Amazon's Kindle

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Doug

A very good talk on this and other related themes here:  http://www.q2cfestival.com/play.php?lecture_id=7748

Sven Sven's picture

The beauty of free-market competition: [url=Why">http://www.slate.com/id/2263787/][u]Why e-readers will soon be less than $99[/url].

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Late last month, Amazon unveiled a new version of its Kindle e-book reader that, like every new Kindle, is thinner, lighter, and smaller than the previous one. It's also the cheapest Kindle ever-the new Wi-Fi version sells for just $139.  A year ago, Amazon was selling the 3G Kindle-a version that allows you to download a book even when you're not connected to a Wi-Fi network-for $299.  This June, Amazon lowered the price of that version from $259 to $189, a few hours after Barnes & Noble announced that it was lowering the price of its 3G e-reader, the Nook, from $259 to $199. The new Wi-Fi Kindle is a direct response to the pricing of Barnes & Noble's Wi-Fi version, which sells for $149. You can think of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as the Crazy Eddie of the e-book business: Every time a rival gets close to the Kindle's prices, Bezos goes even lower.

Obviously, this is good news for anyone looking to buy an e-reader.

Given the latest new low price (and enhanced features), I finally decided to order one.  Soon, the price will be equivalent to buying a handful of hardcover books -- so, even if a person ends up hating the Kindle, they won't be out that much dough.

 

George Victor

They'll still have their dough and no idea of what they are missing otherwise.  Sounds like the consumer society's "born to shop." :)

Unionist

With a little ingenuity and spirit of adventure, you can find in PDF format almost any book that you might want (other than the most obscure). Kindles now read PDFs directly - but you can do even better by using Mobipocket Creator to convert it to .prc format before transferring it via USB to your Kindle.

In short - you can have it all. This is as exciting as it gets.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Unionist wrote:
In short - you can have it all. This is as exciting as it gets.

 

 Yes but are their waterproof e-readers yet?  :D  My favorite place to settle in with a good read is a nice warm bath.  

 

Unionist

I'd say you could read a Kindle in your bath, as long as you don't try to tell it by its cover or throw it out with the bath water.

 

Refuge Refuge's picture

I have such an eclectic collection on books, everything from numerlogy to how to raise chickens to dealing with grief.  I don't know how many times I have had friends over and we go through the books, pick one out and spend time reading / laughing / discussing.  I know, not exactly like going to a night club but fun none the less.  

I wish there was a way to get both the hard copy and the e book for the same price so you could get the benefits of both.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Refuge wrote:
I wish there was a way to get both the hard copy and the e book for the same price so you could get the benefits of both.

Actually, an old acquaintance of mine just wrote an article a few months ago, speculating that hardcovers might come with a free digital download in the same way that new vinyl records do. It's amazing to me how many independent record stores have flourished in a digital age while Sams, HMVs, etc are stuttering. CDs become obsolete and vinyl discs are back with a vengeance. It really is poetic justice.

As any book lover knows, there is more to the pleasure of the text than simply the content. The weight of the tome, the crack of the spine, the texture of the page and the choice of font, formatting and layout. Some of these pleasures translate to digital forms, and some new pleasures emerge from techie devices (like the joy of scrolling with two fingers across the screen) but for some there is no substitute. Why not get both?

Sven Sven's picture

Refuge wrote:

I have such an eclectic collection on books, everything from numerlogy to how to raise chickens to dealing with grief.  I don't know how many times I have had friends over and we go through the books, pick one out and spend time reading / laughing / discussing.  I know, not exactly like going to a night club but fun none the less.  

I wish there was a way to get both the hard copy and the e book for the same price so you could get the benefits of both.

Not being able to share e-books is certainly one drawback.  My brother and I are now reading through a series of ten books about China (he's buying half of them and I'm buying the other half -- and then we're exchanging the books).

But, most books I just read for myself.

In addition, there are many reference books that I'd like to have with me all the time in the compact and portable Kindle format (such as The Thinker's Thesaurus, Garner's Modern American Usage, and Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words).

Of course, many books are just not suitable for the Kindle format, such as a large two-volume set I have on art history (where seeing high-quality visual images is important).

But, over all, it looks like an exciting format for many types of reading and I'm looking forward to trying it.

Sven Sven's picture

 

Catchfire wrote:

As any book lover knows, there is more to the pleasure of the text than simply the content. The weight of the tome, the crack of the spine, the texture of the page and the choice of font, formatting and layout.

That is often true.  That is especially true with vintage books.  If I read a book that was both written and printed in, say, the 1880s, I have, in a certain sense, a tactile connection with the author's time.

George Victor

Speaking of authors, how do they fare in this age of e?  And the little corner bookstore, of course, that invites authors to speak about their take on the world.  Dunno what we'd do without Words Worth Books in Waterloo and its Canadian authors invites over the winter. 

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

The reason why the Kindle's price is dropping fast: the Kobo Reader

And Kobo is more than just a threat to the Kindle: Why Amazon should be afraid

George Victor

Competion among the IT crowd aside, should writers be concerned or sanguine?   And where should the ethical/progressive reader stand?    Back, as the gee-whiz world presents us with so many more opportunities  to....well, make choices? Save?

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

The Kobo vs. the Kindle reminds me of the Apple Newton vs. the Palm PDA. The Newton was there first, and tried to be everything to everyone. The Palm came later and was only 50% as powerful, but it was also 50% less expensive, and did 100% of what 95% of purchasers actually would use it for.

alien

The following is an excerpt from the website of one of my book-loving friends.

Do you think Kindle can match the experience of real books?

"We have loved books through our whole lives, from the first bed-time story to the latest Le Carre. We’ve hoarded and prized and augmented our libraries to the limit of our resources… and a little beyond. We’ve lugged boxes and built brick-and-board shelves and made a gadzillion holes in walls, searching for studs to support the brackets, and lusted after antique glass-fronted oak bookcases – never got any, which is just as well, given the number of times we moved. We’ve browsed Coles and Chapters, dark little basement book-shoppes and windy outdoor markets, overpriced antique-fairs and somnolent church bazaars, dusty thrift-stores and busy yard-sales. We’ve pawed through racks, tables and bins and invariably come home with something wonderful.

Every few years, we’ve had to face the fact that we owned too many books. Then comes the culling. This is a wrenching and time-consuming process. We handle every single volume three or four times, because it’s hard to decide; because, what I’m sure I’ll never re-read one day is tempting the next day; because a ‘discard’ box out of sight for a week starts to resemble a bin at a garage sale, and i catch myself shopping. Of course, you can’t give away anything you received as a gift, loved in childhood or studied at college; that was written by a favourite author, belongs to a set, was hard to find; that introduced you to a genre or opened your eyes to a philosophy. At this moment, my private library includes three dozen paperbacks with pages so dark that I couldn’t read them even if I had the time and inclination, yet cannot bring myself to discard. Eventually, we settle on what simply must go. The most painful part is relegating to the wood-stove books that are too badly torn, stained or water-damaged: i feel like some kind of nazi, burning a book. For several months after a culling, our front porch is full of boxes and we exhort all visitors – including the plumber, stray travellers and Jehova’s Witnesses – to take a book. Sharing books, passing them on to someone else who will read them, always feels good. Eventually, we ferry eight or ten boxes to the library, and feel great. Of course, we go to the annual book-sale and buy a bag or five.

It’s almost as hard to part with books as it is to give away kittens… unless they’re going to a good home."

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

alien wrote:
Every few years, we’ve had to face the fact that we owned too many books.

This has never happened to me, and likely never will. Still, that's a nice paean to the book lover.

alien

Catchfire wrote:

alien wrote:
Every few years, we’ve had to face the fact that we owned too many books.

This has never happened to me, and likely never will. Still, that's a nice paean to the book lover.

My friend has over 7000 books on 35 book-cases in a large house. She doesn't think she can ever move again.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Sven wrote:

 

Of course, many books are just not suitable for the Kindle format, such as a large two-volume set I have on art history (where seeing high-quality visual images is important).

I admit that some of the books I own I did not buy for the artwork inside but for the artwork outside.  Some of the most beautiful "art" pieces I own are the books that have beautiful covers.

Bacchus

alien wrote:

Catchfire wrote:

alien wrote:
Every few years, we’ve had to face the fact that we owned too many books.

This has never happened to me, and likely never will. Still, that's a nice paean to the book lover.

My friend has over 7000 books on 35 book-cases in a large house. She doesn't think she can ever move again.

 

Same problem, same amount.  Can never move and have had to admit a OCD problem with buying books

 

But I do have a Sony PRS700 ebook reader and love it. Use it mainly to read at night so the wife can sleep

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

alien wrote:

Catchfire wrote:

alien wrote:
Every few years, we’ve had to face the fact that we owned too many books.

This has never happened to me, and likely never will. Still, that's a nice paean to the book lover.

My friend has over 7000 books on 35 book-cases in a large house. She doesn't think she can ever move again.

 I don't have that many but at last count was somewhere over 1000.  When I had to move across the country going through my books was the most painful part of packing.  I managed to cut the rest of my stuff in about half which for me was an amazing feat but not the books. I tried but it was just a no go.   I think I managed to cull about 50 or so.  Half my moving boxes were books and I stuffed them in every other available box or piece of furniture that had space for them.   Since then I have replaced the 50 and then some.

I don't think I will move again either.    :) 

bravebeing

I prefer physical books, but would love to be able to have a hand-held device for reading them onscreen. I download a lot of books to read on my laptop - but I've dicscovered recently that due to some rights useage issue, that when in Europe I can't download books that are available in the States and Canada, even if they are in physical book form on sale in shops in Europe. It makes no sense.

No one will convert to this method of buying and reading books unless publishers sort out their issues with electronic publishing on the Internet.

 

 

DaveW

I am leaning toward Kindle, since the various junk applications on iPad don't inteerst me and I just want to read, not communicate; I understand it is specifically made to b e easy on the eyes, a big deal for me who has a heavy reading load at my day job

but i did read in the NY Times that no one mentions what a mess it becomes if you ever lose it ... very hard to get a new machine get access etc again

DaveW

Catchfire wrote:

There is a lot more in the pleasure of the text than just the content: tactile sensations of good crisp paper stock; the sound of turning a page and the crack of a spine; the sound and feel of scribbling notes in the margins and underlining favourite passages (possible, incidentally, with the kindle--it saves pdfs over top of your e-texts, sans sounds and feels); and, finally, there is the visual reminder of what you've read on your bookshelf--how you organize it (author? title? subject?) and the memory that you actually picked up a copy of Plato's Republic at one point (did you finish it? even start it?). I revel in all of this.

 That said, the book is done.

It will start in less than 10 years when university students start buying their textbooks for their kindle. And, once a generation of scholars have been bred to use it and weaned off the cardboard (surely to start with the heartless science students and soulless engineers) they will begin to get their Cosmo zinecasts and Oprah gutentext subscriptions every month. Chapters will close all its brick and mortar megastores and retreta to high street storefronts. Used book stores will profit from an increasingly socially insulated population that wears too-thick eyeglasses and too-courdoroy skirts. Ikea manuals will be delivered in cheap USB keys that make no sense and don't fit in the regualr USB slots. Like their vinyl cousins in the recording industry, high-priced, cloth-bound books will appear in trendy, gentrified hipsterhoods for consumption by a pseudo-elite demographic. 'It's how Conrad was meant to be read, man!' Libraries will burn and no one will care. Soon, monochrome graphics of 'books' will become popular vintage badges sported on handbags, trucker hats and the logos of major media corporations. The novel, such as it was in the heyday of Balzac and Tolstoy, will be read during the time slot in church basements usually reserved for madrigal choirs and bridge night. And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

A nice little essay .... I am going to copywrite (tm) it !!

Sven Sven's picture

DaveW wrote:

I am leaning toward Kindle, since the various junk applications on iPad don't inteerst me and I just want to read, not communicate; I understand it is specifically made to b e easy on the eyes, a big deal for me who has a heavy reading load at my day job

That's what I was thinking as well (i.e., Kindle v iPad).

Well, I received my Kindle in the mail this weekend.  The text is clearer and crisper than I expected.  It's like looking at printed ink on paper.  Text size can be broadly customized to get an idea reading size.  I had initiated downloads of several books (on the Amazon site) prior to my Kindle's arrival and because the Kindle arrived pre-registered to me, the books were immediately downloaded when I turned it on.  It couldn't have been simpler.  Although I've only used the Kindle for a couple of hours, so far I haven't discovered any significant drawbacks and all indications are that it is a fantastic device.

DaveW wrote:

but i did read in the NY Times that no one mentions what a mess it becomes if you ever lose it ... very hard to get a new machine get access etc again

I'd be interested to read that article, if you have a link.  My understanding is that all books downloaded from Amazon are recoverable (Amazon's servers will even save a user's annotations).

 

Sven Sven's picture

In a report in [url=The">http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/10/kindle-allows-reader... Atlantic[/url], it looks like users will soon have a right to share many e-books with another Kindle user.  Although the initial right will be limited, the author notes, "I doubt that this is the final form that lending will take; new features like this are usually amended through a series of expansions and contractions before they settle into a stable set of rules."

So, it will be interesting to see how this lending right evolves over time.

As a side note: In the month or so that I've had a Kindle, I'm amazed by the number of titles that are available for free (and many excellent and comprehensive collections of fiction and non-fiction for only a very small price -- e.g., 200+ works of Dickens for only about four bucks). 

RosaL

I really like the touch screen on the ipad. That and the fact that I can have different book apps on it: kindle, kobo, ibooks, to name some of the main ones. I absolutely agree that there are a lot of junk apps. But I wouldn't call e-mail, web, pdf reading and annotating, calendars and todos, mind-mapping and things of that nature 'junk'. There are a lot of quality, eminently useful apps. And some are simply beautiful. But back to the ebook readers: [url=http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/nookcolor-feature-color-touchscreen/3790... This[/url] looks promising but I doubt it's available in Canada. It even has a 'lend me' feature. 

malignant_tribes

I can see the benefit of both the e-book and the paper copy. I carry several books for College (not including my 2 by 4 feet art portfolio, but that's another story) and I would generally love if they could all come in one flat screen that could save my shoulder. It might also save the text, since I have fallen asleep with a coffee in hand and text book open before.

That being said:

I once was touring the streets of Calgary and stumbled upon an antique book store - which, I believe, is now out of business. In this bookstore I found a published copy of etiquette (dating back to the early 1900's or late 1800's). So, being intriguied, I bought it. Upon opening the book, I found pressed leaves and flowers (for botany, I'd assume). There's no saying if it was a year old or 200 years old, but it was an extremely profound discovery all the same.

Now to think, with e-books, no more random scribbles from the user before me which allows me a small step in their life. No stains on the side of the page, proving that the book was well loved and read often. Or, perhaps, just badly mistreated. E-books take away the magic. And that, is the saddest thing about it too me.

Granted, economical concerns say we should save trees. However, I think there could be other solutions to recover this problem instead of just stopping paper printing.

As a side note, I no longer have that book. Which is truly sad.

The Woolfman

I am an old techno dinosaur and let me tell you I love my kindle. I travel a lot so its light weight and size is a real plus. Im a convert

Refuge Refuge's picture

Well I gone and done it. I got the iPad for business and downloaded all the apps RosaL mentioned.

I don't think I will ever fully give up books but it seems I can filter which ones to buy - I have downloaded a few books that I am reading that are interesting but not enough to take up space on my book shelf but am buying the hard copy of one. Total saved by downloading books approx $100, total extra to buy the Hardcopy - $30. So I have saved $70.

And no, the books I have downloaded I haven't been able to find at my local library.

I even have been able to go fully digital with a family planner, buying the e book and downloading templates from their website to help me organize.

The text is great and so is the covience, I now carry with me several books for if I have down time out of the house.

What do yo think of yours Sven, almost 5 months in?

Fotheringay-Phipps

Hi, all. Just so's you know, I too am a fan of paper and ink. Yes, there's nothing better than sitting with a snifter of Armagnac at one's elbow, a volume of witty apercus in one's hand, warming one's feet on the houseboy's belly and smiling indulgently at the wolfhound sprawled by the hearth gnawing the bones of the vagrant he treed in the deer-park last month.

However, I am now thinking of buying an e-reader. I would use it mainly for reading free digital texts, largely in PDF format. I used to have to sign contracts in AB negative at university libraries and put on white cotton gloves to examine some of the texts that are now free online. Case in point: Joseph Lister's "Granby", the pre-eminent novel of the "Silver Fork School" of the 1820's. The only alternative to pleading with librarians was to buy a copy from Abebooks at damn near the cost of a Kindle. I'll probably investigate borrowing library books in Epub format too. I have to spend a couple of days a week sitting in hospital for 4-5 hours, and a slim e-reader is starting to look more appealing than my goiterous book bag.

So, Babblers, any recommendations? I understand the Kindle doesn't play nicely with PDF or EPUB. The Kobo is a decent price, but some reviewers have mentioned that it's fairly limited in its ability to read PDF files. That leaves the Sony 650C, which seems to support most formats, but is hellishly expensive. Anyone have any experience of these machines, particularly with PDF and EPUB documents? I'd be grateful for any help.

Fidel

Buy a laptop and download [url=http://www.blio.com]blio[/url] for free. XPS printer driver can port epub and pdf to xps. You won't need a dedicated e-reader.

Fotheringay-Phipps

Hi, Fidel

Thanks for the heads-up on Blio. I checked out several sites and it looks like Blio's the stuff all right. Plus it's Ray Kurzweil behind it. The man is a volcano of clever ideas, the guy Steve Jobs wishes he could smell like. Anyway, I'm thinking I should maybe save up a bit longer and buy a laptop. My only concern would be screen glare --but man, that Blio looks good. I've already downloaded it to my Univac-era PC and will start reading some old files on it tomorrow.

Many thanks.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Fidel wrote:

Buy a laptop and download [url=http://www.blio.com]blio[/url] for free. XPS printer driver can port epub and pdf to xps. You won't need a dedicated e-reader.

Yeah but it only supports Microsoft Windows.   Windows is something I remove from computers under my control.

As for the other smaller mobile computing devices I haven't yet found any compelling reason to move off my Linux powered netbook.

Fidel

I've never been a real fan of Windows either. Anything I've ever written for Windows tended to take me considerably longer than for other operating systems.

Maybe blio for Linux in future?

radiorahim wrote:
Yeah but it only supports Microsoft Windows.

 [url=http://dailyator.com/ray-kurzweil’s-blio-e-book-launch-met-with-confus... Kurzweil’s Blio E-Book Launch Met With Confusion, Controversy[/url]

"Blio for Android and Mac OS X are reportedly “in the works,” and an iOS application is being beta-tested."

Blio for Android could end up being vaporware. But if not, then it should be possible to synch notebook with iphone or android mobile. Read ebooks on notebook, tablet, or cell phone.

al-Qa'bong

I look around at my family and still can't tell their eyepods from their shell phones ( to their daily amusement), so I figger I'll be sticking with the ol' paper books.

Quote:

Hi, all. Just so's you know, I too am a fan of paper and ink. Yes, there's nothing better than sitting with a snifter of Armagnac at one's elbow, a volume of witty apercus in one's hand, warming one's feet on the houseboy's belly and smiling indulgently at the wolfhound sprawled by the hearth gnawing the bones of the vagrant he treed in the deer-park last month.

 

I say, F-P, you really must post more often. I'm still giggling over this.

Fidel

I wouldn't bother with a cell phone, Al. You'll sprain your thumbs texting the lil buggas. Keyboards should be obsolete in so many years. By then you should be able to speak into your cell phone and text the kids that way. Er? Yeah!

Sven Sven's picture

Not only do online book sellers threaten independent book stores, it looks like Amazon.com (and, very likely, the Kindle) has helped to fell the second-largest brick-n-mortar book store in the USA (Borders is headed towards liquidation).

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