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The Moral Animal.
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So what do we all make of Amazon's Kindle?

A wireless reading device with 'electronic paper' display, that lets you download books (and international newspapers) from Amazon and read them immediately; and without any monthly fee. It also has free access to Wikipedia.

My gut reaction was that it would never catch on (especially at $400), but I can see some of the attraction - it'd be fantastic if you were on holiday, for one thing.

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Reed
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I want one.

When it gets cheaper.

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Matej
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A lot of techie sites are bitchin' about it (for some sharing/file format problems or something), but reading books electronically doesn't really appeal to me.

Listening to books, yes, but there are lots of ways to do that already.

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The Moral Animal.
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Well, a couple of the main problems are highlighted here:


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Jimski
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The format thing is the killer. Books are different even from (recorded) music in this regard. With recorded music you've always been stuck with needing something to translate the format into sound. With paper books, all you need is your eyesight and literacy. Electronic formats notoriously fall by the wayside. And quickly. Try to get a reader for a 25 (say) year old format, and you'll be struggling.
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Inca
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The whole proprietary use thing will be its downfall, I think.
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Jimski
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Yeah, I wasn't talking about the Kindle itself so much as the idea of electronic books (and whether they can replace paper books) in general.
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Not me
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I don't know, since being ill recently I've developed a pretty heavy screen aversion that I don't think any electronic medium could surpass. Every office worker in the world stares at screens all day long, and as people read primarily to step outside their daily grind I don't think (admittedly, not having seen one in action) any gadget's going to be that appealing. You can already stick something to read on your laptop for free if you're travelling, or probably on your phone if it's not a "retro phone" (ie dates back to 2002) like mine.

I was about to say that I can see how something like this could work as an alternative to newspapers, with the shorter, bittier nature of their copy; but even then you couldn't use it in the bath, you'd be apprehensive about tucking something that expensive under your arm and running for a bus, and there's no way to draw a cock on John Harris's forehead.

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Reed
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I'd love to have it to save space, instead of all of these magazines and books piling up and slowly taking over my apartment.

And it would be great for storing various documents and stuff I need for work. Bigger and more readable than a blackberry or iphone, but not as cumbersome as a laptop. Plus, it works on the cell system not wifi, which is a plus.

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Coffy
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I do envy younger people, who will be building totally intangible music collections. It was a big pain to have to move quantities of CDs, cassettes, and lots of vinyl when I bought my house. So the idea of having one's book collection on a machine is a bit tempting, meaning no need to buy bookcases or find a place to put them, although it does mean no checking out your friend's bookshelves when you visit.

The other downsides were already mentioned. It would also be pretty sad not to be able to say to a friend, "I loved this book. Want to borrow it?" People I know share books all the time.

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goldstone97
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Well, if the "book" is in an open format, you could just send it to their (something better than Kindle) electronic book reading device instead.

The Kindle looks ugly, like it was designed in 1999, and is unnecessarily limited. And who's going to pay for blogs?

In general, e-paper's surely got a big future but this device isn't for me, for many of the reasons listed already here.

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The Moral Animal.
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The books aren't in an open format, I don't think - they're a special Kindle format, which is one of the criticisms.
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goldstone97
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Yeah, that's what I meant by saying "something better than Kindle", just addressing Jimski's point about ebooks in general. Obviously not very clearly, though.

Edit: Jimski, not Inca.

[ 05.12.2007, 21:47: Message edited by: goldstone97 ]

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The Moral Animal.
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Ah sorry, my fault for not looking at the context. I agree with you about it being ugly - but apparently it's a lot nicer looking when you have it in your hand.

Another factor is that - a bit like the iPhone - I'd feel a bit vulnerable carrying around something so obviously expensive and portable on public transport, or the likes. I might just be being a tad paranoid, though!

[ 05.12.2007, 21:58: Message edited by: The Moral Animal. ]

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bryanattoni
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I can see these, or something like these (but better), catching on at schools. I'm sure I still have spinal problems from bringing a backpack full of heavy textbooks around with me as a kid.
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