Techies Assess Amazon’s ‘Book Industry iPod’

January 12, 2008 12:01 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
With the debut of Kindle, the largest online bookseller enters the race to market the first commercially successful electronic-book reader. Amazon hopes that Kindle will do for e-book publishing what iPods did for mp3 players.

30-Second Summary

Looking like a small computer or an albino Blackberry with an overgrown screen, Kindle went on sale in November.

It was designed to permit the comfortable reading of electronic text and can store over 90,000 books, as well as newspapers and blogs, all of which can be downloaded from a wireless Internet connection.

The content is delivered through Amazon’s WhisperNet, which, as founder and head of Amazon Jeff Bezos explains, “is built on Sprint’s EVDO network … there is no data plan, no multi-year contract, no monthly bill."

According to Amazon, at less than 10.3 ounces, Kindle is lighter than a paperback and is thinner too.

The Wall Street Journal
’s technology reviewer Walter S. Mossberg writes that while he loves how easy it is to shop and download with Kindle, he is not too impressed with the device itself. “While it has good readability, battery life and storage capacity, both its hardware design and its software user interface are marred by annoying flaws,” Mossberg writes.

On the other hand, PC Magazine considers how Kindle might affect the publishing world and judges the new gadget to be the “e-books best chance at getting back in the game.” PC Magazine gives Kindle four out of five points in its ranking.

Overall, the consensus among technology wonks seems to be that while the Kindle is the best e-book device so far, it costs too much and is too clunky to become the iPod of the publishing industry.

Headlines: Kindle, the new iPod?

Analysis: Publishing’s electronic future

Opinion: The reviews

Reference Material: Sony Reader reviews, Project Gutenberg and Mobipocket

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