Kindle E-Book reader
Late in 2007, Amazon put out an ebook reader called the Kindle. There is a lot of discussion about it on the library discussion lists, so I won’t duplicate that here. Suffice it to say that ebook readers really haven’t caught on for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is the lack of a standard for the books themselves. Each reader can only load specific types of files. Amazon’s reader is no different.
The device itself has a lot going for it — an electronic ink display, which makes it easier to read, a modem which connects you to the Amazon store so you can purchase additional books, has a QWERTY keyboard, allows Web access, and can play MP3s and audio books.
On the other hand, you only have access to a selection of Amazon’s books — those that are in the Kindle’s proprietary format. This article states that you can email your own files to a Kindle address, have them converted and sent back to you for $.10 per file. However, in other places, I’ve heard that there is no charge. Using a standard file format would have been nicer and easier on everyone. They also charge for downloading/reading content that is free if you’re on the web, like blogs.
I’ve always hoped we could have a popular ebook reader and the Kindle looks like it is a step forward. If it would allow me to easily load my own files, get to free Web-based content at no charge and also get to my email, I’d seriously look at it. As it is, for $400, it’s a little steep for me right now.