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Amazon Expands Kindle To the PC

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the begun-this-price-war-has dept.

Books 149

An anonymous reader writes "Windows users will be able to use a new Kindle Books application to purchase, download and read e-book titles from Amazon's Kindle Store service. The PC application will be offered as a free download and will support Windows 7, Vista and XP systems. The news comes as Amazon is suddenly finding itself with a fresh crop of competitors in the e-book reader market. Earlier this week hardware vendor Spring Design entered the market with its Alex device, while publisher/retailer Barnes and Noble presented an even more serious challenge to Kindle when it unveiled its Nook reader device." Worth noting, if you're in the market for any such device: the base Kindle's price is now down to $259.

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There's an App for that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29865979)

Or just download it for free to your iPhone / iPod Touch and put your $200+ towards the cost of that device.

An App for That, but No Answer for This (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29866077)

i don't know if it's the nappy hair or the large flat noses or what, but does anyone else think that most black women they have ever seen are pretty damned ugly? there's a few exceptions but not many. black men must agree or else they wouldn't consider white women such trophies. hell they don't even seem to mind FAT white women as long as they're white and that's gotta tell ya something! Then there's the way that most black women have attitudes that make you wonder if they all grew up in boot camp or in a Catholic school, very tense, edgy, controlling, and bitchy. Seriously it's rare to find a sweet one who knows how to relax and doesn't bitch up a storm about absolutely nothing.

and why is it that commercials and media love to show a black man kissing a white woman, but they never show a white man kissing a black woman? is there some kind of unwritten rule about this that nobody wants to talk about?

Re:An App for That, but No Answer for This (-1, Offtopic)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29866191)

Very tense, edgy, controlling, and bitchy. Seriously it's rare to find a sweet one who knows how to relax and doesn't bitch up a storm about absolutely nothing.

You're describing all the women. It's even more bad here with the 18-19 year old girls who always seem to start excepting *all the* people treat them like queens, while they act like bitches. A few years later they realize that and go back (hopefully), but still.

I always wonder where you can find the girls who actually are sweet. I had one, but she went the same route.

Re:An App for That, but No Answer for This (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29866485)

You never had anything cocksucker I dumped your tiny cock for a reason You arent man enough for me

Re:An App for That, but No Answer for This (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29866629)

Very tense, edgy, controlling, and bitchy. Seriously it's rare to find a sweet one who knows how to relax and doesn't bitch up a storm about absolutely nothing.

You're describing all the women. It's even more bad here with the 18-19 year old girls who always seem to start excepting *all the* people treat them like queens, while they act like bitches. A few years later they realize that and go back (hopefully), but still.

I always wonder where you can find the girls who actually are sweet. I had one, but she went the same route.

The problem is a lot of men are suckers and for some reason are willing to put up with that shit. The same concept that applies to corporations and politics applies here as well: if you reward something, you are likely to get more of it. The day that the bitches become the loneliest women in the world is the day that this will change.

Re:An App for That, but No Answer for This (-1, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867283)

It's such a shame that you hate yo' mama so badly. Have you ever tried to just sit and talk about it with her? You know, mamas are mamas. She'll be happy to forgive you arrogant, condescending attitude, if you just give her the chance. Bitchy? Stop being an ass, she'll probably stop being bitchy.

Current /. Poll (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | about 5 years ago | (#29865983)

I find this post interesting considering the current slashdot poll is about linear footage of shelved books in your home.

http://slashdot.org/pollBooth.pl?qid=1871&aid=-1 [slashdot.org]

And another article discussing the loss of available "internet"

http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/09/10/24/2347248/What-If-They-Turned-Off-the-Internet?art_pos=11 [slashdot.org]

Re:Current /. Poll (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867321)

You mean there is a LEGITIMATE way to get books? Interesting. I never got past torrents, newsgroups, and other means of P2P. Hell, I didn't realize they actually SOLD ebooks! I might try it, some day, maybe. If the P2P networks ever run out of books, I KNOW I will!

Re:Current /. Poll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29868017)

STFU, scumbag.

I'll take the B&N Android reader instead (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 5 years ago | (#29866007)

Don't care for the DRM. I could really use a book reader though, and the Android version once liberated may have interesting other applications.

Re:I'll take the B&N Android reader instead (3, Informative)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 5 years ago | (#29866479)

I totally agree. I don't know what the love affair with amazon is (well, maybe advertising revenue) but I would suggest that they have shown on several counts that their reader is a BIG risk and that other readers are far better. Triply so if you do not live in the US.

1984 being recalled?
DRM?
Not supporting other ebook types so you can purchase where you want?
Charging a 40% premium in the UK?

Yeah. You can keep your reader amazon, I am just not that stupid. Even Sony is coming to the table with something better and they INVENTED this game. :)

Re:I'll take the B&N Android reader instead (2, Insightful)

fooslacker (961470) | about 5 years ago | (#29867171)

I actually love my Kindle but it's about the device itself. I would much prefer one that was actually open. I am currently waiting to lay hands on a nook to see if it's a viable replacement but from everything I've read so far it is lacking in the actual reading experience and battery departments. My hope is that the Nook and competitors actually force Amazon into a more open position but I may be dreaming.

Re:I'll take the B&N Android reader instead (3, Informative)

boilednut (1245008) | more than 4 years ago | (#29868205)

Below are some pros/cons of Nook relative to Kindle.
Note: I am a very pleased Kindle owner, and I make no pretense of being completely unbiased.

Pros
  • Android OS.
  • Color Touch Display.
  • Native support for more eBook formats -- including PDF.
  • LendMe feature.
  • Wi-Fi support.
  • Memory expansion to 16GB with MicroSD card.

Caveats: The LendMe feature will only allow a book to be lent one time only -- for at most two weeks; and, according to some souces (http://reviews.cnet.com/e-book-readers/barnes-noble-nook/4505-3508_7-33786175.html [cnet.com] ), the Wi-Fi connection will only be enabled at the Barnes & Nobles stores.

Cons

  • No Text-to-Speech feature.
  • No web browser.
  • Substantially reduced battery life.

Markup is not the only problem (2, Interesting)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867885)

I just looked at the UK Amazon site.

They list it at £199. According to Google, this is $324.569 and some zeroes. A more realistic comparison is $400 if the exchange rate was actually set at the true relative value of £ and $.

For this, we get a "cut down" version and a much smaller choice of books.

If the application is free (unlikely), I might consider it for my laptop. For now, the Nook sounds interesting but the Sony one is actually here and a lot cheaper than the Kindle. I just have to ask myself "Do I actually want one?" We'll see...

MMmmmm... my head will explode. (4, Insightful)

rinoid (451982) | about 5 years ago | (#29866025)

Now you can use your DRM-laden "books" from Amazon on your Windows computer!

Why do so many fawn over Kindle and other like devices with DRM in text, IN TEXT!@, after spending years railing (often against the wrong targets) against DRM in music?

-- maybe this will mean a more useful crack for said DRM --

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#29866175)

Now you can use your DRM-laden "books" from Amazon on your Windows computer!

Why do so many fawn over Kindle and other like devices with DRM in text, IN TEXT!@, after spending years railing (often against the wrong targets) against DRM in music?

-- maybe this will mean a more useful crack for said DRM --

No shit. To anyone in marketing who might be reading this, I'll fill you in. How to make sure I never, ever buy your product for any reason:

  • Use any sort of DRM scheme.
  • Unilaterally and remotely exercise control over the hardware that I have paid for, such as when the book 1984 was forcibly removed from Kindles after its purchase in order to shift some of the cost of the publisher's mistakes onto the end-users.
  • Use a proprietary or encumbered file format when a widely-supported standard file format is available.
  • Attempt to track/data-mine my activities so you can send me unsolicited advertisements for items I will make it a point to never buy if you somehow manage to successfully send me the unsolicited advertisements.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (3, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | about 5 years ago | (#29866429)

Now if only there was a way to open the eyes of the masses who don't consider any of the above. This goes beyond saying "they don't care" -- it simply never occurs to ask the question, or think about it. at all.

If we can find an effective way to do that, then DRM'd sales will take a hit. Until then... people will buy it out of ignorance.

If I weren't aware of the DRM, and ebook prices were cheaper than paperback equivs, I'd buy a kindle - it's an impressive-looking device that -- by all reports -- works well at what it's designed for. For most people, that's all that matters.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (3, Insightful)

Amarok.Org (514102) | about 5 years ago | (#29866521)

There's another option entirely - we know the limitations and are OK with it.

I own a Kindle, and was well aware of the DRM restrictions before I bought it. Sure, there are lots of people who have plenty of perfectly legitimate gripes about the DRM, and it *will* restrict them from doing things that they want to do. So they don't purchase it... fine. No problem.

I like the Kindle, and the DRM doesn't prevent me from doing anything I want to do. I wanted an easy way to buy and carry books with me when I travel, and the Kindle does that for me. I don't tend to re-read books when I'm done with them, so if the Kindle service suddenly died, I wouldn't be too broken up about it. Sure there was the initial investment in the reader - but at least for me, the cost was reasonably trivial. I mean, I spend more on bar tabs in a month than I did on the Kindle. The fact that the books I purchase and read are a bit cheaper in electronic version, I've probably saved 25% of the cost of the reader in the few months I've owned it. After a year, it's a break even proposition if you're only looking at the total costs. But for that initial investment, I got the convenience of the reader and the opportunity to read a whole lot more than I would have otherwise. Win-win, in my book.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#29866805)

There's another option entirely - we know the limitations and are OK with it.

I own a Kindle, and was well aware of the DRM restrictions before I bought it. Sure, there are lots of people who have plenty of perfectly legitimate gripes about the DRM, and it *will* restrict them from doing things that they want to do. So they don't purchase it... fine. No problem.

I like the Kindle, and the DRM doesn't prevent me from doing anything I want to do. I wanted an easy way to buy and carry books with me when I travel, and the Kindle does that for me. I don't tend to re-read books when I'm done with them, so if the Kindle service suddenly died, I wouldn't be too broken up about it. Sure there was the initial investment in the reader - but at least for me, the cost was reasonably trivial. I mean, I spend more on bar tabs in a month than I did on the Kindle. The fact that the books I purchase and read are a bit cheaper in electronic version, I've probably saved 25% of the cost of the reader in the few months I've owned it. After a year, it's a break even proposition if you're only looking at the total costs. But for that initial investment, I got the convenience of the reader and the opportunity to read a whole lot more than I would have otherwise. Win-win, in my book.

I just want DRM to die. It's a failed concept, and like all failed concepts it deserves to die. It's also a particularly asinine one, based on the automatic assumption that the person who is buying from you wants to infringe your copyrights even though that person has given no such indication. Only sociopathic assholes celebrate the idea of "guilty until proven innocent," and that's even if their customers are willing to put up with it.

I don't want my dollars to support a DRM scheme even if that DRM scheme is perfect in every way and never interferes with anything I could ever want to do with the device. There are both abstract and pragmatic reasons for that. I thought I'd focus on the pragmatic reasons since most people seem unable to care about much else. In a way, the reasoning here is similar to why you don't give broad, sweeping, unnecessary powers to a government and then complain when they are abused. The mild/agreeable DRM schemes are like the nicer politicians who probably won't abuse the power. There is no guarantee that their successors will be so benevolent.

So yes, Amazon might be using an agreeable DRM scheme right now. They do, after all, want to establish marketshare and get this to catch on, and right now Kindles are far from ubiquitous. It's in their interests to play nice right now. They have enough business sense to understand that pissing off their (relatively) early adopters will doom this product. However, they have not signed any written agreements stating that they will perpetually be this way into the future. In fact, it's a safe assumption that they reserve the right to change their system or its software at any time, and probably without notice (this is standard fare for commercial EULAs). Strictly in terms of business decisions, the bigger and more widespread the Kindle becomes, the more tempting it will be for them to add restrictions. This is not in my interests.

Additionally, this company has already demonstrated with the 1984 deal that they have no qualms about allowing a publisher's mistake to become the customer's problem. I'm a philosopher, so I did not actually need to see a demonstration; just that they had the technical and legal ability to do this was enough for me, for that guarantees it was only a matter of time. In other words, you don't carefully design technical (remote control) and legal (EULAs/agreements) powers like that for the hell of it. You do it because you intend to use them. This is not in my interests either.

I'll say this much about my abstract reasons: my freedom and autonomy are extremely precious to me. They are certainly more precious to me than saving a few bucks. I won't trade them for easy access to e-books. In fact, I wouldn't surrender them even if Amazon paid me to use the Kindle. If other people think convenience is the only worthy concern, well, best of luck to them, but personally I don't like the kind of world that sentiment would create if it were given its full expression. Never really owning or controlling anything that you worked to pay for is only the beginning really.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | about 5 years ago | (#29866883)

Thats a valid view, but voting with your wallet has one big flaw that I see. I don't think the failure of the Kindle would have told publishers that DRM for e-books is a loser -- it would have told them that e-books are losers. And like the poster you're responding to, I find e-books very convenient.

Personally, I'm hoping that competition and publisher discomfort with a dominant distributor will eventually bring an end to DRM here, just as it did for digital music.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#29867045)

Thats a valid view, but voting with your wallet has one big flaw that I see. I don't think the failure of the Kindle would have told publishers that DRM for e-books is a loser -- it would have told them that e-books are losers. And like the poster you're responding to, I find e-books very convenient.

If they did a little market research they would learn the reason for any wallet-voting, though I acknowledge that for political reasons there may be little incentive for them to do so. For that reason, perhaps it should be accompanied by some kind of form letter advising them of why the product was not purchased.

I agree that e-books are extremely convenient. I just don't want that convenience to be the bait at the end of a hook to cause the acceptance of something that is profoundly anti-customer and really needs to go the way of the dinosaur.

Personally, I'm hoping that competition and publisher discomfort with a dominant distributor will eventually bring an end to DRM here, just as it did for digital music.

Now that's a really good argument. Not only is it abundantly plausible, it might end up being the best way to deal with this issue particularly in the absence of conscientious customers. I also wish that the posters in this thread who assume that no DRM will destroy the e-book industry would take a hard look at the music industry as you have done.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (1)

fafaforza (248976) | about 5 years ago | (#29866793)

I don't see what the big deal with DRM is, and why people get so passionate about it. You'll spend $12 to go see a movie in a sticky theater and obnoxious people. You won't get to save a copy of said movie, and you'll be fine with it.

But paying $10 for a book that will likely provide you with hours more entertainment than the movie, with some possibility that in 30 years Amazon won't exist and your books might not be usable, somehow seems like a crime.

What does everyone suggest as a replacement for DRM? Do you honestly believe that people can be trusted on an "honor system" to purchase books honestly when they could download them for free in seconds? If there was a place to download all the latest releases, nicely formatted, in the correct format and all, I know that I'd probably download them for free more often than pay.

Imagine if you were a writer, trying to make a living at it, as hard as it is already, and you had no control over what you created. It wouldn't sit well with you either.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#29866937)

What does everyone suggest as a replacement for DRM? Do you honestly believe that people can be trusted on an "honor system" to purchase books honestly when they could download them for free in seconds? If there was a place to download all the latest releases, nicely formatted, in the correct format and all, I know that I'd probably download them for free more often than pay.

If DRM actually stopped piracy then you'd have a point. It doesn't. The pirates just see it as a challenge, something they can use to prove their "eliteness" by breaking the DRM scheme. The result is that paying customers bear any inconvenience caused by DRM while people who pirate do not. This has proven to be the case with music, movies, and video games. There is absolutely no reason to think e-books will be different (if anything they are easier to pirate as they are smaller than movies and games). The consistent, predictable creation of situations where the pirate has a better, more usable, less restricted product than the paying customer should tell you something about the effectiveness of DRM.

Imagine if you were a writer, trying to make a living at it, as hard as it is already, and you had no control over what you created. It wouldn't sit well with you either.

While I appreciate the emotional appeal, the assumption of what I would do in a hypothetical situation, and the assumption that all writers unanimously feel the same way about this topic, this isn't valid reasoning.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (3, Interesting)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#29867057)

I do want to add one more thing about DRM. Beware politician's logic, which goes "we must do something. This is something, so it must be done!"

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29867165)

DRM isn't there to stop piracy completely. It's there to make it much-too-work for the ordinary user, so they would rather buy the real product than waste time to try to get it to work.

Slashdot is full of technically-capable people so it's not surprise DRM stuff always comes up here, but in the "real world" nobody really cares that much about the underlying technology or philosophy. It still works like they would except it to.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867223)

DRM isn't there to stop piracy completely. It's there to make it much-too-work for the ordinary user, so they would rather buy the real product than waste time to try to get it to work.

Slashdot is full of technically-capable people so it's not surprise DRM stuff always comes up here, but in the "real world" nobody really cares that much about the underlying technology or philosophy. It still works like they would except it to.

I don't believe you have thought this through, so I'll explain why that doesn't work.

The "too much work" only needs to be done once, by the pirates. They have plenty of motivation to do this, not the least of which is that their status in that community is based on what they can crack and how quickly they can crack it. Then infinite perfect copies of the cracked/DRM-free item can easily be distributed worldwide. The ordinary user needs no more work or expertise than what is necessary to run a BitTorrent client, or failing that, all they need to do is ask for a copy from a friend who does know how to run a BitTorrent client.

Some of the reasons given for DRM look good on paper. However, none of the reasons given for DRM stand up to examination under commonly observed real-world conditions.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867617)

I know that, but for ordinary men/women it still means knowing a lot about it, going to some "shady" websites and doing some tricks to get it to work (and realizing it's illegal). That would be different if every person could just copy and share things like they normally do, without any tricks.

Technically-capable and most of young people of course know the ways around things and probably dont even care that it's not exactly legal. But DRM stops the other people from doing such.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (1)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867751)

If you ask me, DRM isn't even there to prevent the torrent style book piracy. Its to prevent the rampant sharing amongst friends. Makes the argument quite different in the end. You may bring forward the idea that you would lend the book to a friend in the first place. But if you could just copy it over, your book recommendation that may lead to a few sales would instead turn into a whole group of people sharing off of one purchase.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29867925)

If law enforcement actually stopped crime...

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 5 years ago | (#29867073)

You'll spend $12 to go see a movie in a sticky theater and obnoxious people. You won't get to save a copy of said movie, and you'll be fine with it. But paying $10 for a book that will likely provide you with hours more entertainment than the movie, with some possibility that in 30 years Amazon won't exist and your books might not be usable, somehow seems like a crime.

That's because you go to the movie paying to see it one time on the big screen with the awesome sound system AND you pay to see it when it's brand new. That's why after it's been out for awhile it goes to the cheap theaters that don't charge as much - because it's not new anymore.

When you buy a book / movie / game, as long as you take care of it, it should last forever. If a company has the ability to revoke your ability to use the product you purchased at any time (whether through bankruptcy or because they decide to no longer support it), then you do not own it and are merely renting it......and as anyone with even the smallest amount of financial intelligence can tell you, renting is throwing your money down the drain (yes, sometimes it's a necessary evil to rent an apartment until you can afford a house). I buy things that are made to last, which is why I do no buy anything that can be taken away from me randomly and for no reason.

I would LOVE to buy an e-book reader, but there's a few things holding me back:1) DRM 2) the fact that the e-book costs more than the paperback 3) that there's no way for me to pay a small fee and input the ISBN number from books I already own to get e-book version of them - if I want to read them on the reader, I'd have to buy them new at the inflated price of the e-book 4) I want to read news papers on it (particularly the WSJ), but so far Amazon is the only one I know of who offers this AND it does not include charts / graphs with the newspaper (which is rather essential to certain parts of the WSJ).

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (2, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867413)

"You'll spend $12 to go see a movie in a sticky theater and obnoxious people. "

I don't.
I haven't been to a movie in a theater since the 1980s and don't miss sharing space with a waterfall of loud, annoying retards. That shit is why home entertainment systems were invented.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867435)

First, I think the anti-DRM people probably go to the cinema less often than "normals".

Also, DRM seems more unfair on a gut level. Why can't you take the cinema home with you? Well, it's a huge screen. Duh. Why does the book go away after a while? Because it's rigged to die.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29866901)

The Divx situation showed people do care about DRM.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29867419)

Use any sort of DRM scheme. What operating system do you use that doesn't have passwords and related restrictions?

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29866215)

Part of it is that there is a rather wide demographic (meaning that it probably isn't the same people doing it).

Another part of it is that many sane people are not offended by hardware the supports DRM, even though they never purchase media encumbered by said DRM.

Re:MMmmmm... my head will explode. (3, Interesting)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | about 5 years ago | (#29866825)

As someone who never bought a DRM-laden piece of music, but buys plenty of stuff for my Kindle (but was never one to rant much about it), the reason is simply one of practicality.

I'm in grad school, have a small room, move a lot, and tend to fulfill some of those 'digital nomad' stereotypes, so the benefits of e-books are pretty strong for me -- however, there is no way to purchase DRM-free e-books without extremely limiting my choices. I figure that by purchasing and using the device, as its useful for me and I feel informed what the DRM implies, I can help to show that there is a market, and that more competition will force more openness, as it did in the music industry.

Music had two critical differences to me. One was that I could purchase a CD and rip it with little effort (I still prefer to purchase music by album, so single-serve songs meant little to me) -- this made it easy to get most of the benefits without the DRM (plus ripping to FLAC). The second is repeatability and cost/length: buying a new copy of an album every year just to relisten to is absurd, while if I were to decide to reread a book 5 years from now, it doesn't seem as ridiculous to rebuy it, thus making the DRM-associated risk less.

That said, first DRM-free e-book store that appears with a comparable selection, I'll jump to immediately, just as I started using the Amazon MP3 store as soon as it appeared.

Shame about the kindle (1, Interesting)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 5 years ago | (#29866027)

Worth noting, if you're in the market for any such device: the base Kindle's price is now down to $259.

If it had internet access like it apparently does in the states, I'd seriously consider it. As it is, a netbook will ultimately be the better investment.

Re:Shame about the kindle (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29866125)

Or Courier [gizmodo.com] . By the look of it, it could be great, and it's not just for ebook reading but more general tablet pc.

Re:Shame about the kindle (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 years ago | (#29866373)

There is an international version with 3g connectivity:
http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Reading-Display-International-Generation/dp/B0015T963C [amazon.com]

But believe me, I owned a kindle 2 roughly six months ago - there is no overlap with a netbook yet. Other than wikipedia (where the 6" screen sucked worse than an iPhone, now, I can't speak for the DX with a 9.7" screen size), you don't want to begin to browse with this, it is painful, even on wifi. The browser is primitive and nearly useless.

It can purchase and read books. That is it for the core competencies. I'm not saying this is bad, it's great if that is what you need it for. But don't buy it for the browser.

Re:Shame about the kindle (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#29866513)

As it is, a netbook will ultimately be the better investment.

Not sure if that is true. A Kindle will continue to read books for quite a while, while a netbook will go obsolete pretty quickly whenever Intel/AMD come out with a CPU that is more power efficient and a lot faster. Sure, when they make color E-ink screens the appeal of a last-gen Kindle will go away, but chances are you can continue to read new books on it, while netbook remixes of different OSes will eventually be so slow as to be unusable on your hardware and security risks prevent you from using older versions.

Re:Shame about the kindle (1)

fafaforza (248976) | about 5 years ago | (#29866829)

So which netbook fits in the back pocket of a pair of jeans, weights nothing, and lasts for weeks between charges?

Cross platform? (3, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 5 years ago | (#29866041)

Would it have killed them to use a cross platform library and provide support for OS X and Linux as well? It's not like this is a legacy app or anything.

Re:Cross platform? (1)

longhunt (1641141) | about 5 years ago | (#29866359)

I bet they have had something like this in-house since the beginning. They probably just cleaned up the interface so they could offer it to the public. Hopefully we can use Wine, or something.

Re:Cross platform? (1)

RanCossack (1138431) | about 5 years ago | (#29866503)

I bet they have had something like this in-house since the beginning. They probably just cleaned up the interface so they could offer it to the public. Hopefully we can use Wine, or something.

I had the same thought -- but it does seem a bit ludicrous, doesn't it? I mean, we *know* they have a Linux program that can read the kindle format, and have since the beginning... because they shipped it on the Kindle.

Re:Cross platform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29866467)

Unfortunately Linux is going to be increasingly marginalized going forward as more and more protected content is only available for the Windows platform.

Netflix streaming movies, Kindle e-books, etc. There may be ups and downs along the way, but the final destination is a world where computing is no longer open. Just compare today's world to personal computing 25 years ago to see the trend. In 25 more years, nothing that's not a "trusted platform" will be marginalized into near uselessness.

It'll happen because (almost) no one cares.

Re:Cross platform? (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29866519)

It also happens because of Open Source/Linux/GPL community. Just see the comments on slashdot [slashdot.org] when Spotify decided to be nice for the Linux guys and released a closed-source library for them to use develop their own Linux clients. But since it was closed source (for various reasons not even dependable of Spotify), everyone just bitched and said how worthless it is and told them to fuck off.

Yeah, thats the way to get more support for Linux.

Re:Thanks for the link (2, Insightful)

Johnny Loves Linux (1147635) | about 5 years ago | (#29866771)

I actually read some of the postings and I didn't see any evidence of "bitching". I did learn of an open source client called despotify [despotify.se] that does support Linux and Mac OS X which I would be much more comfortable with. Now I'm guessing from your tone that you're not much of a Linux user or a Free(dom) software kind of guy so you might not grok why the offering of a free closed source binary is not unlike offering the free services of a prostitute who may or may not have several STDs on the condition of a) No condom allowed b) No permission to comment on the quality of the sex with anyone else. If the prostitute is "good looking enough" or a guy is desperate enough he might think it's worth the risk of having his dick fall off, but as a rule not every guy thinks some possibly good sex vs. the possibility having his dick fall off is a great bargain.

Re:Thanks for the link (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29866845)

The story is almost full of comments about the closed-source nature of the spotify library. I do also use Linux myself, not on my primary desktop, but on servers and time-to-time messing around in Linux desktop too. Based on your nick I suspect you love the philosophy of Linux and GPL, which you guessed right, I dont that much as it's beside my area.

But the point here is that while Linux has less than 0.5% desktop market share, it still the bitchiest one and while *demanding* software, libraries and drivers from companies, goes into huge "fuck off" mode when they provide such as closed source for whatever reason (providing them as open source, free for all to use GPL'd may hurt their business, or it may violate their licenses with other companies).

It's great that even on Slashdot many Linux users see this issue and understand why companies dont support Linux more, but then theres the other growth who have got the whole GPL thing too much into their head without understanding the real issue.

Re:Thanks for the link (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867383)

Because the closed source drivers/programs usually suck and no one can improve on them except for the company that made them and therefore they won't stop sucking usually. If its open source, then if it sucks people can fix it. I believe Linux has about 1% marketshare or so and just because it has low market share doesn't mean the community should accept every contribution.

Re:Thanks for the link (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867395)

The story is almost full of comments about the closed-source nature of the spotify library. I do also use Linux myself, not on my primary desktop, but on servers and time-to-time messing around in Linux desktop too. Based on your nick I suspect you love the philosophy of Linux and GPL, which you guessed right, I dont that much as it's beside my area.

But the point here is that while Linux has less than 0.5% desktop market share, it still the bitchiest one and while *demanding* software, libraries and drivers from companies, goes into huge "fuck off" mode when they provide such as closed source for whatever reason (providing them as open source, free for all to use GPL'd may hurt their business, or it may violate their licenses with other companies).

It's great that even on Slashdot many Linux users see this issue and understand why companies dont support Linux more, but then theres the other growth who have got the whole GPL thing too much into their head without understanding the real issue.

There's another side to this, though.

If I am a company and I know that a portion of my customers strongly value software freedom, and then I release software (at no cost or any cost) that does not support such software freedom, and then I receive a backlash, that's my fault. That would be my own failure to understand the market I intended to reach. It would be like an automaker who only manufactures blue cars and expects that to work well in a market that overwhelmingly wants red cars. If the automaker blamed the market for that, it would be quite arrogant of them.

Now, I might decide that this market is not reachable, and decide that I won't bother producing anything for it. That'd be my prerogative. But if I am to try to reach them at all, I need to do that correctly by giving them what they want the way that they want it. A half-assed effort to do that which backfires is not the community's fault. What would I expect, exactly? For that community to give up ideals and principles which are very dear to it just to use my product? The scenario you mention above was not just a failure, it was a predictable failure.

If we are truly honest, and cut through all the marketing and bullshit, there's only one real reason why every IT-related company would ever use proprietary formats instead of open standards. They are afraid of competing in an open market, with a level playing field, on the basis of who can produce the best implementation of those open standards. As a customer or a potential customer, their fear of doing this doesn't interest me. In fact, if they were forced to do this, the result would be lower prices and better interoperability for everyone. So why, again, should I feel sorry for a company that doesn't want to do things this way and caught a little flak for it?

Really, the loyalty, benefit of doubt, and sympathy that is shown to corporations that would not hesitate to exploit or take advantage of you in any way that they can is staggering (ever heard of vendorlock?). I for one am not buying it.

Re:Cross platform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29866473)

Coming for Mac -- http://www.tuaw.com/2009/10/24/kindle-software-coming-to-mac-os-x/ -- Maybe the Windows version will run on Wine.

Re:Cross platform? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29866745)

Nobody cares about lunix. Lunix market share is a rounding error.

They're working on a Mac OS X version (4, Informative)

donutello (88309) | about 5 years ago | (#29867161)

According to an Amazon spokesperson [fastcompany.com] .

They already *have* an OS X version (1)

namespan (225296) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867279)

Given that the iPhone is OS X, they already have an OS X version, albeit one that targets a somewhat different set of libraries.

Creating a desktop OS X version should pretty much be a matter of a 10% change in a few key UI pieces and swapping out CocoaTouch stuff for plain ol' Cocoa.

Re:Cross platform? (1)

rssrss (686344) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867233)

Yes, the thing they are most worried about is Apple. They don't want an opening to that world.

PDF's? (2)

TDyl (862130) | about 5 years ago | (#29866119)

Why can't PC users just have access to PDF's? We already have a damn good reader/creator (Foxit) that has a much smaller footprint than any Adobe product.

Re:PDF's? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29866219)

Does it use some Adobe product? It's Amazon, not Adobe.

Re:PDF's? (1)

TDyl (862130) | about 5 years ago | (#29866265)

Yes, I am aware of that, but PDF's are cross-platform and wouldn't need extra software (or hardware) to read; they can also be password locked which could enable a form of DRM - as a customer orders a PDF the file is created with a password unlock unique to him/her: I know that may open up just sharing the unlocked PDF online but that would be a problem that most industries face as they offer digital content.

Re:PDF's? (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29866243)

PDF is an awful ebook format (a big problem is that it specifies exact layout, meaning that users who choose to use a large font will have to deal with scrolling each page instead of flipping pages or scrolling a river, and so forth).

Re:PDF's? (2, Insightful)

longhunt (1641141) | about 5 years ago | (#29866293)

At work I get all of my project manuals and specification manuals in .pdf. Its the most miserable format ever for book-length documents. I hate trying to hunt through an 800 page manual one screen at a time to find the one paragraph I need that no one bothered to bookmark.

Re:PDF's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29866435)

is "search" too difficult a concept for you?

Re:PDF's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29866535)

CTRL-F is that hard?

Re:PDF's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29868185)

>CTRL-F is that hard?

Did you notice his UID? He probably never even tried.

Re:PDF's? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867525)

Ignoring the AC sibling posts, I would tend to agree. One of the biggest failures of the typical PDF is that there are no thumbnail views of the pages - you have to render every single page, every time you shift it. So if you happen to view the pages in continuous format you get to render two pages, and if your monitor is big enough to see side by sid eand continuous, it's four. Try and get a thumbnail view in a side pane and you have to sit around while it re-renders the whole book.

I deal with large PDF sets of architectural prints which have a bazillion vectors and take forever to render, even on decent machines. A conversion from vector to 400dpi 1bit and back to pdf can cut the file size by 50% or more. Talk about painful.

That said, it's not too bad if you've got a good way to search, bookmark, and comment. I'd like it if you could render as fast as you could flip through a normal book.

Re:PDF's? (1)

TDyl (862130) | about 5 years ago | (#29866713)

Um, how hard is it to set your zoom level and use a wheel-mouse or similar to move from top to bottom of a page and from page to page? Those with sight related-problems already have screen readers and other forms of software of that ilk. Disclaimer: I have both eyes that still work, I appreciate the PDF format and the thought of paying hundreds for an e-book reader is an anathema to me - I'd much rather have the books themselves, but if Captain Beatty is going to burn all my books then I guess I will have no choice.

Re:PDF's? (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29866871)

It isn't hard at all. But it is easier and smoother and nicer to use an actual ebook format that reflows nicely (try reading the same material in a decently formatted pdf and in a decently formatted MS Reader book and you will understand what I am talking about).

Re:PDF's? (1)

TDyl (862130) | about 5 years ago | (#29866927)

I shall have to try if I can find someone to lend me an e-book reader before I would even consider buying one.

Re:PDF's? (1)

maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#29866939)

You can download MS Reader (for Windows) for free. I'm not talking about the comparison just on physical devices, I'm talking about on a computer screen.

Re:PDF's? (1)

fafaforza (248976) | about 5 years ago | (#29866837)

There's already a secure PDF format which publishers could use. Why you'd want to read a book on an LCD or CRT I have no idea, though.

Re:PDF's? (1)

TDyl (862130) | about 5 years ago | (#29866915)

It was to do with the subject of TFA whereby amazon will be making their products available to PC-using readers.

Re:PDF's? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29867471)

There's already a secure PDF format which publishers could use. Why you'd want to read a book on an LCD or CRT I have no idea, though.

Real question: what's so terrible about a good LCD screen? I frequently hear people complain about the idea of reading books on an LCD screen, yet I have done this myself and didn't think it was bad at all.

The CRTs I think I can understand. I'm one of those people who can detect the flicker even at reasonably high refresh rates, so they will eventually tire my eyes if I don't make it a point to look away from the screen from time to time. Even at the very best refresh rates, the scanned CRT is not regarded by the eyes as a solid image like a wall or a sheet of paper and they have to do a little extra work to give the illusion of a steady image.

I believe LCDs don't have this problem because they can independently and simultaneously control each pixel, and lighting one pixel doesn't cause the previous one to stop being lit so there is no concept of continuously scanning lines. However, I make no claims of having any expertise in this area, so please correct me if I am wrong about that.

Re:PDF's? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29868071)

I dont really have a problem reading from LCD screen, I kind of prefer it to normal paper actually. I think the parent meant sitting on a computer and reading from that, which isn't really as comfortable as laying in a bed or sofa. Yeah I do sit on computer pretty much all the day anyway, but it's not nice to concentrate on a book that way. Laptop either doesn't have the same comfort, even if you can take it with you to bed.

Personally I'm waiting for Courier Tablet [gizmodo.com] , which seems just perfect for reading ebooks in bed (with the added ability to do other computer stuff too)

Will it disable the (3, Interesting)

future assassin (639396) | about 5 years ago | (#29866143)

print screen button or copy and paste?

And the race begins (4, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | about 5 years ago | (#29866227)

Major geek cred for the first person to write a script that automatically pages through the book and takes a screenshot of each page, crops out the non-text, and runs OCR on it. No reason to even bother removing the DRM on this one.

Re:And the race begins (5, Informative)

AeneaTech (1308711) | about 5 years ago | (#29866497)

Ehh, the Kindle's AZW format is a modified Mobipocket format of which the DRM can be removed by easier methods than you describe! I even have bought Kindle ebooks without owning a Kindle and read them on my iLiad with the DRM removed ofcourse :D

Do a google search for: mobipocket decoder

So, the major geek cred must go to the person who wrote that I suppose ;)

Re:And the race begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29866607)

You're mistaken, there're two protection schemes on Mobipocket files and Amazon's precious one (called TOPAZ) hasn't been cracked yet.

And until yesterday those latter files could only be read on Kindles and iPhones. DRM hysteria, won't make our civilization any good. Someone has to crack that crap asap.

do it yourself (1)

idji (984038) | about 5 years ago | (#29866527)

you can even find the required .NET source code on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] if you have MS Office

Why Windows XP? (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29866231)

As a MacOS and Linux user, I feel really left out put off by this move, why support only Vista and XP...?

Re:Why Windows XP? (1)

hey (83763) | about 5 years ago | (#29866281)

Could it be market share?

Re:Why Windows XP? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29866357)

Windows Vista has only 20% market share. Windows XP is an old and obsoleted OS no longer supported by its manufacturer.

And other OSes have significant market share as well..

Re:Why Windows XP? (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29866461)

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8 [hitslink.com]

  Windows 92.77%
    Mac 5.12%
    Linux 0.95%

And you dont really need to count XP, Vista and Win7 as different versions, WinAPI is pretty much the same in all (if you dont count the extra features in Vista/Win7 ones, but you dont need to use those)

Re:Why Windows XP? (2, Informative)

n0dna (939092) | about 5 years ago | (#29866483)

Extended Support period until April 8, 2014.[2]
Only critical security updates will be provided unpaid. Paid support is still available.
Service Pack 2 supported until July 13, 2010.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_XP [wikipedia.org]

Want to try again?

Re:Why Windows XP? (1, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 5 years ago | (#29866285)

As a MacOS and Linux user, I feel really left out put off by this move, why support only Vista and XP...?

If you're a Mac user then you're supposed to already be using the free Kindle reader on your iPhone/iTouch.

What??? You don't have one of those??? Don't you know that you are supposed to own at least one of every toy that Steve Jobs sells. Just what kind of Mac user are you anyway???

Re:Why Windows XP? (2, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | about 5 years ago | (#29866335)

What??? You don't have one of those??? Don't you know that you are supposed to own at least one of every toy* that Steve Jobs sells. Just what kind of Mac user are you anyway???

* Apple TV excluded.

Re:Why Windows XP? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 5 years ago | (#29866523)

What??? You don't have one of those??? Don't you know that you are supposed to own at least one of every toy* that Steve Jobs sells. Just what kind of Mac user are you anyway???

* Apple TV excluded.

* Apple mice excluded as well.

Re:Why Windows XP? (1)

jisatsusha (755173) | about 5 years ago | (#29867141)

The Kindle iPhone app is still only available in the US, despite being able to buy books internationally now.

Re:Why Windows XP? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 years ago | (#29866547)

I'd guess they figure the Apple crowd overlaps the gadget crowd sufficiently that most potential users have/will buy a Kindle, while the Linux crowd is unlikely to buy [as many] eBooks (but may buy their device since it runs Linux and has hack value.) Whether those are accurate assumptions or not, they seem like the kind of things you might make a decision like this on. Or perhaps the fact that Windows has the vast majority of the market share. One wonders if it will run under Wine...

Linux is a whore... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29868081)

The Kindle runs Linux but does Linux get this app? No. How many Sansa players run Linux, but have only Windows software to manage them? All these corporations want to use Linux, but don't care about Linux.

It's About Time (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 5 years ago | (#29866259)

It's certainly more than past time for this if Amazon is trying to expand their market. Unless the Kindle is total profit (not likely), you want to be selling to as many markets as possible. Besides, for people who read a lot, they'll probably buy a Kindle anyway since it's a lot easier to carry and use for reading than a PC.

Wonder if they'll offer full color? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29866317)

That's one of the downsides on the eBook readers. Also obviously the price. I love ePaper but they'll only get attractive when you can sell them for less than an iPod Touch which does radically more it's just not as comfortable to read. Get the price down to $150 or better yet a $100 and I'd grab a Nook in a heartbeat. It's still enough to make me pause and say no. Getting full color books on my desktop would be very attractive. Now we just need an eBook tablet that you plug in to round it out. Not portable but it has to be possible to sell ePaper screens the size of a paperback that plugs into my computer, hopefully through USB. How about an ePaper screen that tethers to an iPod? There's a lot of duplicated function when things like iPhones and Touch do most of the functions they just have hard to read power hungry screens. Sell a $100 ePaper screen that will work with an iTouch when the screen is in sleep mode and I'm in heaven.

eBook readers (2, Interesting)

SkOink (212592) | about 5 years ago | (#29866369)

Are there any eBook readers that are good with 8.5"x11" PDFs yet? I'd love having something to read scientific papers on, but I don't think a full page of 10-pt font would be very legible when reduced by a factor of two for a Kindle screen.

Re:eBook readers (2, Informative)

BStocknd (762377) | about 5 years ago | (#29866715)

There's the Kindle DX [amazon.com] , which sports native PDF support and a 9.7" screen, but I haven't tried it myself. There are also a number of 3rd party products, including iRex who makes some with larger screens, but they're pretty pricey. The Kindle DX might be worth a shot if you want to spend the $489 to try it out.. might want to double check the return policy first though.

Re:eBook readers (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | about 5 years ago | (#29866909)

AT that point, you could just buy a netbook. I think Amazon finally understands this and is offering a software solution to run on the PC. Perhaps they will eventually get out of the hardware end of this.

Re:eBook readers (1)

BStocknd (762377) | about 5 years ago | (#29867155)

Dude, the whole point of ebook readers is the e-ink.. netbooks don't have those! The e-ink has no backlight and has the same eye strain as a regular book. I couldn't imaging reading a whole book on an LCD screen.

MIsleading (1, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29866423)

It's not for the PC. It's for Windows only. I don't see any other OSes there.

Also, I already have a better "Kindle" on my PC. It's called a "PDF reader". ^^

Re:MIsleading (1)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29866487)

Windows is 94+% of PC desktop marketshare. Do you complain when games are "PC games" but only support Windows too?

Re:MIsleading (2, Interesting)

AeneaTech (1308711) | about 5 years ago | (#29866565)

To be quite honest, I find it weird that people use 'PC' as a synonym for 'PC running Windows', why not just say 'Windows'? as in: Windows games, Kindle on Windows, Windows only, etc.

Re:MIsleading (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#29868241)

A personal computer (PC) is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end user, with no intervening computer operator.

As someone who got their first computer in the 80s and saw the home computer market bloom into a personal computer market, it is odd that some people choose to define PC as being a Microsoft based device. When if you take the literal definition of personal computer, it would include Macs and possibly Linux only systems as well.

Kindle is slavery (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29866555)

Don't burn the books, burn the Kindle.

Fuck Amazon and fuck Kindle for setting back the distribution of knowledge 3000 years.

You hear me, Jeff Bezos? You're nothing but a greedy, grasping, self-aggrandizing cocksucker.

Light your Kindle on fire and cram it up your ass.

Signed,
    Johannes Gutenberg

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