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Hands-On With The Kindle

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the cheaper-e-ink-plz-k-thnx dept.

Toys 365

Amazon's Kindle e-book may have sold out in record time, but there's still a lot of discussion about the device's merits. Neil Gaiman likes it well enough, but it's sent Robert Scoble into a fit of apoplectic rage. For a real, meaty, hands-on look at the way the device operates in everyday life, Gamers With Jobs writer Julian Murdoch has a slice of life with the Kindle. He takes us through his Thanksgiving holiday weekend with the device, noting the quirks (good and bad) that cropped up with Amazon's new toy. "Short of reading in the tub, the Kindle is easier to read in more places, positions, and situations than a physical book ... But it's far from perfect. It is expensive. The cover, which I find completely necessary, is in desperate need of more secure attachment (Velcro works great). The book selection is less-than-perfect, although I imagine this will improve with every passing day. And Amazon needs marketing help. The Kindle's launch reeked of 'get it out fast.' The big-picture marketing efforts (like video demonstrations and blurbs from authors) were great, but simple things like communicating how freakin' easy it is to get non-Amazon content on to the device, for free, remain horribly misunderstood."

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365 comments

Pricing is the big hurdle (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494847)

I don't understand why people would buy this at ~$400. May as well just go and get a low end tablet pc, which you could use for a multitude of other uses.

I'm not the NYT's typical top-ten reader, so I'm not sure something like this would immediately appeal. The last few books I've read were printed from 10 to 50 years ago, which would place them well beyond this device. Pros and Cons just don't weigh enough in favour and like I said, what does this do that a tablet couldn't do? Maybe when they drop it to ~$50 and I can sync it like my iPod to my favourite content feeds each morning it would hold some promise.

Also, books don't require batteries. I've got several devices around now, which all have some form of rechargeable (and expensive to replace) cells. I worry a bit about the availability of replacement cells several years down the road.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21494899)

rumor has it you also like to jack off... is this true?

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (5, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494913)

Here's what it'll take for me:

+ Reader has to be under $100.
+ Books have to be half the price of print books or lower.
+ No bullshit DRM. I better be able to back the content up, copy it to my ipod, save it on my hard drive. Whatever.
+ I better be able to resell it, just like I can resell a used book. Otherwise, all of this is just a run-around way for the publishing industry to attacked the used book trade, which they hate more than almost anything else on earth (including their loathing of public libraries).

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494959)

"No bullshit DRM."
You're out of luck. It's one of its features.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495167)

Says who? What he's suggesting is a list of features/wants for a hypothetical competitor to the Kindle. There's nothing to stop anyone here from developing one. Make up a prototype, make sure you aren't stepping on any of Amazon's patents, power the thing with free/open source software. Find a way to get it produced, either by pitching it to an OEM or contact or line up some offshore manufacturing muscle in Taiwan or Korea (you may have to do your own manufacturing engineering or hire one), and then find a distributor to sell your wares or hawk it yourself via the Web. Better yet, once you get 'em produced, get Wal*Mart to buy the suckers. Amazon may be big, but they're peanuts compared to Wal*Mart.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (4, Informative)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495485)


"Hypothetical" competitor to the kindle? There already are such devices which predate Amazon's own release as well. This one [bookeen.com] looks good. Again, a highish price but it looks better than Amazon's own (Linux support being one of, though not the top, reason for that). Sadly, like the Kindle, it has also sold out completely, but I'm seriously thinking of putting one on order.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495015)

-It's going to be a while
-They are
-Explain to me how you do this with paper books?
-Good point, something that must be addressed by congress. So get involved.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495131)

You don't have to back up a paper book because unless your house burns down (and sometimes even in that case) you will still be able to read it.

Electronic digital data is very fragile in comparison to it's analog counterpart. The benefits of that fragility however is the ability to cheaply make exact duplicate copies of the data.

When you have digital data with DRM, you have the worst of both worlds essentially.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495149)

Explain to me how you do this with paper books?
Well paper books don't stop working because the device breaks either.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495511)

-They are
I'm not sure about that. For me the perfect use of this thing would be to buy copies of the dozens of coding reference books I've bought in dead-tree form over the years. Toss it in my briefcase and I'm ready for the office, a trip, or home. Unfortunately, the technical books listed (I didn't look at all of them) are only a couple of dollars cheaper than their dead-tree alternative. The Kindle edition of _Core Java 2, Volume I_ is $31 while the dead-tree, paperback version is $34. Are you telling me that the cost to print, ship, and warehouse a 784 page book is only $3?

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (4, Interesting)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495079)

how about instead of ebooks being cheap: you purchase the physical book, and get access to the kindle version immediately. that way you can start reading before it shows up if you really need it (think textbooks).

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495325)

That's what Amazon does on some books. Of course, they charge $2 to $4 for a (DRM'd?) PDF file of it. If the book is only $12, why would I spend $2 to $4 just to get a digital copy of what I already bought? Meh.

I don't need lots of books cluttering up my life, so I'd be just fine with digital only, given cheap prices and great freedom to backup/use/etc how I see fit. If I have to re-buy it in ten years when media formats change or they stop supporting some special format, then I'm screwed. A physical book can still be readable in a couple centuries.

But giving me an INCLUDED digital version for no additional expense would be nice.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (4, Insightful)

leehwtsohg (618675) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495197)


  • Under $100: I don't agree. But I think they should bundle it with books to make it basically free.
  • Books half price: they should be cheaper than paperback. It isn't clear how much cheaper. CDs are basically free to make, and yet expensive to buy when filled with music.
  • No bullshit DRM: Here I totally agree. Even though books are available now in many formats and comparable volume (e.g. kindle/mobi, microsoft lit, sony lrf) I only buy microsoft lit books. Why? Because the format was broken, so I can save unprotected, and I'll be able to read the books no matter what device I buy in the future!
  • Reselling of digital books is a bit of a problem, without DRM. Are you sure you'll delete the book once you give it away? It is a bit similar to the problem of digital music. Say you ripped your CD collection to MP3, and then the CDs were stolen. Will you delete now your MP3s? Can you sell your used MP3s? But I think that borrowing of books from friends should be possible with digital books, and the library problem has to be solved.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495441)

I would trade inability to resell the item in return for no DRM and very low cost of the book itself. If they force DRM on me, then they should provide some sort of a system that allows for backups and transferral of license to the materials without any major hurdles to deter me from bothering.

As for price -- there are a lot of great books to be read, but $30 to $60 for a hard cover and $8 to $30 for a paperback (we won't even get into text books and technical reading) is practically robbery. If I'm not getting a physical book and all you're doing is just shooting a couple megabytes of ascii text at me with about a hundredth of a penny's worth of expense on your part, then you better not be charging me $10 for a Stephen King book or $15 for a videogame guide or $25 for the latest "... In a Nuthshell" book.

Of course, the problem will remain that for an author to make a real living at what he does, he would need to sell a LOT of books. You can be on the NYT Best Seller list and remain pretty poor. But the reduction in price should be compensated by the reduction in expense. No more printing press. No more shipping and distribution costs. You need a server, a contract with some websites and some bandwidth. There you go. So the author's cut shouldn't be negatively impacted. Perhaps even increased.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

qdaku (729578) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495199)

God I love my used bookstore up the road. Great staff and amazing turnover. I pop in twice a week on the way home and I'm shocked at the new stock they always have. Five-six different people work there and I know who to ask if I'm looking for a cheesy space opera, a deep thinker, or something light to make me funny.
Chapters/Barnes & noble/ etc can bite my ass. A good relationship with a bunch of used bookstore nuts is where it's at. I ran into William Gibson at this place once.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495493)

Well, I hail from the home of the largest bookstore on the planet, including massive quantities of used books . . . But I would still appreciate having a very readable digital format (e-paper style) reader for a lot of content. Especially as I'm one of those people who would otherwise be carrying half a dozen heavy tech books, a coupel fiction books and a couple reference books. And a few newspapers and magazines.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495367)

drm-free content that can be resold. doesn't take a genius to see that a system like that will be horribly abused.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

tazbert (824165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495547)

For me, it will take this, along with an easy way to rip (bad term for books, I guess) my thousands of paper books to a format I can read on the Kindle.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (4, Informative)

Minwee (522556) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495549)

+ Reader has to be under $100.

How about free [mobipocket.com] ? Provided, of course, that you provide your own Blackberry, Palm, Smarter-Than-Thou-Phone, PC or other geek-faux-wang. If you don't already have one you can probably find something acceptable at or near your $100 price point. It won't have the big e-Paper screen that the Kindle does, but I have no troubles using a smaller display.

* Books have to be half the price of print books or lower.

e-Book pricing is all over the place right now, with titles ranging anywhere from free [baen.com] , free [manybooks.net] , or free [gutenberg.org] , all the way to about the same as printed books [mobipocket.com] . As the market grows expect to see more pressure on prices which should force things down a bit, but don't hold your breath.

+ No bullshit DRM. I better be able to back the content up, copy it to my ipod, save it on my hard drive. Whatever.

Some books ship with bullshit included while others come pas-des-merde-des-vasche. With a good reader you can feed it anything from flat ASCII text, HTML or PDF files through to insanely encrypted tracts of bull and have something readable come out the other end. The choice is yours.

+ I better be able to resell it, just like I can resell a used book. Otherwise, all of this is just a run-around way for the publishing industry to attacked the used book trade, which they hate more than almost anything else on earth (including their loathing of public libraries).

Yes, you can absolutely resell the hardware that you read books on just like you resell a used book. Reselling _data_ is a trickier problem, as it is nothing like a used book. Besides, the only way for second hand ebooks to have any value would be if they included "Bullshit DRM". Which do you want, resale or steerpoopage?

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495749)

+ I better be able to resell it, just like I can resell a used book.

If you have a choice between the new hardcover for $15 or the ebook for $10, and you can later sell the hardcover for $5, then in both cases you can't recover $10 of the original purchase price. In the end, the ebook saves you a trip to the used bookstore, and a tree.

Sprint EV-DO might be part of it. (5, Interesting)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495057)

Take a look at the specs [amazon.com] .
This thing doesn't sync, nor use WiFi. Instead, it downloads content through Sprint's wireless 3G network (the same one that their phones use). There is no subscription fee for this (the data service). It will also download newspaper and magazine subscriptions daily (no syncing or need to find a WiFi hotspot).

Perhaps their pricing model is built around including some type of specially negotiated data plan with Sprint that is amortized over the projected lifetime of the device. (Just speculation).

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495069)

Becasue it's designed to be used like a book, tablets are not.

True books don't require batteries. OTOH, books don't have built in dictionaries, thesauruses and access to wikipedia.
You also can't adjust the font size.

It's almost like they're different things.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495521)

True books don't require batteries. OTOH, books don't have built in dictionaries, thesauruses and access to wikipedia. You also can't adjust the font size.

You also can't instantly search for any word or phrase inside a paper book.
You also can't carry 100 paper books in the space of one paper book.
You also can't instantly buy a new paper book while riding a train or bus.
The list goes on and on...

So I agree, they ARE different things, and that's the whole point which lots of people seem to be missing!

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

dalmiroy2k (768278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495113)

For $400 you can get an Asus EEE and read DRM-free PDF files.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495287)

For $400 you can get an Asus EEE and read DRM-free PDF files.
Or you can get the Kindle and read DRM-free PDF files. You can also browse blogs and websites, as well as do lookups on wikipedia with the kindle. Plus, unlike the Asus EEE, the Kindle is designed to be easy to hold and operate one handed. Oh, and because it uses the 3G network (no fee, presumably included in cost of the device) you don't need a wireless hotspot, you can read slashdot on the go anywhere you have a cell signal.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495143)

Where do you find a tablet pc for $400? Or was that just hyperbole? Even good PDAs are still $400, so I don't see how you can get even the crummiest Tablet PC for that.

As for reading books on a device... You obviously aren't the target audience if you read that seldom. I -do- read often enough that this is in the right price range. In fact, I bought my n800 to read eBooks on... And the Palm TX before it, and a few pocket PCs before that, and Palms before that... I admit that I've spent more on the devices than the ebooks themselves, but I -far- prefer an electronic book to a real one.

This device, however, appears to be large, clumsy and hideous. Why do you need a keyboard on your book? Only to order them, in this case. It's in the way 99% of the time. It should have had some sort of on-screen keyboard, or something that hides away. Even an attachment that you can leave in a drawer 99% of the time would be acceptable.

DRM: I've seen others say DRM is here to stay for Amazon. Just like iTunes, huh? Think again. Baen.com has been DRM-free since it started selling ebooks and it is getting more popular all the time. I've read most of their free ones and quite a few that I've bought there. Definitely quality stuff, and no DRM.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495339)

From the various reviews I've read the Kindle may look clumsy and it's not exactly pretty, but apparently it feels very comfortable to hold. As for the whole DRM issue, that only applies to the books you download from amazon. You can connect the device to your computer with a USB cable and it gets recognized as a external HD, then you just copy PDF, txt, doc, or mobi files (as well as mp3 it seems) over to it and you can read them on the go. So, if you want to keep using your DRM free source of e-books you can, you just can't utilize the on the go download feature of the kindle to do so.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

cicatrix1 (123440) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495691)

Most of what you said is correct, however it doesn't do PDF. You'd have to convert them into something else.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495697)

then you just copy PDF, txt, doc, or mobi files (as well as mp3 it seems) over to it and you can read them on the go

That's BS. PDF is the massive hole in this device, you have to convert it with a third party tool, so forget your formatting and fonts. .doc is the same.

And don't forget the device only has two fonts and you can't change between them, just 6 sizes.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495683)

Aren't you guys missing the point of the device, which is the E-Ink display? This should make it heads and shoulders above anything else on the market, including those reflective LCDs, and especially outdoors.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495219)

May as well just go and get a low end tablet pc

I find reading books on computer screens for long periods of time to be very annoying; if I buy the kindle it will be for the e-ink screen.

Re:Pricing is the big hurdle (1)

hc5duke (930493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495397)

what does this do that a tablet couldn't do
  • last days without a recharge
  • visible even outdoors *
  • light (weighs 10 oz (289g))
  • evdo connection **
  • screen's not touch-sensitive so you avoid all those nasty fingerprints ;)
* though I imagine you can't use the Kindle in complete darkness
** yes you COULD get this for a tablet, but this one comes without a monthly subscription charge

Having said all that, I do agree pricing is the big hurdle.

Misunderstood, no: intentional (2, Insightful)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494855)

>but simple things like communicating how freakin' easy it is to get non-Amazon content on to the device, for free, remain horribly misunderstood.

And it is in Amazon's interest to show people who might otherwise buy material how to avoid buying material... how?

Re:Misunderstood, no: intentional (3, Insightful)

samweber (71605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494919)

Can we avoid conspiracy theories? Especially when they made it quite clear that you could, but from the product description page and in their manual, which you can download from them.

I really don't see how they could have made it much clear, and the fact that people still don't understand it reflects more on them, I think, than Amazon.

Re:Misunderstood, no: intentional (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494967)

No, Amazon Wasn't being clear on the Kindle website at all. Putting it in the manuals is only good if you have bought the thing.

Re:Misunderstood, no: intentional (4, Interesting)

HistoricPrizm (1044808) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495393)

Actually, you can download the manual from the Amazon site. However, it still isn't clear in the manual. You have to put two and two together, and those sections are about 15 pages apart in the manual. Nowhere does it explicitly state, "Hook the Kindle up via USB and you can transfer certain files for free". That would have been nice, but I think the GGP was somewhat correct in saying that there's not a real big advantage to Amazon in making the explicit statement. It also doesn't really jive with their main marketing point, the wireless connection through Sprint and lack of a need for a computer. There are some good discussions on the Kindle page regarding this topic, but, as with most of Amazon's Customer Discussions, you have to wade through a ton of crap.

Re:Misunderstood, no: intentional (1)

samweber (71605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495445)

Again, you can download the manuals RIGHT NOW, off the Kindle website. (Heck, that's what I did.) And, they said it in the product technical details as well.

It sounds to me like people WANT to believe that Amazon is forcing people to use them as their only source of Kindle-material. Perhaps this is so they can growl at DRM, or because they can then argue that Amazon should give them away "like razors". It's not true though.

Re:Misunderstood, no: intentional (1)

ShiningSomething (1097589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495265)

Well, as in everything, there's the trade-off between showing how versatile it is to use, and losing potential content sales, and marketing it as something to be used with Amazon e-books only, and losing potential Kindle sales.

Free as in Beer? (4, Insightful)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494865)

easy it is to get non-Amazon content on to the device, for free, remain horribly misunderstood

If I'm not tied to a single source for my books then I may consider it, but I still enjoy they actual book feelings though. Weight, smell, etc... Some parts of reading a book have nothing to do with what is written... At least for me.

Re:Free as in Beer? (1)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494931)

Agreed.

There is still nothing like curling up with a good book. Maybe someday people will do all their reading from a computer screen, a la TNG, but I doubt it.

Re:Free as in Beer? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495023)

Characters often read books on TNG and in the movies, and not just antiques. I seem to remember a few VIP presentations (one in ST6 stands out in my mind) that were actually delivered with a presentation pad and an easel, which I think made an important statement about the plain utility of such things.

Re:Free as in Beer? (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495083)

What do you mean, "someday" ?

Re:Free as in Beer? (1)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495419)

One of the reviews I read made an interesting point in that a comparison was made between paper books versus kindle and cds versus ipods. Essentially the argument was, if you're at home you rather read a paper book or listen to a cd, but if you're going somewhere Kindle and an iPod are simpler. Neil Gaimon was complaining that he missed having his trial Kindle when he had to fly somewhere because it limited the books he could bring with him to only a few because of size/weight.

Re:Free as in Beer? (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494941)

Unless your books from other sources have no DRM (or you can find some my to remove it) and there's some way to convert it to a compatible format, you're out of luck.

Re:Free as in Beer? (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495003)

If that happens (DRM Free) What are the chances you can barrow EBooks from a library that delete themselves after X number of days unless you contact the library... That would be another wonderful feature, a true electronic library that doesn't cost you per month.

Re:Free as in Beer? (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495223)

Your library (local or virtual) would need to partner with Amazon, then, as Only their DRM'ed files work on the Kindle. *Someone* will have to pay for it somehow. Somebody always has to.

Re:Free as in Beer? (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495317)

Yeah, I know... Sadly I was picturing a perfect world where Digital Rights Management was something that only a sysadmin was concerned about and it was to actually protect you and your data.

Re:Free as in Beer? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495047)

easy it is to get non-Amazon content on to the device, for free, remain horribly misunderstood
If I'm not tied to a single source for my books then I may consider it, but I still enjoy they actual book feelings though. Weight, smell, etc... Some parts of reading a book have nothing to do with what is written... At least for me.
I think the book evolved from clumsier methods, which is why we have this proven design after millenia. That and enough of them helps you reach the cookie jar.

Re:Free as in Beer? (1)

beau_west (1114973) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495299)

If I'm not tied to a single source for my books then I may consider it, but I still enjoy they actual book feelings though. Weight, smell, etc... Some parts of reading a book have nothing to do with what is written... At least for me.

I agree with that 100%. I used to have a copy of Treasure Island that smelled like tobacco. I loved that book.

Kindle (3, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494889)

Ah, so it's more Kindle-ing for the e-book's fire, eh? OW OW OWWW! No hard fruits! *Watermelowned*

Shock! (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494901)

Do you mean to tell we that Amazon, a reader that makes money by selling things, aren't talking too much about ways to get non-Amazon content? Besides, what is non-Amazon content? Blogs, RSS feeds, and stuff you upload onto the device. Methinks PR didn't think these were great selling points. That's interesting...

Re:Shock! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495043)

Besides, what is non-Amazon content?

Comic books and the billion PDF files people have spring to mind. The junk also limits what font the book will render in to one of two, and you cannot change between them. The author is a twat, moaning that his wife was using it so he couldn't read another book. Clearly he needs two $400 proprietary format vendor lock-in devices!

Re:Shock! (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495191)

"Comic books and the billion PDF files people have spring to mind."

Perhaps that falls under "stuff you upload"?

I wanted to see the "fit of apoplectic rage" (3, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494951)

But it's a 14 minute video! Linked from the front page of Slashdot!!
Oh my.

Re:I wanted to see the "fit of apoplectic rage" (5, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495011)

Have you ever seen a grown server cry before?

Re:I wanted to see the "fit of apoplectic rage" (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495213)

Are you new here? Nobody RTFA's anyway.

Re:I wanted to see the "fit of apoplectic rage" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495537)

Have you ever seen a grown server cry before?
Is that before of after the server is on it's knees ready to be hit in the face?

Re:I wanted to see the "fit of apoplectic rage" (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495423)

But it's a 14 minute video! Linked from the front page of Slashdot!! Oh my.

I wouldn't know. All I saw of the idiot's page was a message telling me I needed to have Javascript installed to see his page.

No thanks. If you need Javascript to make a point, I'm pretty sure I'm not interested.

easier than a book? (1)

pudding7 (584715) | more than 6 years ago | (#21494973)

"Short of reading in the tub, the Kindle is easier to read in more places, positions, and situations than a physical book"

I don't understand how this could be true. Seems like it would be heavier, more sensitive to water/rain/mist/fog, harder to see in bright sunlight, etc etc...

What am I missing?

Re:easier than a book? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495055)

What are you missing? Apparently reading the article. How about you RTFA before you comment, jack ass.

Re:easier than a book? (2, Insightful)

qwerty shrdlu (799408) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495063)

If you load up a few hundred titles, it is no longer heavier.

Re:easier than a book? (2, Informative)

antibryce (124264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495075)

It uses e-ink, not LCD for the display. This means it's easier to read in bright light (and conversely impossible to read in total darkness.)

I would guess looking at the specs it's lighter than most books, water issues are exactly what the reviewer is talking about.

Re:easier than a book? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495091)

Well, heavier than a small book. But certainly not heavier than a personal library. You can store more than one book at a time, can't you?

Re:easier than a book? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495101)

"Short of reading in the tub, the Kindle is easier to read in more places, positions, and situations than a physical book"
I don't understand how this could be true. Seems like it would be heavier, more sensitive to water/rain/mist/fog, harder to see in bright sunlight, etc etc...
What am I missing?

I read in bed, quite often. Particularly this past holiday weekend where I spent much of it resting thanks to acquiring a cold from a dedicated associate at work. I wonder how well it works for lying on your back and and holding up. Probably better than 800 page tomes, but not quite as well as smaller, lighter books.

Re:easier than a book? (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495163)

This gives way to the brilliant add-on... A little adjustable arm (gooseneck maybe? I dunno - something) that will allow you to position the book in the right place for you to read it on your back. And then a remote that will allow you to turn the pages. Then you can truly relax without getting a sore arm. Far better than paper books for reading on one's back.

Re:easier than a book? (1)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495155)

I don't understand how this could be true. Seems like it would be heavier, more sensitive to water/rain/mist/fog, harder to see in bright sunlight, etc etc...


The video says something about it not using a back-lit LCD display, but rather something called 'Electronic Paper' which can be read even in the brightest of sunlight. Personally I think the whole active electron (ie monitors) vs passive reflection (ie light bouncing off paper and hitting your eye) is much more of an issue than they lead me to believe, but I'd still like to try it out. Whatever the hell 'electronic paper' is, if they actually manage to pull off being able to read the screen in bright sunlight, it'll be a selling point for not only this device, but many more electronic devices in the future.

Re:easier than a book? (1)

snkline (542610) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495157)

Books are about as sensitive to water/rain/mist/fog as this likely is (assuming this is about as sensitive as a laptop). Water and Rain can ruin books just as easily if not more so than electronic devices. Mist and fog is iffy in both cases. As far as harder to see in bright sunlight goes, maybe, I havn't used the thing. However the flipside would be it is easier to see in dark conditions (ever been a car passanger at night, wanted to read, but can't since you can't turn the interior light on?) Myself, I much prefer the feel of a book, but certainly I can see how this would be easier to read in some cases.

Re:easier than a book? (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495225)

It's not backlit so it won't be easier to read in dark conditions. It functions for all intents and purposes like paper.

An analogy (5, Funny)

4thAce (456825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495041)

I think the Kindle will be to traditional books as this device [segway.com] is to walking.

Re:An analogy (2, Funny)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495447)

So in other words, totally superfluous, and largely the laughing stock of its domain?

Extra, Extra! Read All About It! (2, Funny)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495145)

This just in, Gutenberg wins again!

Please don't link to video. (5, Insightful)

jesdynf (42915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495189)

If you can't say it with written words, it wasn't worth saying. These "video shows" and "podcasts" are nominally entertaining but worthless for conveying any kind of real information. Please don't link to them like they're big-people essays -- it doesn't matter how smart you are, I can read ten documents written by people almost as smart as you are in the time it takes your stupid "veeblog" to buffer, play its stupid intro, and replay the series of meat noises you've encoded the information into.

Please. Just pass them by.

Re:Please don't link to video. (3, Insightful)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495573)

If you can't say it with written words, it wasn't worth saying.

While I agree with your point, I don't know if I'd go quite that far. A lot of content, especially in the realm of creative works, is more fully enjoyable in multimedia format. I'd rather hear a band play a song than read the sheet music; I'd rather watch actors perform Shakespeare than read the script.

But for a non-creative work like a gadget review? Put the digicam down. Text will carry the essential value of the content just fine.

Re:Please don't link to video. (5, Funny)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495665)

Unless its porn. Porn works better as video than text.

not so much pricing of the unit, as the content (3, Interesting)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495201)

a digital book should *NOT* be 10 dollars. i don't care if its a new book and only available as a hardcover for 18 bucks. i'm not spending 10 bucks for it. when the paperback is released, it still looks like the price of the e-book costs about the same, if not a little cheaper than the paperback. if they were selling new releases for like 2 bucks and paperback-released books for a buck (or just sell them all for 99 cents a piece), it would be a huge factor for people who buy a lot of books. it means they may eventually start saving money in the long run if they read that often. plus, it may entice people just to read more often in the first place or to even purchase books on impulse. they may not even read all the books they purchase if its at that price. i think they'd sell a lot more books and make more money due to having lower production costs. books are priced more than music. once the music/filesharing fiasco ends (which will probably be within this decade), books will be next. its a fringe market right now, but more and more books are becoming available online.

Re:not so much pricing of the unit, as the content (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495595)

I agree Digital books should be less then the paperback book New or Not. There is a lot of money that goes into printing books, Most the the books now are digital first then they print it, it should be easy to go from digital to digital and the publisher, author and Amazon will get more money then normal printed book. $10.00 is steep but I think it is priced right now to attract publishers not consumers as much... Because to make it succeed it needs a large quantity of titles available. Now Amazon is seeing if the price will be to high or not. If people don't go crazy with the book prices they will most likely lower the prices. I think the good price would be $5.00 a piece everyone will make good money from it and the prices will be low enough to see the cost savings of going digital. Books often take more work then songs to produce, A Full CD can go from Idea to Shelfs in under a month. A book can take Months or years to produce.

Re:not so much pricing of the unit, as the content (4, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495613)

All I can say is take an economics class. You aren't entirely off base, but a good microeconomics class will pretty much explain why it is as it is and why your points aren't entirely accurate. But the key point is that you seem to think that you are paying more for the materials than the content and also ignoring the costs of servers/bandwidth/etc. If I were to open my own "Sahara" book store and sell every e-book for $1 how long do you think it would be before I went under from having smoking servers, angry employees wanting to get paid, and a disgustingly large electric and bandwidth bill? The "e" part only takes out one tiny slice of the cost...the actual printing...which is pretty small over a large enough production. You are still paying an author, a publisher, a retailer, and all the associated employees in getting the book from draft to print and all the marketing in between.

I agree that the price of ebooks will likely come down as the demand for them increases, but I doubt they will get to be as cheap as you want them.

Re:not so much pricing of the unit, as the content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495703)

It would be nice to buy these ebooks if they had a nice searchable feature.

I will always buy paper. I am an extension of the audiophile. Just I dont buy 1k cables. Instead I buy books and mark them up like mad. Yes I mark in my books without abandon but have always wanted my own version of 1k cables in books. Which I deem is searchable books.

Long have I wanted a better search feature for books than my current method. When I read a book, typically, I write a bookreport about the book or if technical in nature I list the important keywords, buzzwords, pages (etc) into a text computer file so I can search it somewhat faster than getting the book from the bookshelf.

I would so love to buy a hardcopy of the book and the ebook at some majorly reduced price if I could search the ebook more effectively.

However, DRM would negate all for me. No fair use, no buy.

Doesn't handle PDFs? (2, Informative)

Kludge (13653) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495209)

I read that the thing does not handle PDFs. Is this true?
If it doesn't, why would anyone buy it?

Re:Doesn't handle PDFs? (5, Informative)

lstellar (1047264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495279)

It doesn't handle PDFs natively, but FTA apparently it is extremely easy to convert .pdf's before download to the Kindle.

Re:Doesn't handle PDFs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495373)

It does handle PDF's in a way - you have to convert them to the .mobi format, first, however. There's free software out there that will do that for you (Mobipocket Creator, for example)

It just doesn't natively view the PDF format

Yes it does (1, Informative)

Radical Moderate (563286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495377)

RTFA, one of the author's complaints is that Amazon's hype made people think it only handled DRM'd content. But it does seem to handle PDF and some other formats just fine.

Clarification (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495431)

Sorry, forgot the post links to quite a few FAs. I was referring to this one [gamerswithjobs.com]

About the blogs/slashdot functionality... (1)

lstellar (1047264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495235)

Does any know how well, if at all, it handles commenting/forums associated with the blogs? Obviously, I'm most interested in /.'s. Especially 2.0. Any insight would be appreciated.

I'll wait and see (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495301)

After actaully reading the two articles that I could access (Scobles delivered:

kyte: Browser Requirements
In order to view the kyte website, you will need the following:

1. JavaScript enabled.
2. If using Internet Explorer ActiveX must be enabled.
3. Version 9.0.28 of the
in Firefox on my Mac) I have to say that this thing looks pretty tempting. I too was skeptical, but the authors have me thinking twice.

I'm not forming opinions 'til I can get my hands on one.

Oh gosh - that last sentence probably cost me about 4000 Slashdot karma points...

A solution in search of a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495345)

That's what e-book readers are. There's absolutely nothing wrong with paper books. In order to be successful, e-book readers have to actually offer benefits over paper books without significant drawbacks. They totally fail at that. The benefits: holding multiple books and maybe some search features. The drawbacks: price, battery usage, DRM, harder to skim through.

So unless you have a reason to carry a lot of books at once time, there's no point.

Re:A solution in search of a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495481)

Furthermore, why a specific device for e-books? The one thing that separates e-book readers from other tablet style devices is the screen technology. Otherwise the interface I'd expect is the same. While e-ink is a cool technology, there's no point to having a divergent device just to make use of it. There's no point to divergent software either. Publish e-books in a common document format like PDF and that's that.

My beef with Amazon (0, Offtopic)

nohup (26783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495355)

I bought an E-book from Amazon as an experiment, and hated it. I can only read it with Amazon's Online Reader. Today while trying to read the book I purchased I got an error "book temporarily unavailable, try again later". Great thanks. Also, in shopping for a Wii, I came across this policy on Amazon's website:

Wii Purchase Policy

As you may know, the Nintendo Wii is in great demand, and there are shortages of this product across the U.S. In an effort to provide as many customers as possible with the opportunity to purchase a Wii, we are limiting the number of Wiis customers can purchase in a given calendar month. As a result, each household may only purchase up to 3 Nintendo Wii units per calendar month.

Failure to comply with this policy will result in account actions including, but not limited to:

        * Cancellation of all outstanding orders, including Wii orders and other orders.
        * Closure of the offending customer account and related accounts, including:
        * The customer account used for making purchases and selling items on Amazon.com Seller accounts
        * Any international accounts at Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, or Amazon.co.jp
        * The Your Media Library account area, including any digital products you may have purchased
        * Any Amazon.com Associates account or Advantage account attached to the closed account

When an account is closed, access to any Amazon Wish List, Baby or Wedding Registry, or profile pages is lost. Any purchase history, saved gifts in Gift Central, and digital products in Your Media Library will not be accessible. Additionally, any outstanding Amazon.com gift certificate or check funds balance will be unavailable.

Bottom line? So if I accidentally buy too many Wii's from Amazon, they'll shut down my account and remove my access to digital media that I have purchased? Unbelievable.

Re:My beef with Amazon (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495731)

"If I accidentally buy too many Wii's from Amazon"

You must be one of those REALLY compulsive shoppers. Turn off one-click if you haven't had your coffee yet.

Kindle whatever. What is Kyte? (1)

JasonVergo (101331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495357)

I have never seen this Kyte player before but it's really cool. Where did they come from?

Eee PC (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495359)

For that price, the Asus Eee PC is a better deal. I got one - neat little thing and it can actually be used for real work, since with SSH, I can do anything with it.

Re:Eee PC (1)

Falladir (1026636) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495603)

The Eee PC doesn't have a high-resolution e-paper screen. Some people might be able to read for hours and hours on a laptop, but others find that they get eyestrain from the light and from the crappiness of fonts at 120 dpi. Also, the Eee PC won't get anything close to the battery life of this thing (think about taking it on a plane or in a car) and it will be hard to curl up with. I've read comic books in bed on my laptop, and it's pretty awkward. (That said, I'd really love for the thing to be able to run an ssh client. With whatever low-bandwidth wireless offering they're including, it would be a really sweet little terminal.) Do your best to kill the idea that a laptop is a replacement for a reader with e-paper. E-paper provides two huge advantages: resolution and battery life. These *do* matter to some people.

cant get there from here (1)

kel-tor (146691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495411)

i wonder what robert scoble had to say, probably nothing important, at least nothing important enough to show to people with opera

kyte: Browser Requirements
In order to view the kyte website, you will need the following:
JavaScript enabled.
If using Internet Explorer ActiveX must be enabled.
Version 9.0.28 of the

Theory (3, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495475)

You know, I think I have a theory on why people get so upset about the idea of digital book readers. It's not the DRM, it's not the batteries, it's not whether you can loan your book...

The biggest problem is ego.

People who read a lot of books LIKE having huge bookshelves to impress people on how many books they have. "Yes, as a matter of fact, I DO read more than thou, hence, I am more intelligent. Bow down and kiss my ring!"

How many of these people keep around books they know they will NEVER read again? Why not donate them to the library, and clear up space on the ol' bookshelf? Because they like having the scorecard on the wall. Having an e-book spoils all the fun.

I think this is actually a generational thing. I'm noticing that younger people have no problem downloading scanned books, reading them, and moving on. I think the ego stroke of the big library will eventually be extinct, like we're seeing with big walls of record collections.

Why the hate? (1)

JohnsonWax (195390) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495561)

While Kindles blemishes aren't exactly earthshattering, I think it suffers from the negative side of the iPod halo effect. We are starting to expect that electronic equivalents will more clearly improve on the original. Just glancing at the Kindle (without probing its deeper features, since consumers likely won't initially either), I don't quite understand why it's so convoluted. Why is there a keyboard on a book? Why not more screen? Why a button for next page, why not tap the screen? Why does it look like a Mac 128K screen instead of a laptop screen? Don't some books have illustrations? Are they in color? Will my NYTimes have photos and charts and whatnot that are sometimes instrumental to understanding the article?

See, I can see how the connectivity and immediate access to content is an improvement and how it's overall adequate and even good in many places, but we've come to expect more out of a 'breakthrough' device, and this just doesn't seem to have it. Doesn't mean it's bad, but it leaves people expecting that better can be done and will soon.

No Blog-review of Kindle is Credible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495657)

Sorry, if Amazon is going to start paying bloggers to get their blogs subscribed to the Kindle, I can't trust any Blorger who raves about it, since I figure they have an ulterior motive.

Hire some industrial designers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495693)

Holy crap this thing is fugly!

It's 1980s all over again. The ID guys must have thought beige boxes were a great look in computing too.

And $400? $125 discounted to under $100 when the hype is over makes more sense.

Publishers, DRM, etc (2, Interesting)

samweber (71605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495699)

A lot of the same kinds of comments are coming up here as in other forums about the Kindle.

Firstly, even though this article points out explicitly that you can put your own content on the Kindle, lots of people still seem to refuse to believe it. You can! And you can use USB to backup the files, as well.

Secondly, DRM isn't really Amazon's fault. All publishers are really, really aware of electronic rights. There are major disputes between the Author's Guild and publishers because of this. Recently, in particular, there was a big fight with Simon & Schuster. There is simply no way that anyone, either authors or publishers, are going to give up these rights. Maybe a particular author will give away an old book for free over the 'net, but not in general. Both authors and publishers have to eat. Allowing everyone to copy their books is not going to happen. Amazon had no choice but to comply.

What would be very useful (1)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495745)

Reference books in ebook form can be grepped through. So much more useful than paper versions of book.
That is the main draw to doing it on a computer. But if it is so expensive, why not just spend some more and get a laptop?
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