Trying to Make Sense out of the "Kindle"-ing

I’d have had to completely abandon my computer for 48 hours to miss the chaotic conversations swarming around Kindle. What incredible w-o-m advertising!

While there was incredible hype leading up to the release of the I-phone and queuing up to obtain the phones–this seems to have exploded onto the shelves out of nowhere. Last week I’d never heard of a Kindle and couldn’t care less– today I’m wading in stories about it up to my cats-eye glasses.

Brief side note: Thank heavens for the Search function in Google Reader. I was trying to remember which all of the bloggers I read had commented on it and was getting a wee overwhelmed.

I see a lot of pros and cons to this tool and since 26 (what’s in my blog list) just can’t possibly be enough– here is my opinion (supplemented with many other people’s opinions).

Pros
1) Large print usage. I see a lot of potential if the print is big enough and many more titles (especially best sellers) being available to older readers. With the aging of our eyes, what a great advantage to have.

2) Smaller than packing Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon for all of those wonderful spontaneous vacations where I can only pack one bag (and that bag must include evening wear).

3) Useful for a constant traveler– the Brunette worked as a flight steward and now is in a job where he travels a TON. He also doesn’t collect books the way I do. I could see this on his Christmas list.

4) Saves trees!

5) Built in dictionary and wikipedia.

6) I don’t need a computer—as I would with Ebooks. (Unless I want to upload stuff to it—like Audible’s audiobooks)

7) “Library” on Amazon.com in case I buy more than 200 books.

8) Could be very useful for textbooks. I’d much rather carry this to school every day rather than the heavy texts—and it would mean I wouldn’t be looking at someone’s scribbles and highlights.

9) Battery life of up to 30 hours. Lots longer than my laptop!

Cons

1) I have a reasonably healthy fear that I’ll break it. I don’t do things with touch screens (e.g. large Ipod, Iphone) for the plain and simple reason that I’m very hard on my toys. I have a Sansa that I do enjoy using on occasion but I’ve already scratched up the screen. And my cell phone has had to stand trials of being dropped in puddles, being accidentally sent skittering across parking lots (and subway platforms) when it falls out of my pocket, being intentionally sent flying across the room when I get royally irritated and launch it at the bed. Both of those items are compact and have stood up to the test of being chucked under my laptop and three hardcover books in my carry-on bag. Could the Kindle do that?

2) Cost prohibitive. We’re working towards a $100 web-enabled laptop (currently available at $400–where you get one and you send one to a child in a developing company)–explain to me the reasoning behind a $400 reader. Also– $10 per book. I don’t know about you– but I’m a BIG shopper at used book stores. I can get a lot more for $10 bucks than one bestseller.

3) Forced RSS Feeds– what do you mean they get to pick my feeds? Do you think I’m going to survive without my daily dose of Yarn Harlot?

4) I’m a tactile person… I love old books.

5) Needs recharging. My pocket sized copy of Pride and Prejudice never needs to reload.

6) I can’t share with a friend. I’m a healthy consumer of Regency Romances–I get them from used book stores, charge through them and then (currently) toss them in an envelope and send them to the Opera Singer (not to be confused with the Blonde). I was taking them to her about once every two weeks in a small shopping bag but since the move–we’ve had to make some changes. Too—I borrow and loan books to family and friends all the time.

7) Charging to send files you own to your Kindle unless you connect to a computer and issues with copying various formats. Now doesn’t that sound like a sneaky way to charge you more money. What if I send something to you to read–and I send it to your Kindle. Now you’re paying for everything that I send you? I see potential for spam that costs me money.

8) Can you download from a plane? Or would wireless transfer be useless when you’re in air?

10) “No monthly wireless bills, service plans, or commitments” –just the content bill every time you download something.

11) Not available outside the US and currently only works with a US credit cardHmmmm. Taking a cue from Apple, much?

12) Slightly big brotherish in that they hold on to information about everything you’ve read and bookmarked… yeah the circ desk is chuckling because I put every Regency romance in the consortium on hold but at least once I return the books no one is keeping a record of what I’ve read (except me…) What if a government asks for the reading records?

13) It’s just not sexy. Why did they make it white? One does NOT carry white accessories after Labor Day people!!

14) No backlight. Which renders it useless for reading in the car on long night rides, reading in bed, reading it anywhere that there isn’t enough light. Mp3 Player screens light up for a reason…

15) They say that they have their own wireless delivery system. And that covers where exactly? Even cell phones have “out of range.” I should know—I’m currently hanging out on the Verizon Extended Network.

A nice comparison of book vs. Kindle is here.

Eventually, I could see this as a useful tool. I think that in the future, if price comes down, DRM opens up, they make it black, and other improvements are made—this might be very nice. But I don’t see myself getting one for at least a couple of years (long enough to work on the backlog of physical books on my shelves that I need to read).

Interestingly, it does show that we are still reading—or at least the hipsters with money are. And I will get a chance to play with one– my director put in a purchase order.