Amazon Reader Hate

Seth Godin: “You won’t find me on Amazon’s new book reader.”

Rex Hammock: “I’d rather have an iPod Touchbook.”

Mathew Ingram: WTF?

Jeremy Toeman: It will fail.

My thoughts?

That Jeremy is probably right. I’m excited about the new reader to be sure. But getting geeks like me excited by a new “shiny toy” is pretty easy. Getting a large market excited? That’s a LOT harder.

Why am I excited by this? Because it brings some very real advances to devices. Is it too expensive? For many people, yes. But one thing I’ve learned is that if something in the technology industry is too expensive today just stay alive for a few years. I remember when Steve Wozniak had a color printer that cost $40,000 that today’s $70 printers are better than.

For $400 this device is pretty damn remarkable. It can be read out in bright sunlight (my $3,000 Mac can’t do that). Its battery lasts dozens of hours. It’s a joy to use for the stated purpose: reading.

I do agree with Seth and Mathew: I really wish they had found a way to give away a stack of books and other content (including blogs). I told them almost the exact same thing Seth did and, yes, my words were just as unsuccessful at hitting the mark.

That said, even if Jeff Bezos turns out to be a failure here this device will push the market simply by getting you all to consider a world where you read your books off of a screen rather than off of paper. To me that’s interesting.

One other thing I told the team? Get Google Reader onto this thing. In fact, I tried to get my link blog onto it instead of just my blog (and I pitched them to include TechMeme, Digg, and Slashdot, among others, on it). We’ll see later today what they decided, but I don’t think they got the link blog onto it.

Comments

  1. The no heat part, the fact that it’s not heavy and can be read in sunlight are definite strengths. The aversion to reading on an electronic device that many fans of reading have? Will you take this to the beach? Will you read in a jacuzzi or be worried about dropping it in the soup?

    I think Bezos would have been better advised to keep this in the sweet spot (sub $250 mark). Look at the PS3 and why it’s not selling: not enough quality content, too high a price point. The Wii, conversely, is rocking off the shelves at $249.

  2. The no heat part, the fact that it’s not heavy and can be read in sunlight are definite strengths. The aversion to reading on an electronic device that many fans of reading have? Will you take this to the beach? Will you read in a jacuzzi or be worried about dropping it in the soup?

    I think Bezos would have been better advised to keep this in the sweet spot (sub $250 mark). Look at the PS3 and why it’s not selling: not enough quality content, too high a price point. The Wii, conversely, is rocking off the shelves at $249.

  3. Google Reader would be a natural.

    I’m surprised at the price. To be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t $400. And of course I’ll need to hold it, see it in action, etc, but it still intrigues me a lot.

    I agree that even if it fails it will still serve to push the concept further. Frequently the best devices are those that come around in the third or fourth iteration. I look forward to the day when something like this will be affordable and practical.

  4. Google Reader would be a natural.

    I’m surprised at the price. To be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t $400. And of course I’ll need to hold it, see it in action, etc, but it still intrigues me a lot.

    I agree that even if it fails it will still serve to push the concept further. Frequently the best devices are those that come around in the third or fourth iteration. I look forward to the day when something like this will be affordable and practical.

  5. Call me shallow, but it’s so fricken ugly. That’s already a huge barrier to entry no matter what the product does.

  6. Call me shallow, but it’s so fricken ugly. That’s already a huge barrier to entry no matter what the product does.

  7. There are benefits, but the content isn’t necessarily matched to them. Textbooks for college students are frequently cited as a great reason for these readers, but I’ve not heard of many efforts to actually put textbooks on them. Not sure if Bezos has got Mobipocket textbooks or not, but that would be a great marketing angle. Also, *every* book can have the text size changed on the fly, and with no eye strain, unlike an LCD. I question the EVDO bit for the power drain, but that’s personal preference. The only other thing that comes to mind is the server problems that Mobipocket has had in the past. I agree that the price point is bad. Someone needs to put one of these out for $100 and eat the loss selling books. Not sure anyone is that brave yet, though.

  8. There are benefits, but the content isn’t necessarily matched to them. Textbooks for college students are frequently cited as a great reason for these readers, but I’ve not heard of many efforts to actually put textbooks on them. Not sure if Bezos has got Mobipocket textbooks or not, but that would be a great marketing angle. Also, *every* book can have the text size changed on the fly, and with no eye strain, unlike an LCD. I question the EVDO bit for the power drain, but that’s personal preference. The only other thing that comes to mind is the server problems that Mobipocket has had in the past. I agree that the price point is bad. Someone needs to put one of these out for $100 and eat the loss selling books. Not sure anyone is that brave yet, though.

  9. Nima (#3),

    Toeman’s article made some good points, but why isn’t portability itself a selling point? Isn’t that the only “problem” the original iPod “solved”? There was no shortage of CDs, nor any difficulty in buying them. We simply wanted to have more and more of our music wherever we went.

    In my case, I have many books with no room on my bookcases in which to put them. The thought of a “book iPod” that could hold a few hundred books appeals to me greatly. Going out of town? No need to decide which books to bring, you grab the device and you have them all. No need to buy some crappy book or magazine at the airport because you didn’t bring an extra, etc.

    I understand completely the Kindle may not be THAT device, but if not then someone else will develop it, and I look forward to having one.

  10. Nima (#3),

    Toeman’s article made some good points, but why isn’t portability itself a selling point? Isn’t that the only “problem” the original iPod “solved”? There was no shortage of CDs, nor any difficulty in buying them. We simply wanted to have more and more of our music wherever we went.

    In my case, I have many books with no room on my bookcases in which to put them. The thought of a “book iPod” that could hold a few hundred books appeals to me greatly. Going out of town? No need to decide which books to bring, you grab the device and you have them all. No need to buy some crappy book or magazine at the airport because you didn’t bring an extra, etc.

    I understand completely the Kindle may not be THAT device, but if not then someone else will develop it, and I look forward to having one.

  11. Robert, first a question, am i correct if this is a color screen or have they just been photoshopping at newsweek?

    Furthermore the prices will go down i suspect within a year as the device is getting picked up.

    I can see some flaws in the current design.

    - the keys look terrible on the device, what about on screen?
    - compared to the ilead a smallish screen 6 versus 8.1..
    - Use of proprietary format
    - Does it have wifi? EDVO is nice, but i would prefer to have wifi

  12. Robert, first a question, am i correct if this is a color screen or have they just been photoshopping at newsweek?

    Furthermore the prices will go down i suspect within a year as the device is getting picked up.

    I can see some flaws in the current design.

    - the keys look terrible on the device, what about on screen?
    - compared to the ilead a smallish screen 6 versus 8.1..
    - Use of proprietary format
    - Does it have wifi? EDVO is nice, but i would prefer to have wifi

  13. The price seems way too high. Small maths and by saving 10 dollars per book, you still need to read 40 books to have an equivalent price as if you would have bought the paper version.
    And with the paper version, you don’t have to buy a new one every few years and you can take it to the beach, things that are impossible with the amazon device.
    So as long as the e-book is not sand and water proof and sells for less than 200 dollars, I will keep the paper version.

  14. The price seems way too high. Small maths and by saving 10 dollars per book, you still need to read 40 books to have an equivalent price as if you would have bought the paper version.
    And with the paper version, you don’t have to buy a new one every few years and you can take it to the beach, things that are impossible with the amazon device.
    So as long as the e-book is not sand and water proof and sells for less than 200 dollars, I will keep the paper version.

  15. Readily available content can be by reference to Project Gutenberg. Considering that there is a reasonable amount of content in creative commons, as well as in the public domain, it also does a reasonable job of including current content.

    The one thing that I see the e-book readers solving is the issue of cutting down the amount of space required to carry readable content. When companies start giving these to their maintenance techs so they don’t have to carry a laptop, it might take off. I don’t expect it to do so before then however. And since there is no way that I can see to plug the device into a piece of hardware for it to become a console, I don’t think that will happen.

    Price? If Amazon were to bury the price in a subscription service, with fresh content being part of that subscription, new release, or pre-releases, I think the price issue would go away the way that price is generally not an issue when deciding what cell phone you are going to get.

    But that’s me.

  16. Readily available content can be by reference to Project Gutenberg. Considering that there is a reasonable amount of content in creative commons, as well as in the public domain, it also does a reasonable job of including current content.

    The one thing that I see the e-book readers solving is the issue of cutting down the amount of space required to carry readable content. When companies start giving these to their maintenance techs so they don’t have to carry a laptop, it might take off. I don’t expect it to do so before then however. And since there is no way that I can see to plug the device into a piece of hardware for it to become a console, I don’t think that will happen.

    Price? If Amazon were to bury the price in a subscription service, with fresh content being part of that subscription, new release, or pre-releases, I think the price issue would go away the way that price is generally not an issue when deciding what cell phone you are going to get.

    But that’s me.

  17. Amazon’s Kindle

    Amazon.com uncovers Kindle soon. I am really curious about it, I would like a good e-book reading tool, and I really look forward to see if it will be available outside of the United States.
    The price will be a bit steep – for 399 USD it better be a v…

  18. “But getting geeks like me excited by a new “shiny toy” is pretty easy.”

    Just make sure the company sends geeks who have a blog and they’ll get excited? Otherwise they’ll go on about not being loved by big companies and feeling left out in the cold in sharp contrast to real media? :)

  19. “But getting geeks like me excited by a new “shiny toy” is pretty easy.”

    Just make sure the company sends geeks who have a blog and they’ll get excited? Otherwise they’ll go on about not being loved by big companies and feeling left out in the cold in sharp contrast to real media? :)

  20. Just been reading some more stuff about the irex ereader, this one actually has some more stuff i kinda like..

    - RSS reader you can sync you’re RSS
    - can use it for notetaking..
    - possibility for ethernet

    Man if it only wasn’t that expensive (Euro 650,-)

  21. Just been reading some more stuff about the irex ereader, this one actually has some more stuff i kinda like..

    - RSS reader you can sync you’re RSS
    - can use it for notetaking..
    - possibility for ethernet

    Man if it only wasn’t that expensive (Euro 650,-)

  22. While the idea is promising, the UI and design are HORRIBLE. I read a LOT (70+ books this year) and the ereader on my Treo is still my solution of choice (for now).

  23. While the idea is promising, the UI and design are HORRIBLE. I read a LOT (70+ books this year) and the ereader on my Treo is still my solution of choice (for now).

  24. This is very obviously a first-generation offering: first-generation device (design-flaws, limited capability); and first-generation content service (not much content).

    What will matter is that it’s good enough to be able to find some kind of “sweet spot”, so the offering starts to get some traction. I have to say – it’s not obvious to me what that sweet spot is right now. I like the vision, though – hopefully it does well enough that they can make the vision a reality.

  25. Robert,

    Just the external UI design alone is bad as seen on the Newsweek cover.

    1) The prev and next buttons look like they could be pressed way too easily. In fact, the article makes mention of this.

    2) The keyboard is unnecessary. My main goal is to READ a book. Give me a couple buttons to select book/open and bookmark. That’s enough. If you want to configure RSS feeds etc., connect it to a keyboard. That’s a task that is rarely necessary.

    My UI interface suggestion for flipping pages would take a page (pun intended) from the iPhone. Give me a touch sensitive strip, left to right flips forward and right to left flips backwards.

  26. This is very obviously a first-generation offering: first-generation device (design-flaws, limited capability); and first-generation content service (not much content).

    What will matter is that it’s good enough to be able to find some kind of “sweet spot”, so the offering starts to get some traction. I have to say – it’s not obvious to me what that sweet spot is right now. I like the vision, though – hopefully it does well enough that they can make the vision a reality.

  27. Robert,

    Just the external UI design alone is bad as seen on the Newsweek cover.

    1) The prev and next buttons look like they could be pressed way too easily. In fact, the article makes mention of this.

    2) The keyboard is unnecessary. My main goal is to READ a book. Give me a couple buttons to select book/open and bookmark. That’s enough. If you want to configure RSS feeds etc., connect it to a keyboard. That’s a task that is rarely necessary.

    My UI interface suggestion for flipping pages would take a page (pun intended) from the iPhone. Give me a touch sensitive strip, left to right flips forward and right to left flips backwards.

  28. @robert, i would definitely be pleasantly surprised if they would be able to pull that one off (As i’ve hardly seen any color e-ink screens yet)

    Shame that it looks like a closed system. I like the concept of the e-ink devices, but it needs some work.

    - needs some sort of casting solution so that people/companies can cast documents to my reader. (so i can take it to a conference and have all the papers casted to me)
    - sharing of notes that I’ve taken
    - maybe some color, though for the mean time i can live with black/white if they promise that upgrading will be available for long time users.

    just my 2 cents.

  29. @robert, i would definitely be pleasantly surprised if they would be able to pull that one off (As i’ve hardly seen any color e-ink screens yet)

    Shame that it looks like a closed system. I like the concept of the e-ink devices, but it needs some work.

    - needs some sort of casting solution so that people/companies can cast documents to my reader. (so i can take it to a conference and have all the papers casted to me)
    - sharing of notes that I’ve taken
    - maybe some color, though for the mean time i can live with black/white if they promise that upgrading will be available for long time users.

    just my 2 cents.

  30. I think that any device that doesn’t hit a $/€ 100 or less mark will ultimately fail. I can already buy $10 books, read them in sunlight and make (better) notes on them. Why would I want to pay $400 for it? Amazon will either have to bring the costs of the device down drastically and calculate it into the costs of book, or bring the costs of book (which no longer need to be printed or distributed) down to a $5 point.

  31. I think that any device that doesn’t hit a $/€ 100 or less mark will ultimately fail. I can already buy $10 books, read them in sunlight and make (better) notes on them. Why would I want to pay $400 for it? Amazon will either have to bring the costs of the device down drastically and calculate it into the costs of book, or bring the costs of book (which no longer need to be printed or distributed) down to a $5 point.

  32. I was planning on putting an ereader on my Xmas list and was trying to decide between the Sony device, the Cybook, or the eBookwise. With the recent news of the Kindle, I decided to consider it. With the knowledge of the looks and the price of the Kindle, I think I’m going to do my family and friends a favor and request the relatively cheap eBookwise. Considering most of my ebooks are in Mobipocket format and the gall of asking people to pay over $250 for an ereader, the eBookwise is clearly the best device for me.

  33. I was planning on putting an ereader on my Xmas list and was trying to decide between the Sony device, the Cybook, or the eBookwise. With the recent news of the Kindle, I decided to consider it. With the knowledge of the looks and the price of the Kindle, I think I’m going to do my family and friends a favor and request the relatively cheap eBookwise. Considering most of my ebooks are in Mobipocket format and the gall of asking people to pay over $250 for an ereader, the eBookwise is clearly the best device for me.

  34. ebook reader? Inevitable, eventually. The obstacles that Jeremy raises are serious barriers, but they will fall over time.

    Amazon Kindle? Maybe not yet.

    Strikes me as too much a closed system with too much lock in. (For all the flack that iPod gets for being a closed system locked to the iTunes store, the fact remains that you can easily fill it with music without ever purchasing a single song from Apple.)

    NYT drops the pay wall and Rupert promises that WSJ will do so… but Amazon wants to sell Newspaper subscriptions? Swimming upstream much?

    As for looks, “not as bad as the early photos” doesn’t have me jumping up and down with delight.

    The Amazon brand on a reader (and the ability to promote it every time we log on to Amazon.com) will put the category into consideration in a way that the Sony brand never could. But IMHO, the adoption curve on this one is going to have a lazy slope.

  35. ebook reader? Inevitable, eventually. The obstacles that Jeremy raises are serious barriers, but they will fall over time.

    Amazon Kindle? Maybe not yet.

    Strikes me as too much a closed system with too much lock in. (For all the flack that iPod gets for being a closed system locked to the iTunes store, the fact remains that you can easily fill it with music without ever purchasing a single song from Apple.)

    NYT drops the pay wall and Rupert promises that WSJ will do so… but Amazon wants to sell Newspaper subscriptions? Swimming upstream much?

    As for looks, “not as bad as the early photos” doesn’t have me jumping up and down with delight.

    The Amazon brand on a reader (and the ability to promote it every time we log on to Amazon.com) will put the category into consideration in a way that the Sony brand never could. But IMHO, the adoption curve on this one is going to have a lazy slope.

  36. IMO the key is things like newpapers and magazines. If they market it towards and can get buy-in to content that is tailor made for a digital device then it becomes real easy to expand the usage of the device for other content like books. Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like that is the plan for Amazon.

  37. IMO the key is things like newpapers and magazines. If they market it towards and can get buy-in to content that is tailor made for a digital device then it becomes real easy to expand the usage of the device for other content like books. Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like that is the plan for Amazon.

  38. I’ll wait for it all to converge thanks… oh it already has… hello cellphone. The Japanese already read novels on their phones – and pay for them. Can’t see me lugging a reader around too.

  39. I’ll wait for it all to converge thanks… oh it already has… hello cellphone. The Japanese already read novels on their phones – and pay for them. Can’t see me lugging a reader around too.

  40. The first time I looked at it, it was ugly to look at. Forget the price, by its looks, I don’t even intend to try it out and explore its capabilities.

  41. The first time I looked at it, it was ugly to look at. Forget the price, by its looks, I don’t even intend to try it out and explore its capabilities.

  42. David,

    So a mobile phone is a paper book converged with ehm… what, actually?

    Convergence is not about dividing the form factor by 5. Sure, the Japanese read off their mobiles, but that doesn’t make it the best reading experience ever.

    I have a sony reader, and it has exactly what one would expect from an electronic book replacement.

    Unfortunately it’s not much more than that. I’d like to have something more of an umpc but with e-ink that’s easy on eyes. That would be book convergence. But your convergence claim is like “tablespoon = spade & teaspoon converged”.

  43. David,

    So a mobile phone is a paper book converged with ehm… what, actually?

    Convergence is not about dividing the form factor by 5. Sure, the Japanese read off their mobiles, but that doesn’t make it the best reading experience ever.

    I have a sony reader, and it has exactly what one would expect from an electronic book replacement.

    Unfortunately it’s not much more than that. I’d like to have something more of an umpc but with e-ink that’s easy on eyes. That would be book convergence. But your convergence claim is like “tablespoon = spade & teaspoon converged”.

  44. You’d think that the ability to receive e-mail would allow you to forward rss feeds to the Kindle — until you realize that, apparently, each e-mail to the Kindle will cost 10 cents.

    FAIL.

  45. You’d think that the ability to receive e-mail would allow you to forward rss feeds to the Kindle — until you realize that, apparently, each e-mail to the Kindle will cost 10 cents.

    FAIL.

  46. Why would I want a closed-format ebook reader when I can read any format I want on my phone? Sure, there’s something to be said for the display, but mobile devices (iPhone, Treo, you name it) are getting much better in that department. Plus, that’s one less device to carry in my bag. I can read all those blogs (and more) for free on my mobile device. In fact, it’s one reason I sprung for a nice one this summer: I was able to replace my handheld and cell phone with a single device.

    Perhaps once more details are available (and the price drops) one may have some appeal. I’m with Ayrkain (#6): E-readers stand a good chance of taking off once textbooks are available. I can see plenty of problems with that, though. (Publishers will want DRM, and students will want e-textbooks to be affordable – at least as compared to the paper editions. Yep, I have a kid in college. When books run almost as high as tuition for community college, there’s a problem. I’m dreading when he moves to UTD.)

  47. Why would I want a closed-format ebook reader when I can read any format I want on my phone? Sure, there’s something to be said for the display, but mobile devices (iPhone, Treo, you name it) are getting much better in that department. Plus, that’s one less device to carry in my bag. I can read all those blogs (and more) for free on my mobile device. In fact, it’s one reason I sprung for a nice one this summer: I was able to replace my handheld and cell phone with a single device.

    Perhaps once more details are available (and the price drops) one may have some appeal. I’m with Ayrkain (#6): E-readers stand a good chance of taking off once textbooks are available. I can see plenty of problems with that, though. (Publishers will want DRM, and students will want e-textbooks to be affordable – at least as compared to the paper editions. Yep, I have a kid in college. When books run almost as high as tuition for community college, there’s a problem. I’m dreading when he moves to UTD.)

  48. Re: Portability,

    Books aren’t music. If I have 100 CDs with me at all times that’s great, because I might want to re-listen to any song on those CDs. How does that compare to books? Unless you’re going to be stuck on a desert island why would you need 100 books with you? Are you going to re-read all those books? Are you going to re-read all those books at the same time?

    Portability makes sense in music because the replay value for music is much, much higher. You can listen to the same song, as part of a playlist, thousands of times a week. Can the same be said of a book? No.

    e-books are stupid, and so any e-book reader will be stupid as well.

  49. Re: Portability,

    Books aren’t music. If I have 100 CDs with me at all times that’s great, because I might want to re-listen to any song on those CDs. How does that compare to books? Unless you’re going to be stuck on a desert island why would you need 100 books with you? Are you going to re-read all those books? Are you going to re-read all those books at the same time?

    Portability makes sense in music because the replay value for music is much, much higher. You can listen to the same song, as part of a playlist, thousands of times a week. Can the same be said of a book? No.

    e-books are stupid, and so any e-book reader will be stupid as well.

  50. SO Robert, how much does someone make when someone subscribes to their blog on it? And is it hard to get a new blog on the list? (Not that anyone is likely to pay for my blog of course. :-( )

  51. SO Robert, how much does someone make when someone subscribes to their blog on it? And is it hard to get a new blog on the list? (Not that anyone is likely to pay for my blog of course. :-( )

  52. Getting a new blog on the list? Shouldn’t be hard. Although I’m sure they have some process to go through because their directory isn’t all that great (at least the one on the Web site isn’t).

  53. Getting a new blog on the list? Shouldn’t be hard. Although I’m sure they have some process to go through because their directory isn’t all that great (at least the one on the Web site isn’t).

  54. I’d have to agree with Rex. For the same price I can get either an ipod touch or an iphone (and a new monthly bill). Going with EVDO only had to be a cost saving measure, along with UI simplicity… because there are lots of places in the country that can’t get EVDO. I have not seen whether the evdo will work where sprint falls back to roaming agreements.

    My in-laws might like something like this, but they live rural Vermont. It will be interesting to see what other ways books can get to the reader… just load them up on a flash card?

    If I am going to spend $400, it will be on an iphone. I’d rather be able to read any blog and follow links and use google reader. Kindle seems to be a one trick pony. Contrary to their video ads, it would end up being one more thing in my luggage.

  55. I’d have to agree with Rex. For the same price I can get either an ipod touch or an iphone (and a new monthly bill). Going with EVDO only had to be a cost saving measure, along with UI simplicity… because there are lots of places in the country that can’t get EVDO. I have not seen whether the evdo will work where sprint falls back to roaming agreements.

    My in-laws might like something like this, but they live rural Vermont. It will be interesting to see what other ways books can get to the reader… just load them up on a flash card?

    If I am going to spend $400, it will be on an iphone. I’d rather be able to read any blog and follow links and use google reader. Kindle seems to be a one trick pony. Contrary to their video ads, it would end up being one more thing in my luggage.

  56. Long time building e-reader (Japan is showing prototypes since 1997 as I recall).

    Items to consider:
    - Books also represent status. It shows all that knowledge that you own and is now in your bookshelf.
    - People make some notes on books. I don’t see that anyone predicted this “feature”.
    - Consumers should be able to buy from anywhere of the world. I can’t buy music from iTunes because my country doesn’t have a store yet.

  57. Long time building e-reader (Japan is showing prototypes since 1997 as I recall).

    Items to consider:
    - Books also represent status. It shows all that knowledge that you own and is now in your bookshelf.
    - People make some notes on books. I don’t see that anyone predicted this “feature”.
    - Consumers should be able to buy from anywhere of the world. I can’t buy music from iTunes because my country doesn’t have a store yet.

  58. Robert only you would hear from Amazon about them charging people for your product without asking if you were going to make money from it. You’re such a geek. (And I mean that in a good way.)

  59. Robert only you would hear from Amazon about them charging people for your product without asking if you were going to make money from it. You’re such a geek. (And I mean that in a good way.)

  60. Alfred: tell me about it. I saw this device and said “yes” when they asked if I wanted my blog on it. They sent me the taxID forms this morning, I still reading them to figure out what I get paid.

  61. Alfred: tell me about it. I saw this device and said “yes” when they asked if I wanted my blog on it. They sent me the taxID forms this morning, I still reading them to figure out what I get paid.

  62. Many bloggers give their blogs for free because bloggers want audience. I thought blog subscription is to cover up the bandwidth cost.

    But since they are asking your tax id, the blog subscription may be paying to bloggers too.

    Why can’t they have ads there to cover the bandwidth and provide the blogs for free which are anyway free online?

    They may end up changing blogger’s expectations.

    Robert, I am not going to pay for your or any blog for that matter. In some communities “audience” is considered providing the service and not the “presenter”, e.g., conferences.

  63. Many bloggers give their blogs for free because bloggers want audience. I thought blog subscription is to cover up the bandwidth cost.

    But since they are asking your tax id, the blog subscription may be paying to bloggers too.

    Why can’t they have ads there to cover the bandwidth and provide the blogs for free which are anyway free online?

    They may end up changing blogger’s expectations.

    Robert, I am not going to pay for your or any blog for that matter. In some communities “audience” is considered providing the service and not the “presenter”, e.g., conferences.

  64. Kamal: they are paying me 30% of the $.99 fee. I don’t expect to make much off of this. I doubt many people will buy this device to read blogs. I bought one, though, and will let you know tomorrow what I think of it.

  65. Kamal: they are paying me 30% of the $.99 fee. I don’t expect to make much off of this. I doubt many people will buy this device to read blogs. I bought one, though, and will let you know tomorrow what I think of it.

  66. Hmm,

    Universal reaction seems to be to look at the price (which will fall) and say its a bad thing…

    Is it too expensive? Well yes (-: But it may be cheap enough to get the ball rolling. Is it ugly? Well that’s the next one – reading on my laptop is possible but its not something I enjoy much and the form factor is not good. Reading on my phone? Screen is too small you spend all your time scrolling (this is a benefit of a book most people have missed!) its not possible to form a realistic opinion of the device until you have held one in your hand and read stuff on it this is the first and only place to start.

    Next question is how does this thing “add value” given that it has such a “practical” device to beat? Well I take a book a day on holiday – this adds up to a lot of volume in a hurry… and one has to make decisions about what to take and what to leave. At an even more basic level there are the current restrictions on carry on luggage – one device with lots of books on is going to make me happy. But really its still not quite there…

    No, where this thing actually has a cutting edge is not books but newspapers and magazines – if I could get my paper automagically delivered reasonably intact to a device I can read comfortably (without it having to live plugged into the mains) that would be a significant step forward – better form factor for the commute (that I don’t do any more) too.

    So that’s the hook… and I can read books on this thing too? Of course no use where I live because of the EV-DO thing )-:

  67. Hmm,

    Universal reaction seems to be to look at the price (which will fall) and say its a bad thing…

    Is it too expensive? Well yes (-: But it may be cheap enough to get the ball rolling. Is it ugly? Well that’s the next one – reading on my laptop is possible but its not something I enjoy much and the form factor is not good. Reading on my phone? Screen is too small you spend all your time scrolling (this is a benefit of a book most people have missed!) its not possible to form a realistic opinion of the device until you have held one in your hand and read stuff on it this is the first and only place to start.

    Next question is how does this thing “add value” given that it has such a “practical” device to beat? Well I take a book a day on holiday – this adds up to a lot of volume in a hurry… and one has to make decisions about what to take and what to leave. At an even more basic level there are the current restrictions on carry on luggage – one device with lots of books on is going to make me happy. But really its still not quite there…

    No, where this thing actually has a cutting edge is not books but newspapers and magazines – if I could get my paper automagically delivered reasonably intact to a device I can read comfortably (without it having to live plugged into the mains) that would be a significant step forward – better form factor for the commute (that I don’t do any more) too.

    So that’s the hook… and I can read books on this thing too? Of course no use where I live because of the EV-DO thing )-:

  68. Books do not run out of battery power.

    Books can be read while the polite stewardess informs others to turn off their electronic devices for takeoff.

    The nice girl walking by at the beach can glance down at the cover of the book you’re reading.

    Books make your coffee table look nice, and some books can in a pinch be turned into a coffee table.

    Books do not give off toxic fumes when recycled.

    Books can be lent out to friends.

    There is no such thing as Oprah’s Kindle Club.

    Books do not crash if ridden off the sidewalk.

    Wait. That last was my anti-Segway argument. Well, nevermind. This is the next Segway.

  69. Books do not run out of battery power.

    Books can be read while the polite stewardess informs others to turn off their electronic devices for takeoff.

    The nice girl walking by at the beach can glance down at the cover of the book you’re reading.

    Books make your coffee table look nice, and some books can in a pinch be turned into a coffee table.

    Books do not give off toxic fumes when recycled.

    Books can be lent out to friends.

    There is no such thing as Oprah’s Kindle Club.

    Books do not crash if ridden off the sidewalk.

    Wait. That last was my anti-Segway argument. Well, nevermind. This is the next Segway.

  70. They are charging $1.99 a month for your blog Robert. So figure .60 a month per person? It might help you pay for your Kindle but you are right – you’re not likely to get rich on it. Still every little bit helps with two kids to send through college one day.

  71. They are charging $1.99 a month for your blog Robert. So figure .60 a month per person? It might help you pay for your Kindle but you are right – you’re not likely to get rich on it. Still every little bit helps with two kids to send through college one day.

  72. Like I said before, go Sony Reader, all the better features, cheaper price, and without any of the Amazon forever-money-drip hooks. You are only “excited” as Amazon is courting bloggers and sending coin your way.

  73. Like I said before, go Sony Reader, all the better features, cheaper price, and without any of the Amazon forever-money-drip hooks. You are only “excited” as Amazon is courting bloggers and sending coin your way.

  74. Robert…

    Read the NEA’s report today on reading. We are a nation heading to a reading disaster. How can the Kindle help…maybe explore with your readers.

    Been reading you for several years. Keep it going!

    Ken…

  75. Robert…

    Read the NEA’s report today on reading. We are a nation heading to a reading disaster. How can the Kindle help…maybe explore with your readers.

    Been reading you for several years. Keep it going!

    Ken…

  76. Robert…

    I may have been too cryptic: National Endowment for the Arts, “To Read or Not to read”

    Ken…

  77. The page-turning aspect is the biggest selling point of real books now. You can keep your place with one finger, while thumbing back to that one passage (or keep multiple places with up to 4 fingers on one hand). Or how do you go back and forth between passages easily? And can you write in the margins on this Amazon Book Reader thing?

    I won’t buy an alternative “e-book” to books unless the (very small) device can flash up a digitized, fully touch controlled, 3-dimensional hologram-like representation of the actual book that I can then read while turning the pages. And even then, it’s hard to imagine how I would write in the margins…UNLESS! the device folded out into a portable (full-sized) keyboard from which I could type in the margins or insert comments within the text (a la Microsoft Word’s tracking/editing changes feature). And all this while losing none of it’s non-folded out functionality. (In addition to the whole 3-d hologram thing of course.)

    So yeah…in other words, I’ll be sticking with actual, tangible, printed books for a long time.

  78. The page-turning aspect is the biggest selling point of real books now. You can keep your place with one finger, while thumbing back to that one passage (or keep multiple places with up to 4 fingers on one hand). Or how do you go back and forth between passages easily? And can you write in the margins on this Amazon Book Reader thing?

    I won’t buy an alternative “e-book” to books unless the (very small) device can flash up a digitized, fully touch controlled, 3-dimensional hologram-like representation of the actual book that I can then read while turning the pages. And even then, it’s hard to imagine how I would write in the margins…UNLESS! the device folded out into a portable (full-sized) keyboard from which I could type in the margins or insert comments within the text (a la Microsoft Word’s tracking/editing changes feature). And all this while losing none of it’s non-folded out functionality. (In addition to the whole 3-d hologram thing of course.)

    So yeah…in other words, I’ll be sticking with actual, tangible, printed books for a long time.

  79. I want my library of computer reference books on it. I want some kind of easy lighting for low light as well as being able to read it outside. I couldn’t care less about fiction being on it though I might change my mind someday. But I have 5000+ books in my house and that includes lots of signed books by my favorite science fiction writers. Bezos was just on Charlie Rose pointing out that there was simply no way that the Kindle could match 100% of the book reading experience. But any good ebook reader should offer advantages over the standard paper book such as hyperlinking to definitions.

  80. I want my library of computer reference books on it. I want some kind of easy lighting for low light as well as being able to read it outside. I couldn’t care less about fiction being on it though I might change my mind someday. But I have 5000+ books in my house and that includes lots of signed books by my favorite science fiction writers. Bezos was just on Charlie Rose pointing out that there was simply no way that the Kindle could match 100% of the book reading experience. But any good ebook reader should offer advantages over the standard paper book such as hyperlinking to definitions.

  81. “go Sony Reader, all the better features”

    Except for one minor – but significant – detail which is the transparent internet connection which makes a huge difference to the utility of the device in several ways, you can’t forget a book acquired through amazon as you can fetch it down should you need to. You can get a book in a hurry if you need to. Newspapers and magazines. And of course the acquired library is backed up.

    Which is why its too expensive – you’re not just buying the device you’re also paying once, upfront, for lifetime infrastructure support of the device.

    Not perfect, not going to wipe the printed book from the face of the earth, but whether this iteration lives or dies it will be significant in introducing the notion of the permanent connection and the fact that your library is in the cloud not in the device.

  82. “go Sony Reader, all the better features”

    Except for one minor – but significant – detail which is the transparent internet connection which makes a huge difference to the utility of the device in several ways, you can’t forget a book acquired through amazon as you can fetch it down should you need to. You can get a book in a hurry if you need to. Newspapers and magazines. And of course the acquired library is backed up.

    Which is why its too expensive – you’re not just buying the device you’re also paying once, upfront, for lifetime infrastructure support of the device.

    Not perfect, not going to wipe the printed book from the face of the earth, but whether this iteration lives or dies it will be significant in introducing the notion of the permanent connection and the fact that your library is in the cloud not in the device.

  83. I think Robert is into this because he is NOT the kind of person who reads books. The people who are skeptical largely are. We know the benefits of books quite well. Two important unanswered questions are how many publishers will agree to be Kindled, and how much of their collections will be made available. I, and many others, would be reluctant to buy without that information.

    I find my iPhone sufficient for most on the go without my laptop reading of news and blogs. But, I nearly always have a book with me, too.

  84. I think Robert is into this because he is NOT the kind of person who reads books. The people who are skeptical largely are. We know the benefits of books quite well. Two important unanswered questions are how many publishers will agree to be Kindled, and how much of their collections will be made available. I, and many others, would be reluctant to buy without that information.

    I find my iPhone sufficient for most on the go without my laptop reading of news and blogs. But, I nearly always have a book with me, too.

  85. I think Robert is into this because he is NOT the kind of person who reads books.

    Well, good point, but I don’t think it extends beyond Amzaon courting him and promising some dollars. Bloggers only see things they are spoon-fed. And all the people fawning over Amazon’s offering seem clueless per any other devices. Indeed, no one mentioned the iRex Iliad (2.11), which is neck and neck with the new 505 Reader, maybe even besting, depending on your uses of, freaking expensive sucker however, but the Linux 3rd party development extends it well beyond Sony, and you get a “cloud” that is open to the world, not just Amazon’s locked-in fake playlands.

    PS – Anyone complaining hard about Sony Reader DRM, doesn’t own one, as it’s easily overcome, thanks to good ole’ convert-lit. :)

  86. I think Robert is into this because he is NOT the kind of person who reads books.

    Well, good point, but I don’t think it extends beyond Amzaon courting him and promising some dollars. Bloggers only see things they are spoon-fed. And all the people fawning over Amazon’s offering seem clueless per any other devices. Indeed, no one mentioned the iRex Iliad (2.11), which is neck and neck with the new 505 Reader, maybe even besting, depending on your uses of, freaking expensive sucker however, but the Linux 3rd party development extends it well beyond Sony, and you get a “cloud” that is open to the world, not just Amazon’s locked-in fake playlands.

    PS – Anyone complaining hard about Sony Reader DRM, doesn’t own one, as it’s easily overcome, thanks to good ole’ convert-lit. :)

  87. There are things to reading an actual book – like being able to flip through actual pages for one – that eBooks can’t duplicate. Add to that a $400+ price tag, and it’s a definite no thanks for me.

  88. There are things to reading an actual book – like being able to flip through actual pages for one – that eBooks can’t duplicate. Add to that a $400+ price tag, and it’s a definite no thanks for me.

  89. “For $400 this device is pretty damn remarkable. It can be read out in bright sunlight (my $3,000 Mac can’t do that).”

    And yes, Scoble can’t let the opportunity to bash Apple pass him by. I am sure that his $3000 Dell can’t be read out in bright sunlight either.

  90. “For $400 this device is pretty damn remarkable. It can be read out in bright sunlight (my $3,000 Mac can’t do that).”

    And yes, Scoble can’t let the opportunity to bash Apple pass him by. I am sure that his $3000 Dell can’t be read out in bright sunlight either.

  91. Dreadnought: I don’t have a $3,000 Dell, so that would be an incorrect statement. I do have a Sony Vaio, and that doesn’t work outside in bright sunlight either.

  92. Dreadnought: I don’t have a $3,000 Dell, so that would be an incorrect statement. I do have a Sony Vaio, and that doesn’t work outside in bright sunlight either.

  93. i will agree with several others here – the damned thing is fugly. What the hell were they thinking? Do they have any industrial designers in that company?

  94. i will agree with several others here – the damned thing is fugly. What the hell were they thinking? Do they have any industrial designers in that company?

  95. Robert, I suspect those books are just sitting there. Many upper middle-class people have libraries because they think they are supposed to. But, they are not readers. I don’t know enough about Maryam to fancy whether she is a reader. But, I know you are not.

  96. Robert, I suspect those books are just sitting there. Many upper middle-class people have libraries because they think they are supposed to. But, they are not readers. I don’t know enough about Maryam to fancy whether she is a reader. But, I know you are not.

  97. Sony Reader will appreciate the competition from Kindle and improve its navigation and hyperlink capabilities. It is not good for Textbook because of these deficiencies. That said, anyone who wants this kind of device is not really put off by lack of wireless — speed is not an issue when you are downloading books that take weeks to read. I have the 500, it’s been great for reading TOMES (1000+ pages) and things that are too bulky to carry on the subway. If I want a magazine, I buy it so I can dribble on it while eating.

  98. Sony Reader will appreciate the competition from Kindle and improve its navigation and hyperlink capabilities. It is not good for Textbook because of these deficiencies. That said, anyone who wants this kind of device is not really put off by lack of wireless — speed is not an issue when you are downloading books that take weeks to read. I have the 500, it’s been great for reading TOMES (1000+ pages) and things that are too bulky to carry on the subway. If I want a magazine, I buy it so I can dribble on it while eating.

  99. Podesta: interesting how you +know+ what I do at home. Do you have a web cam watching my every move?

    Maryam’s an english major who graduated with honors from Cal Berkeley. She reads a LOT of books.

  100. Podesta: interesting how you +know+ what I do at home. Do you have a web cam watching my every move?

    Maryam’s an english major who graduated with honors from Cal Berkeley. She reads a LOT of books.

  101. One can tell a lot from observing someone online for a period of weeks or months. That is especially true if the observed is someone who’s entire universe is himself. I know you are not a reader by the evidence. You write poorly. People who are avid readers are also usually better than average writers. You do not talk about having read books or make literary allusions. Readers do. You do not have a grasp of history or how things came to be the way they are. Readers of non-fiction or literary fiction do, partly because they were the kind of students who sought out such information in high school and college, partly because they still seek out such information.

  102. One can tell a lot from observing someone online for a period of weeks or months. That is especially true if the observed is someone who’s entire universe is himself. I know you are not a reader by the evidence. You write poorly. People who are avid readers are also usually better than average writers. You do not talk about having read books or make literary allusions. Readers do. You do not have a grasp of history or how things came to be the way they are. Readers of non-fiction or literary fiction do, partly because they were the kind of students who sought out such information in high school and college, partly because they still seek out such information.

  103. ROFL! You are often (unintentionally) funny, Robert!

    I am also amused that it took you a whole week to read two lightweight books on the Kindle.

  104. ROFL! You are often (unintentionally) funny, Robert!

    I am also amused that it took you a whole week to read two lightweight books on the Kindle.

  105. Podesta: heheh, if Alan Greenspan is “lightweight” reading I’m glad I’m not you. You reading chemistry textbooks on yours or something similarly dense?

    Finally, glad to know you have so much time for reading books. I, on the other hand, have a new kid here, a bunch of relatives staying at the house, and a job to keep up with.

  106. Podesta: heheh, if Alan Greenspan is “lightweight” reading I’m glad I’m not you. You reading chemistry textbooks on yours or something similarly dense?

    Finally, glad to know you have so much time for reading books. I, on the other hand, have a new kid here, a bunch of relatives staying at the house, and a job to keep up with.