Lots of ‘net chatter today about Amazon’s about-to-be-released e-paper reader, dubbed Kindle, much of it touched off by an in-depth piece in Newsweek. A couple of days back, I mentioned that I haven’t seen a reader yet that has made me consider giving up on ink-on-paper books.
But this one comes close, thanks to wireless connectivity, some limited web browsing features, etc. From the few photos that are out there, it looks clunky and not the type of thing you can stuff in a backpack.
Some of the reaction on the net:
• I’m with Mathew Ingram in being puzzled by one of the services that will be available: the ability to subscribe, for a price, to some select blogs (no names yet). Blogs are free to read on the ‘net, after all. Are we seeing the initial stage of the emergence of a two-tiered (paid vs. free) blogosphere? I can’t see it.
• Howard Owens points to another service available — newspaper subscriptions — and expresses some skepticism about the value to newspapers and readers. The biggest difference, he rightly points out, is the difference in format between the book (page flowing after page) and the newspaper (distinct chunks of information). Inkless paper is coming, eventually, to newspapers, but I don’t think this is it. Although, if folks are willing to watch videos on the screens of their cellphones, who knows what they’ll put up with?
• Will Richardson likes the idea of the new reader, but he’s also looking beyond it and wondering if connected “ebooks” means there will be connected readers? Always-on book clubs? Interesting.
• Finally, Thomas Claburn at Information Week, thinks this is a bad idea. If you can stand some really annoying ads, you might want to give it a read.