A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Waiting for the Sony Book Reader? Forget About It! Amazon Launches Kindle

Remember that Sony Book Reader that was supposed to be all the rage and never actually appeared in the Canadian market?

Well, forget about it.

Amazon launched Kindle, a wireless, portable reading device with access to 90,000 titles.

Hmmm, is this how publishers’ Search Inside the Book files are now being used? I bet it is.

Kindle looks ugly but sounds lovely.

* wireless, no internet needed, it uses cell phone networks
* no monthly plan, no software to install, nothing but go
* electronic paper
* can receive emails from you of Word documents and pictures for “easy on-the-go viewing”
* 10 ounces

What’s wrong with it?

* Did I mention ugly?
* How about that it only holds 200 titles and is $400 USD.
* 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 4-level gray scale. GRAY! Can we have some colour please. Why is that so hard?

Scroll to the bottom of the page to watch the Kindle Drop Test. It’s rather soothing, slow-mo.

John Gruber of Daring Fireball is mentioned by Paschal in the comments of this post. It’s a good post on why Kindle will/should fail. Here are a couple of quotes that resonate with me.

What it comes down to is that when you purchase books in Kindle’s e-book format, they’re wrapped in DRM and are in a format that no other software can read. There are no provisions for sharing books even with other Kindle owners, let alone with everyone.


So the Kindle proposition is this: You pay for downloadable books that can’t be printed, can’t be shared, and can’t be displayed on any device other than Amazon’s own $400 reader — and whether they’re readable at all in the future is solely at Amazon’s discretion. That’s no way to build a library.

Totally agree.


FUGLY! I’m skeptical about its ability to reflect light like real paper - I haven’t seen this electronic paper in action before.

I like the idea of downloadable magazine/newspaper content, but I don’t think they take it far enough - why not offer the ENTIRE mag/paper (I’m sure they skip some sections) and yes, colour and images are definitely important.

It’s a very cool little gadget, but really, we’ve had a few other ebook readers already which haven’t worked all that well. I think they could have done a LOT more with this.

Yes, I totally agree. I wonder about this digital ink. There must be some reason that they haven’t done colour yet, but what is it?

I wouldn’t be adverse to trying out this new gadget but 200 books only ... and what’s the font and layout of these titles.

It’s cool but is it half-baked?

John Gruber at Daring Fireball had some things to say about the Kindle and Amazon’s approach to DRM. Personally, i think the vision and the design is more suited to the academic market. This thing should have textbook publishers thinking twice. Trade publishers should not be that threatened. Their product, if good, accrues value over time. Most academic texts do not


Was just talking with someone who pointed out that colour’s probably expensive to produce right now. As with any technology, the costs/price will likely drop soon so maybe they will offer colour at some point.

So I can see that they’re trying to get into the market as quickly as possible, but yeah, the idea’s a little underdone. Beware the salmonella!

I thought you might like to read Chip Kidd’s take on the Kindle and how it will affect book design… smile


Yet another reason why iPhone will win and Kindle will die.

“Students don’t have to review the whole lecture,” he said. “They can type in key words on their computer, do a Google-like search, and open the lecture at that point.”
What Did the Professor Say? Check Your iPod from New York Times

(Source: Bruce Agiopublishing.com)

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