E-book reader wars


Joshua Gans draws our attention to Amazon’s attempt to create the iPod for text. Kindle. Joshua’s quite keen though unimpressed by Kindle’s inability to display pdfs. I’m more seriously unimpressed by that, and don’t reckon it will be a goer. At $400 US it’s expensive . And I just can’t imagine people being too impressed with having to do everything through Amazon. Meanwhile as Starbucks offers free WiFi it’s starting to look obvious why Google’s trying to get hold of some spectrum. At $1 per download and RSS feed (which Amazon is charging according to this graphic from Gizmodo) it wouldn’t take long to recoup one’s investment.

As the Gizmodo article says, it’s open standards versus connectivity. Well perhaps connectivity will win. But what about when open standards get connected. I’d really like one, but won’t be buying till I get both (or until forced to as I was with iPod – to listen to Brad Delong’s lectures – which turned out to be disappointing).
I’m also amazed at the relative unfriendliness of navigation on Kindle. What happened to pointing – it seems you can’t do that, but if you watch the animation of someone looking up a word – it’s cumbersome – double tapping on the word with one’s finger would have done the trick.

Still, these guys have done their homework no-doubt, so we’ll see how they go.

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derrida derider
derrida derider
16 years ago

Mate, you can get a brand-new laptop for about $750 which will do all thqt – and much, much more.

These people are dreaming.

Joshua Gans
16 years ago

Hmm, Kindle is sold out.

Also, you can use it internationally through a computer.

Turns out that pdf conversion is possible but at a price and the outcome is not guaranteed.

16 years ago

I recently bought a Compaq 3875 IPAQ for $150. I’d suggest Amazon have missed the boat well and truly.

16 years ago

Connectivity, good. Although while this is the major plus for the Kindle, it’s also the issue which guarantees we won’t see it in Australia any time soon – if ever. Our broadband isn’t even up to spec, never mind wi-fi access.

Open source, better. One of the major selling points for an e-book would have to be the ability to read anything. One of the main non-technical obstacles to them taking off is that many of the efforts to date have been tied to proprietary formats, limiting your choices to the offerings of whatever publishers have done deals with the patent holder. No thanks.

The Sony Reader looks good. Kindle also has something to offer. I would happily invest in either (and I say that as someone living in a flat overflowing with books) provided I could be sure I could get full functionality. And at the moment in Australia there’s no guarantee of that.

Although since neither of them is available here, it’s a moot point.

James A
James A
16 years ago

If you haven’t seen it already, The Future of Reading (A Play in Six Acts). Also, you could put your existing music on the iPod, which you can’t do on the Kindle (or Sony Libre).