Firestarter

Well the Kindle 2 came out today so I preordered it.

This morning two people IM’d me about it so I decided to give the first my Amazon referral bucks. I give Amazon bucks semi-randomly to various friends and he asked me how I do it.

I use a “Buy from Amazon” bookmarklet I wrote to make life easier.

You can drag that into your toolbar if you like. One nice thing is to remove the second prompt and just replace the href with the tag to yourself. I keep it this way so that I remember to put the associate ID of one of my friends since I put them on rotation.

Amazon.com: Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation): Kindle StoreAmazon.com: Kindle 2: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation): Kindle Store
Anyone else wonder why Amazon decided to call it the Kindle? Shouldn’t it be something more akin to Treehugger? I thought Green was in.

What I dislike about K2

Well now that my big beef is gone, let me say that I dislike the lack of WiFi. Granted the EVDO is free for Wikipedia (now) and for purchasing books, but I’d like things to be tethered to something where I can download free content.

At the end of the day though the only competition is coming from Sony and Apple. Yes, there is the iRex but I left school a long time ago. Just because I can afford it doesn’t mean I think other people can. Sorry!

Sony can’t make software. Full stop. The only solution to compete with Amazon’s distribution system is for there to be a tethered solution with an appstore similar to the way Apple has done it with the iPhone. Sony can’t do that.

Apple could. But Apple has made it clear that they don’t think books as a primary market is viable. This doesn’t mean Apple won’t enter this space. In fact, all evidence is pointing to something between a MacBook Air and an iPhone coming around at Christmas time this year. Give an Apple allowance for bugs and “something different” and we’ll say by the end of 2011 for sure. The problem is that this sounds more like a computer: netbook, tablet, something new, than it does a bookreader.

Jobs is right. Just because I can blow $350 on a book reader doesn’t make it a worthwhile market. Just like over three years ago when I bagged on my friend from Virgin, it’s important to keep some perspective here.

So I’m betting on Amazon, but that doesn’t mean that the whole thing might not go the way of the PDA in a couple years.

6 thoughts on “Firestarter

  1. Question: I believe I read somewhere that the Kindle doesn’t display monotype fonts well, making it absolutely worthless for programming books display code samples.

    Is that true?

    Just wondering, because frankly the only value I see in the Kindle would be for my transient book purchases. Namely computer books. The books I buy and use as a reference for a couple of years until they’re obsolete.

    Oh, that and my desire to read Ludlum spy novels while traveling.

    Otherwise, if I buy great works I’ll probably want them in paper form so I can read them again in 30 years when I retire.

    So I’m having a hard time justifying a $350 purchased to read Ludlum spy novels.

  2. @Buddy Steve. That was true for the release. The Kindle didn’t support monospace fonts but an update to it added that support in.

    I believe the big problem with the Kindle and technical publications is the lack of table support. I assume that an update (if the Kindle 2 doesn’t already add it) will fix that.

    As I mentioned in the mouseovers of the article above, I think it’s hard for anyone to justify the purchase of a $350 book reader. I read a lot more than the average person, but, because of the internet, most of that reading is no longer in book form (except as reference, in which case, as you point out, paper is preferred).

    (To put hard numbers on things. Most americans read less than three books a year. I estimate that I am only reading 20-25 books a year now, Pre-internet I was reading about 50 books a year and had a only few more erudite friends who I peg at close to 100 books a year. I estimate you’d have to read around 60 books a year (over one a week!), to even begin to justify buying the Kindle as a “value” without it sounding as so much b.s. rationalizing. My book inventory as of last year.)

    So my rationalization is it’s a cool technology and Amazon is more likely than the others to pull it off and it doesn’t look like ass. Not surprisingly that was the same B.S. rationale I used to purchase my first PDA (a Palm V in the spring of 1999).

    I’m betting on Amazon in the short term (like I bet on Palm back then), but I’m not betting on this market in the long term. Instead, I tried to imply in the article that I think that this market can be subsumed just as easily as the PDA got eaten by the smartphone market.

    I think the “reasoning” behind Job’s statement: “people don’t read books” isn’t that people don’t read at all, it’s just that we’ve replaced a lot of our book content with internet content in a way that doesn’t justify the risk in entering what they perceive as a shrinking market. Apple’s strategy then, going forward, is probably to look at an internet-enabled device that also can double as a book reader rather than the Amazon strategy of a book reader that can double as an internet-enabled device.

    I have no idea what that’s going to look like.

    In the meantime, I will blow my three and a half benjamins. If I’m lucky I’ll get maybe half that value back.

    Which, in my warped gadget ridden universe, is a pretty good ROI. 😀

  3. Good points. I’d have to agree with Jobs, that this would be a more useful device if it could browse the internet in addition to reading books.

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