'm reading, ability to back up the books I've purchased in case my reader is broken/lost/stolen. My other big need is no DRM (still waiting on this one).

Amazon's Kindle seems to have the features I've been looking for, as you can see from their Product Overview. While I haven't had the opportunity to try one out it looks like it just might be the ebook reader that gets me to consider reading ebooks.

Amazon's Product Overview

    * Revolutionary electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
    * Simple to use: no computer, no cables, no syncing.
    * Wireless connectivity enables you to shop the Kindle Store directly from your Kindle—whether you're in the back of a taxi, at the airport, or in bed.
    * Buy a book and it is auto-delivered wirelessly in less than one minute.
    * More than 88,000 books available, including 100 of 112 current New York Times® Best Sellers.
    * New York Times® Best Sellers and all New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise.
    * Free book samples. Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy.
    * Top U.S. newspapers including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post; top magazines including TIME, Atlantic Monthly, and Forbes—all auto-delivered wirelessly.
    * Top international newspapers from France, Germany, and Ireland; Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine, and The Irish Times.
    * More than 250 top blogs from the worlds of business, technology, sports, entertainment, and politics, including BoingBoing, Slashdot, TechCrunch, ESPN's Bill Simmons, The Onion, Michelle Malkin, and The Huffington Post.
    * Lighter and thinner than a typical paperback; weighs only 10.3 ounces.
    * Holds over 200 titles.
    * Long battery life. Leave wireless on and recharge approximately every other day. Turn wireless off and read for a week or more before recharging. Fully recharges in 2 hours.
    * Unlike WiFi, Kindle utilizes the same high-speed data network (EVDO) as advanced cell phones—so you never have to locate a hotspot.
    * No monthly wireless bills, service plans, or commitments—we take care of the wireless delivery so you can simply click, buy, and read.
    * Includes free wireless access to the planet's most exhaustive and up-to-date encyclopedia—Wikipedia.org.
    * Email your Word documents and pictures (.JPG, .GIF, .BMP, .PNG) to Kindle for easy on-the-go viewing.

Some Comments
From: Lou Anders (PYR)
    "The key feature of a book is that it disappears," Jeff Bezos. I'll have to hold one to see if that's correct, but I'm initially impressed. Certainly when the next generation Kindle appears (color covers!) and we see if it's here to stay, I'll be tempted. I'm also curious to see if this sparks Apple to respond with an iPod/iPhone equivalent. Most interesting to me is the free wireless connection and whether this forces other related (not necessarily book) products to follow with their own "always on" features, as the iPod has done. Disappointed there is a $.10 charge for converting Microsoft documents to the Kindle format, though it may be that the charge is only applied when you email and that you can upload via direct connection sans charge (does anyone know?). I read a great many manuscripts a year, naturally, and the ability to carry them on a portable reader would be a strong selling point for me personally, more so than the purchase of commercial ebooks. Right now I read on an HP Pocket PC, which is comfortable but not ideal.
From David Harwell (Tor)
    This looks like a neat gadget. But not anything that is going to make us do more ebooks fast. Right now, we are making tens of dollars in profit on ebooks, not enough to incur acceleration in production and conversion costs, at least not that I am aware of. If this device increases our sales of present titles by hundreds or thousands of copies each, then it is a new ball game. We'll see.

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