Today I bought the newsstand copy of the November 26, 2007 edition of Newsweek magazine. Their cover article is on the Kindle. You can read that
article for free online on their website, at:
Alternative EBRs preferred by some users include the iRex (which is more expensive than Kindle, but is fully compatible with PDF files), available
Another commentor on PDF-capable EBRs prefers the Samsung Q1 Ultra UMPC for $749.99 (sale price); it can be enhanced with software called BlueBeam
In the Newsweek Reader Comments section for the above Newsweek article, one reader invites people to look at his full article of comments on the
Kindle at his blog, which is at:
So far, my overall impressions of Kindle are:
1. Foir travelers, Kindle can't be beat if the books you'd like to read en route are currently available for that EBR. It's also very tempting for
readers like myself whose physical bookshelves got filled to overflowing many moons ago.
2. All electronic EBRs have a severe and chronic problem with the issue of emulation. In other words, what is the future capability of any EBR to
remain usable with book publisher software that hasn't been invented yet? Jeff Rothenberg, the noted writer on preservation issues with digital
technology, has a number of free online articles available, such as one from this year:
Jeff's landmark article on the problems with the preservation of digital documents was written in 1995 in the magazine Scientific American. You can
read that article for free if you have a library card at a local library.
3. Being the suspicious person that I am, I wonder if future price decreases in the Kindle will be achieved by including (horrors) advertising with
the downloaded book. There is only so much degradation of the reading experience that users will put up with.
4. I was impressed by the point made in the Newsweek article about the advantage of using an EBR as an alternative to the old-fashioned killing of
trees in traditional printing of paper books. That's something to think about.
5. Digital copyright managment (DCRM) issues (control over the content -- i.e., books, newspapers, blogs, etc. -- that can be downloaded to the
Kindle) are complex. There are a number of lawsuits in progress by publishers and by groups representing authors, and it's hard to know how those
cases will work out.
My own guess is that anyone who thinks that DCRM is a deal-breaker forever is missing the point: What is true about the power struggle over
yesterday's and today's books may not at all be true about tomorrow's books. True, leading novelists like John Updike and Annie Proulx won't have
anything to do with EBRs, but frankly, how many more books do today's established writers have in them? The future is a big place, and my guess is
that almost all future authors will co-exist to some extent with EBRs that feature their writings. Behavior has a habit of changing, especially as
each new generation of people matures.
Anyway, here is one last link, from a blogger who nicely rounds out the picture on the "total cost of ownership" of the Kindle:
[edit on 11/24/2007 by Uphill]