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The Cult of Kindle 283

Posted by Zonk
from the they-sound-like-gamers dept.
DaMan writes "ZDNet's Hardware 2.0 blog is pondering the Kindle this week. There have been many attempts at an ebook reader in the past; why does Amazon think it can do any better? Given the high cost and DRM issues, will cachet be enough to win them financial success? Will the 'Cult of Kindle' help guarantee Amazon's success in the ebook reader market? 'A group of people willing to give it a five star rating just because someone else didn't, willing to back up every design, engineering and marketing decision that Amazon made, willing to defend the Kindle with their last dying breath. The Kindle doesn't cost money, it saves money. That 0.75 second flash as the pages turn isn't a downside because it gives you an opportunity to take in the previous page. It doesn't harm your eyes, in fact, it fixes them. Ergonomic issues that other reviewers have bought up are dismissed by the Cult of Kindle as flaws with the reviewer, not the device. The Kindle is perfect, and the Kindle 2.0 will be a little more perfect.'"
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The Cult of Kindle

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  • by Petronius.Scribe (1020097) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:41AM (#21611963) Homepage
    I didn't realise the Kindle was made by Apple.
  • by confu2000 (245635) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:42AM (#21611971)
    Almost every product has them. I think even the Zune has two.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by PriceIke (751512)

      Fanboys is one thing .. but it sure didn't take long for someone to label them a "cult". I personally was very excited about the device until I learned about its DRM and behavior-watching aspects. That is enough to make me warn people away from the device.

      I think the best thing for the ebook industry would be for Apple to release a tablet-style device for this purpose. DRM would be tolerable (and fully circumventable), the device's design would be much more elegant and practical, and it would operate much

      • Sony isn't any better than the rest when it comes to DRM/keep the customer tight/buy, it's all we care.

        Of course I have no GSM in the reader, but I don't need it, do I ?

        and you have a plethora of tools working under linux to make your books and mangas compatible.

        300US $. and then you take the books wherever you want, even on Sony's book library (bastards offer you "free" books from their "classical collection", everything you can get for free on Gutemberg...).

        So, Kindle was a miss for me. I don't need a gad
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:54AM (#21613001) Homepage Journal

          (btw, if you have way more money than me, have a look at Irex second iteration of their epaper. A4 format, tablet functions, wifi..700 or 800 US$)
          I bought an iLiad with some unexpected income. It's the most wonderful device, and if iRex can survive the almost certain efforts of Apple or Sony to "acquire" the company, I can see this being one of the most popular bits of personal technology. I'm hoping that future versions have some slightly more advanced editing ability, which would make marking up manuscripts a breeze.

          If you haven't seen this baby [wikipedia.org] you really should take a look, and be sure to click through to some of the photographs of it with the link at the bottom.

          I absolutely will not, under any circumstances, willingly purchase a device that uses DRM or locks me into using one vendor to buy books the way Amazon's Kindle does. Not when it's so easy to make a device that does what I want it to do instead of what the vendor wants to be done to me.
          • by emj (15659)
            Sadly it's alost the most expensive of the devices as well. It works very well to read non DRM:d material on the Kindle and the eReader, it's just not http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobipocket [slashdot.org] sure it's better as DRM but not good enough.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by davidsyes (765062)
            Sounds like Amazon (and proprietary/DRM-enforcing reader makers) are saying "Read it and WEEP"...
      • by dindi (78034)
        Hmm, besides the DRM I've read, that it is not that easy to just drop a document on it, and converter tools are less than perfect.

        Would be nice just to have a device that reads html and PDF without the DRM crap.

        For me the backlight is missing. I know it is to reduce eye strain, but it would be a good feature too.

        • by hansonc (127888) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:52AM (#21612967) Homepage
          Guess what, books don't have backlights either. Unless you've actually seen the e-ink technology it's hard to understand but a backlight would suck on a device like this. Stop in a Borders bookstore sometime, I've seen the Sony e-reader on display at a few of them and it will show you that it doesn't make sense to add a backlight to the product.

          Battery life with a backlight is a whole different issue.

          That being said, as much as it pains me to say I'd rather by the Sony e-reader than the Kindle. Somehow it just seems less restrictive.... who would have thought Sony would get it more right than Amazon.com?
      • by rbanffy (584143)
        To me, the inability to function as a printer and the utter incompetence on displaying PDFs renders both the Kindle and Sony's offerings more or less useless.

        I really want a reader that can zoom-in and out of PDFs, search on its contents and pretend to be both a usb disk when you want to transfer files and a printer when you just need to print something to it (where it becomes a PDF file you can read from the disk part) and that doesn't cost more than a fully functional notebook computer.

        Is that too much to
        • > To me, the inability to function as a printer and the utter incompetence on displaying PDFs renders both the Kindle
          > and Sony's offerings more or less useless.

          Two factors prevent this in the current generation. The e-ink screens are SLOW. Not lcd slow, but hundreds of milliseconds slow. Panning and scrolling around a PDF would be a nightmare and the current generation is orders of magnitude to low in both the resolution and size departments to present an 8.5x11" page in a readable form.

          Then there
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I think that Apple should release a software update for their iPods that lets them be used as an eBook reader. I don't really want to carry around another device just to read a book. I'm already carrying around my iPod. Ny current iPod Nano 3G has enough battery power for me to watch 5 hours of video, I'm sure it could get a couple more hours when using it as an ebook reader. That's more than enough to cover my reading for the day, until I can charge it at night. I watch a lot of video on my iPod, and
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Nalanthi (599605)
          The feature you are looking for are iPod Notes. The only problem is that they are rather text limited. There are programs out there that will split your text document into correctly sized chunks and embed hotlinks to the next and previous notes at the bottom of the note. For a bare bones online converter, look here: http://www.ipod-notes.com/ [ipod-notes.com]
        • by Firethorn (177587)
          maybe, maybe not, but wouldn't you consider the size of the display a bit small?

          I already don't take much time for a single page of a paperback, but while I think that a paperback has an acceptable amount of text on a page, I don't see how something with like 25% of display area would be good.
          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            It wouldn't be optimal, but it would be a nice alternative to paying $400 for the giant kindle device. As long as it could flip "pages" fast enough, it wouldn't really be a problem. When you read a paperback novel, you have to move your eyes back to the beginning of the line every time you finish the previous line, and your eyes have to move even more when switching pages. I've seen studies that say you can read much faster if your eyes don't have to move over the page. I think the iPod could actually of
        • I've got it on my phone and it's pretty good. I think only does plain text, but if you get most of your books from Gutenberg or other DRM-free sources, ASCII-only is a trivial weakness.

          Overall, I'm pretty happy with my iPhone as a single-gadget solution. When I had a Treo, I appreciated the ability to read eBooks on my phone, (my main non-phone use) but really wasn't too happy with the browser experience. Having the ability to use OWA to check my work email wasn't an option with the (lame) Palm browser, whi
    • by JohnBailey (1092697) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:20AM (#21612469)

      Almost every product has them. I think even the Zune has two.
      There was.... right up to the "incident" The poor guy got two zunes and squirted himself to death.
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Churla (936633)
      To be honest,

      I have a Zune and actually do really like it. I recommend it to others who are looking for a portable music/media player. I don't go around ranting and attacking those who would detract from it though. Maybe i just don't have the drive to be a decent fanboy...
  • by explosivejared (1186049) <hagan.jared@g m a i l .com> on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:45AM (#21612001)
    Pass on this one. This is about the worst article trolling I've seen. All it does is attack a particular set of supporters of the project. It is designed purely to incite flamage. It's disgusting. Zonk please think before approving this crap. The article doesn't want to start a debate at all. It's already made all the conclusions in an extremely prejudiced manner. I'm sure there are supporters of the kindle for legit reasons, and if I was one of them I would be horribly offended!

    Disclaimer: I've never used the product in question or even amazon.com for that matter. This was just a particular revolting piece of garbage.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sunburnt (890890)

      I'm sure there are supporters of the kindle for legit reasons
      Well, the author points out the reasons given by those supporters, and then points out that they ignore the reasons why e-book readers have invariably failed before. He's not saying "Kindle suxxor," he's saying "This will never sell, especially for $400 bucks." How, exactly, is that flamage?
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        There is no way it should cost $400. You can get the 8 GB iPod Touch for $CDN 299. This thing only comes with 256 MB of memory (plenty for ebooks, but come on, it's 2007). It also looks like something out of the 80's.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by damaki (997243) *
      No, I don't think this is flamebait. It's more like an useless anti-fanboyism pointless and sour rant. It does not bring anything new, it just states what tests said and that strangely, ZOMG people can be satisfied by an imperfect product and not wait for the next vaporware E-Reader.
    • by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:38AM (#21612733) Homepage
      I've always has the impression that slashdot posts stupid articles on hot topics because it is a little more subtle than saying "Kindle: Discuss."

      Slashdot is a discussion site, not a news site, if you haven't realized yet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bastion_xx (233612)
      Disclaimer - I bought a Kindle. Actually, it's sitting right next to me while I download or convert some books from http://manybooks.net./ [manybooks.net.]

      I do a lot of traveling and invariably end up taking a paperback and hardback with me and have been looking at readers for some time. I was getting close to buying the Sony 505, and then read up on the Kindle. *For me*, it fits my needs.

      Is there great stuff about the Kindle? Yeah! is there mediocre to bad stuff ($400 price)? Sure thing. But in the creature comfort/benefit
  • by Sunburnt (890890)
    Alright, Amazon, I'm only going to tell you this one more time. People who don't like books aren't going to come around if you put them on a screen. People who like books like, well, BOOKS. And as the reviewer points out, $400 is a load of money for what is essentially a blank, fragile, battery-powered book.
    • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:00AM (#21612223)
      And as the reviewer points out, $400 is a load of money for what is essentially a blank, fragile, battery-powered book.

      To be fair, it's also a cell phone that you can't make or receive calls with.

      I wonder how much more affordable the Kindle could have been if they had cut the EV-DO radio and network stack from the hardware design, and didn't have to incorporate the cost of a lifetime service agreement with Sprint into the price of the unit?

      People don't seem to have any problem plugging their MP3 players into a USB port every once in a while to synchronize new content; so who decided that it customers would not tolerate doing the same thing with an e-Book reader?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by john83 (923470)

        People don't seem to have any problem plugging their MP3 players into a USB port every once in a while to synchronize new content; so who decided that it customers would not tolerate doing the same thing with an e-Book reader?
        Truth is, people are going to change the content of an e-book far less often than an mp3 player, so if anything, they'll be even less bothered by that model. The wireless connection is pretty pointless.
        • by ivan256 (17499)
          I would think the people would change the content on a reader a lot *more* frequently.

          People typically don't add new music to their usual playlists very often (weekly if you're young, hardly ever if you're old?), but many people read daily periodicals. More and more people are starting to read things like blogs, which update several times daily... (And I'm not talking abour web surfing here.. Just reading static content on one site.)
      • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:37AM (#21612721)
        it fixes the end-to-end DRM problem. The device is completely locked.. but you don't have to put soul-stealing DRM on your PC desktop and beg permission every time you update either. You can buy a new book from anywhere, so they turned lock-down into a feature. I could see this being a method for delivering content like magazines and newspapers because of the push ability, that could save some publishers.

        What people REALLY want is something e-paper about 13x19 tabloid size at 300dpi & reflective that can roll up. Better yet, have 2-3 that network to share a books on different pages. The current e-books are too small to be useful for anything other than reading sitting down.. like a book, and don't have things like tabs to mark sections of multiple open books. For most "geeks" to use this instead of books (like say O'Reilly material) you'd need to have 6-10 books open and 5 places bookmarked in each with both pages visible and stacked so you can quickly switch between them... just like a stack of real book when working on a project. It also needs to be the 13x19 because without that it eliminates using it for any kind of blueprint/charting work (another thing people would pay big $$ for)
        • by alienw (585907)
          I don't really see the need to put ANY DRM on the PC. You could easily use a public-key encryption scheme, where the publisher simply encrypts a book for your particular device, and gives you the encrypted file. In that case, you could make the device look like a USB hard drive and manage it with any file manager. Books could be purchased using the device's serial number.
          • by Firethorn (177587)
            where the publisher simply encrypts a book for your particular device

            What happens when an accident occurs and you break the thing, or it's stolen? Even if you backed up your ebooks, they're now useless to you, and you're out $400+Books, rather than just $400, or even ~$40 for the 4-5 books you can carry around(or 1-2 hardcovers).

            That would kill it right there for me. Fortuantly, my books have no DRM*.

            You'd be better off to have some sort of account type system like iTunes. As a bonus, if your reader is s
      • > People don't seem to have any problem plugging their MP3 players into a USB port every once in a while to synchronize new content; so who decided that it customers would not tolerate doing the same thing with an e-Book reader?

        I've been assuming this is a DRM issue. If you control the media-insertion path (fnarr), then you've got a better shot at keeping the DRM from being cracked, because the user never has unrestricted access to the media-plus-key, and therefore can't attempt to separate the media fr
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zenmervolt (1199865)
        The Device Software will provide Amazon with data about your Device and its interaction with the Service (such as available memory, up-time, log files and signal strength) and information related to the content on your Device and your use of it (such as automatic bookmarking of the last page read and content deletions from the Device). Annotations, bookmarks, notes, highlights, or similar markings you make in your Device are backed up through the Service.

        That's what really disturbs me about the always-on
    • by laffer1 (701823)
      I don't think people understand the appeal. My wife and I asked for one for Christmas from my mother-in-law. My wife loves books. However, we have 4 bookshelves full of them and no more room to store books along with our other media and ridiculous number of old computers.

      This device can save storage space for books! That is the key selling feature to us. I agreed to it because I mostly buy computer books and Amazon actually has some. The sony product only has idiots and dummies books. It is limited t
    • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:23AM (#21612499) Journal
      Darn right, its like I've been telling the upstart RCA: People who don't like radio aren't going to come around if you put it on a screen. People who like radio like RADIOS.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sunburnt (890890)

        Darn right, its like I've been telling the upstart RCA: People who don't like radio aren't going to come around if you put it on a screen.

        That attempt at sarcasm would be funny, except that people never did come around to radio on the TV. TV developed its own content while radio maintained its dominance of music until the CD era. You lose more funny points by failing to note that radio is still a major form of portable music for most people, and for the same reasons that books are still the dominant for

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Extra points for you for recognizing it was partially joking, but I'm going to have to dock you points for not understanding that the early tv stars started off on radio. There were Radio serials that people used to sit around and listen to. Once Tv's were invented all most all of that content moved to tv leaving only music and a few news talk shows on radio.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sorak (246725)
      Although, if an affordable reader came out that could read normal PDFs, text files (ie, Project Gutenberg stuff), and web pages, with a reasonably-sized screen, then I would be interested. I don't know if the Kindle does this, but it does not fit my definition of "affordable". Maybe in a few years when google comes out with a similar g-something.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ivan256 (17499)
      Honestly, I don't buy that.

      Many people I know (including myself) who love books and want to love an ebook reader. Some day an ebook reader will succeed. We just haven't had one with all of the right features yet.

      I don't think $400 is too outrageous, but $200 would be better. The wireless features are a huge step in the right direction... But they still need to work on contrast, page turning speed, size, style, battery life (for an ebook reader this better be measured in "years". As an integer >= 1), capa
  • by TobyRush (957946) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:47AM (#21612033) Homepage

    The Kindle is perfect, and the Kindle 2.0 will be a little more perfect.

    Amazon has been watching the iPod and iPhone phenomena, and it wants the same thing. What company wouldn't? Whatever you say about Apple, they know how to make stuff sell.

    The quote above is exactly the fanboi-ism that Amazon is looking for: "This gadget has absolutely no flaws, except for whatever Amazon deems are flaws, and then we will curse those flaws after the fact."

    • by Sunburnt (890890) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:53AM (#21612109)

      Amazon has been watching the iPod and iPhone phenomena, and it wants the same thing.
      Then they're missing the point. Lots of folks like Apple because they're like a fashion brand - they have a well-cultivated media image based on unique design, appeals to hipness, and high prices. (No, I'm not saying that's all they have going for them. Hold your fire.) Amazon has a reputation for discount books and Super Saver Shipping. I don't see how they hope to translate that into getting suckers to part with $400 for a fragile and empty book.
      • Lots of folks like Apple because they're like a fashion brand - they have a well-cultivated media image based on unique design, appeals to hipness, and high prices. ... Amazon has a reputation for discount books and Super Saver Shipping. I don't see how they hope to translate that into getting suckers to part with $400 for a fragile and empty book.

        Your missing the point. When Apple licensed one click [ecommercetimes.com], neither Jobs nor Bezos wanted to spend any real money, so they decided on a technology swap. The onl

  • What about PDAs? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stompertje (927012) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:49AM (#21612049)
    I don't really get the whole ereader thing; sure the Iliad looks nice, but my Palm TX works perfectly. I have 4 ebook applications on it and combined with FontSmoother it looks great. I always have it with me (because it contains my calendar) and it plays MP3's at the same time. Why would I want to spend twice that money on a dedicated reader?
    • by FredDC (1048502)
      My thoughts exactly, why have a mobile phone, eReader, MP3 player, ... Just so you can carry all of it around with you? Personally I prefer just 1 device that can ahndle all these functions!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Sunburnt (890890)

      Why would Amazon want me to spend twice that money on a dedicated reader?
      There, I fixed your question so that the answer becomes more obvious - they just assume you're a fool with too much disposable income.
    • by peragrin (659227)
      the screen on these things are literally twice as big as the the average PDA. I have tried reading PDF's on PDA's. It is a pain, I just can't get comfortable in a chair trying to read more than the simplest of documents.

      I don't need the high res, the black and white eink displays are easy on the eyes. Try reading an entire novel on your PDA. The battery won't last through the entire book yet it will with one of these.

      The kindle though is fugly. It looks like MSFt designed it. Illiad isn't bad but way t
      • by Ajehals (947354)

        Try reading an entire novel on your PDA
        I have and do, both on an IPAQ h2200 at 240x320 (an OK Experience) and more recently on an IPAQ hx4700 with a 4" screen at 480x640. The hx4700 is ideal for book reading, you just don't get a page at a time.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Abreu (173023)

        Try reading an entire novel on your PDA. The battery won't last through the entire book yet it will with one of these.

        Ever since I got my Palm Zire (Im on my second now), my "books read per year" has improved greatly.

        Grant you, the small screen and 320x320 resolution takes time to get used to, but I can read almost any format (some need converting, but that's quite easy), but its cheaper than the Kindle and I can read any book I want, not only those that Amazon wants to sell me at a paperback price.

    • Re:What about PDAs? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bahwi (43111) <incoming&josephguhlin,com> on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:25AM (#21612525) Homepage
      Heavy backlights like PDAs and cell phones hurt a lot of people's eyes. The e-readers don't have that problem, (if it's the e-paper stuff) and has to be illuminated by a traditional light, like a book. I had a sony e-reader once and it was great, except the USB did not work. Sony suggested I unplug all my USB peripherals and only plug in the e-reader to make it work, which doesn't work when the mouse and keyboard are both USB. But it had problems, and hopefully everything will be fixed at some point and support will be improved.
    • Re:What about PDAs? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:56AM (#21613031) Homepage

      Why would I want to spend twice that money on a dedicated reader?

      Because the TX has a weeny little screen and some of us are old enough not to want to stare at weeny little screens for hours on end. Sure, I've read books on my Palm (a TX in fact), but it's not my Reader of Choice (which is, in fact, a paper book).

      I'm not particularly interested in doing anything with a Kindle other than disassembling it, but a decent E-reader just has to appear Real Soon Now (TM).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sootman (158191)
      I don't really get the whole ereader thing; sure the Iliad looks nice, but my Palm TX works perfectly.

      Gah! Why does this have to come up every single time?!?!? It's very simple: Different people like different stuff! OK?

      I've toyed with reading ebooks for over a decade--with my old Palm, with an Axim (with a gorgeous 640x480--200 DPI!!!--screen), and with my iPhone. None of them are any good for me. (Key words there--for me.) They don't show enough text at once and I just can't read it comfortably: I'm eit
  • No PDF support, less features than an iLiad. Lame.
  • by Radon360 (951529) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:54AM (#21612133)

    Ergonomic issues that other reviewers have bought up are dismissed by the Cult of Kindle as flaws with the reviewer, not the device.

    Attention reviewers buying ergonomic issues, I have a wonderful wholesale offer you can't refuse...

  • Paper Rules (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:56AM (#21612157) Homepage Journal
    Amazon has a problem in that, books are a "traditional" thing. Most of the books that Amazon sells are for personal enrichment and entertainment. I mean, there's more to a book than its content. Sure, if we're working and doing techy stuff, Google is good for finding things, but, if you want to just relax and unplug, a book is a beautiful thing. You hold in your hand a tradition of printing that goes back hundreds of years, of writing that goes back thousands. There's a whole literary culture floating out there, waiting for you to join it. For a brief time, when you do read a book, you do.

    Yes, you could argue, that an e-book could hold 10 million books. But, what of it? A book by itself is something that holds more than enough for you to read for a few hours, and you get the smell and feel of the paper, the binding, the immediacy, history and intimacy. An e-book is just another plastic appliance, lacking in craft.
    • by Sunburnt (890890) on Friday December 07, 2007 @09:58AM (#21612195)
      Plus, if the fascists take over, a mass e-book deletion is somewhat lacking as a visual symbol.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by spyrochaete (707033)
      One of these days mankind is going to have to forgo the luxury of killing trees because they smell nice. Why not today?

      I applaud manufacturers of eReaders. A perfect one hasn't come out yet but each new model seems to learn from the mistakes of the last. Nevertheless, a mini tablet PC fits in my pocket better than one book, never mind ten million of them.
      • by Asmodai (13932)
        And go with the luxury of using oil of creating plastics and to create energy, not to mention silica for the LCD displays?

        If you are trying to provide an argument from the environmentalist angle I'd suggest you'd look more at the manufacturing process of the Kindle and its energy use as well.
      • by timster (32400)
        One of these days mankind is going to have to forgo the luxury of killing trees because they smell nice.

        Why is that? We already grow lots of paper trees on paper tree farms, just like corn or wheat or whatever else.
      • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:47AM (#21612875) Homepage Journal
        One of these days mankind is going to have to forgo the luxury of killing trees because they smell nice. Why not today

        Trees are evil. They are always taller than we are, which means, they always look down on us. They hard and practically unbending, meaning they are inflexible.

        They stand before humanity, and mock them, continually. And yet, you support these things?

        I enjoy chopping down trees. The mighty axe puts any in its place, and I enjoy wood furniture and flooring as a symbol of my domination over nature.

    • An e-book is just another plastic appliance, lacking in craft.

      That's exactly what the slide rule and abacus devotees used to say about the computer. Fancy that.
    • by thebdj (768618)
      This sounds as bad as those "vinyl is better" arguments you hear from people when it comes to music. I guess the difference is you can sort of show how goes from an analog to digital format with the conversion of audio can affect quality. (Whether or not you can notice it is a different debate.) Here however, there is not some mysterious change in formats that alters the content of the material being read.

      This boils down to a form vs. function matter. Reading is reading, whether in a book or on an ele
      • The CD took over, despite the "warmth of vinyl" BS, because it was small, convenient, easy & fast. Insert in player, hit "play", it plays - and plays perfectly. Hit "next track" and you're there immediately without having to do anything else, without scratches or chipmunks.

        The Sony ebook reader, and apparently the Kindle, just isn't there yet: click "next page" and you have to wait, you can't just flip thru pages really really fast, and the page transition makes this horrible wierd flicker that lasts ju
    • The problem is the technology involved. Devices like the iPod have been successful because it's impossible to play pre-recorded music without some kind of powered device (whether that power is provided by a battery, mains power or a hand crank). There's always been a need for some form of technology, and that technology has been evolving continuously for centuries.

      Books don't require any powered device, meaning that the need for an e-reader just hasn't been there and hence very little development has ha

    • Ford has a problem in that, buggies are a "traditional" thing. Most of the buggies are for personal transportation. I mean, there's more to a buggy than a means of transportation. Buggies have a tradition that goes back hundreds of years--the wheel goes back thousands. There is a whole horse culture floating out there, waiting for you to join it. For a brief time, on a buggy, you do.

      Yes, you could argue, that the car is faster and more efficient. But what of it? A buggy by itself is something that works wel
    • by geekoid (135745)
      Man becomes emotionally attached to the illusion of history, refuses to give up buggy whip. News at 11!

      Wave line wavy line wavy line

      YEAR: 1910--

      "Yes, you could argue, that an automobile could travel at 10 miles an hour. But, what of it? A buggy whip by itself is something that you whip hard enough for you to get someplace in just a few hours, and you get the smell and feel of the leather, the horse, the immediacy, history and intimacy. An automobile is just another infernal contrivance, lacking in craft."
  • I don't know about you, but I think the writer sounds a little bitter. Someone should buy him a Kindle to cheer him up.
  • Now the ePaper thing is cool admittedly. The DRM is as cool as chilli peppers in Hades...

    But does anyone else think that the Kindle looks like an all white speak-and-spell? It really looks like a cheap 90's designed kids toy to me. And not in a retro way -- in a Made-in-Taiwan kind of way.
  • This has been happening since as far back as you might want to look. Reviews, and really anything news-y, says as much about the speaker as about the subject matter. Go ahead, look at reporting on politics, war, cars, computers, music, art, even the weather.

    There is no objective reporting. You can only report your understanding, and while you can be well-informed and well-rounded, you can't avoid subjectivity entirely. (Don't tell Ayn Rand!) The best you can do is be up-front about where you're coming from
  • Prediction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:04AM (#21612253)

    All eBook readers will come with heavy and draconian DRM (as mandated by the book agency) until one vendor (also with heavy and draconian DRM) significantly corners the market through a beautifully easy to use device, tied in store and large volume of works.

    This one company won't licence their DRM to anyone else and uses their huge market presence to force book publishers to accept the price points and the restrictions they want.

    Given that the only way to get books out to everyone with that reader and avoid partnering with the one big company, publishers will find themselves having to accept that they're going to have to start looking at DRM free books.

    Sound familiar?

    (All I can say is thank god for Apple not licensing their DRM. If they'd done a Microsoft and licensed it to everyone who asked, music publishers would never ever have been contemplating DRM free media)

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Dragee (881700)

      ...until one vendor (also with heavy and draconian DRM) significantly corners the market through a beautifully easy to use device, tied in store and large volume of works.

      Hmmm....who does this sound like? Apple, pay attention here. You're in a postition to totally take over this market, the way the ipod destroyed competition in the mobile mp3 player market. You already have the device (iPod/iPhone) that has a proven interface, reliability, and the hip/cool/somehow-still-elitist-even-though-everybody-has-one factor. You already built the store and delivery mechanism (iTunes) that everyone can use.

      Apple, do you want to own a developing new market in a month, when oth

  • If it doesn't have the scrolling feature of ReadThemAll [narod.ru] then it's not worth having. I've been using this app on a Palm for many years. I don't spend a whole lot of time reading on my Palm because I don't have a lot of down time outside of the house and I quite like pulling a book off the shelf when at home. But, I always have a bunch of Project Gutenberg text files loaded on my Palm and if I do get a boring moment the only app I would consider using is ReadThemAll.

    No other autoscrolling feature makes any se
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:18AM (#21612449)
    I do not own it, but I was able to borrow it for 48 hours.

    In reading other reviews, I think most of the reviews I have read are talking about the "eBook" concept in general. That, to me, is separate from a review of the Kindle. I have no idea of "eBooks" will catch on, or if people will generally like them. If you like the idea of an eBook, I thought the Kindle implemented the eBook concept quite nicely.

    I thought the platform was very nice. This is not a laptop, it is a book. And, for reading books, I thought it did a great job. I liked the the form factor for reading. It was comfortable to hold and comfortable for reading. I really liked the ability to "impulse buy" books. I only downloaded samples (as it wasn't my Kindle or Amazon account), but it was fast and enjoyable. I also liked the ability to change the font size. It allowed me to place the Kindle in a position that was comfortable on my arms and comfortable for my eyes. I really can't say I cared if it did PDF natively or not. I read PDF's on my laptop. I'm not sure why this has become some huge deal. I didn't feel Kindle was trying to replace all things paper.
  • I think what we're seeing here is the classic human behavior related to in-group vs. out-group. Like someone posted on the wikipedia thread a couple days ago.

    Basically, these people have bought the kindle and like it, or at least don't hate it enough to throw it away. What they really DO like is the fact that buying it puts them in a group of people who have a cool device and therefore they get a feeling of belonging. They identify part of their own self-worth with the "coolness" and value of the device

  • My boss bought a Kindle and let me play with it earlier this week and I've been meaning to write a review of my thoughts, but given this, maybe I shouldn't. ;)

    It's a really neat device and if you're a bookworm and do any sort of commuting (where you can read) or traveling, this device will provide an endless amount of entertainment. As long as you're connected - my boss later found out that the Sprint network doesn't work at his house. My boss also doesn't like the ergonomics: when you turn it over to tur
  • Personally, I find my PSP to be a fantastic book reader...all it takes is just two freeware programs (convert the PDF or LIT to fit the screen, held either normally or vertically) and then another program to convert each page into a jpeg (so you can view it, since the PSP doesn't have native PDF or LIT support) and bam, eReader. Works great, and the batter lasts for quit a long time using it in this manner.
    • by Pojut (1027544)
      and apparently, writing about it causes a large number of mistyped words as well...
    • by Is0m0rph (819726)
      I'll take my DS. R4 flash card, R4 reader or one of the other readers, convert the books to .txt. Good to go, read vertical like a book or horizontal. Works fine for me I don't ever see a need to buy a $400 book reader like the Kindle.
  • The press doesn't just get it. It's not the device, it's the store. With regard to the device, all they needed to do was not screw up, and by all reports they haven't.

    There are two immense difference between the Kindle and all previous ventures.

    First, the availability of titles is at least an order of magnitude larger than with any previous ventures. Themeans that the chances the title you want to buy is available is much higher.

    In my informal personal tests a few years ago, I found that that about 3/4 of t
  • I have no interest in Kindle - the lack of PDF support, and no pdf converters kind of killed it for me. I've got a smartphone which supports them, and considering PDF is now a standard formate its kind of inexcusable not to support it. The sony ebook reader supports pdf (albiet indirectly), and at least has a pretty decent converter to import pdf files into its native format. Sadly, the best is still the regular adobe reader I have on my junky old Ipaq. The added bonus? My ipaq displayes images in color.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      It does support PDF.

      At least according to Neil Gaiman:
      "http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2007/11/me-in-manila.html"

      • by scubamage (727538)
        It supports small, regular text heavy pdfs with a paid conversion. However, considering I like to keep all of my programming books with me, and they're all in pdf, that presents a problem. They aren't text heavy as much as they are code (very difficult to reflow) and image heavy. Plus it does very badly with large pdf files (+30 mb) which kind of cans the idea of using most of my OReilly books.
  • by RichardKaufmann (204326) on Friday December 07, 2007 @10:56AM (#21613025)
    I was given a Sony E-reader recently as part of an airline promotion. I was as skeptical as most in this thread about their utility, etc., but have become a bit of a convert:

    1. On vacation they're absolutely brilliant. I was out of the country for two weeks. The reader plus charger took almost no space, especially compared to the space ten or eleven books would have taken. I had my notebook with me as well, and was able to buy additional books -- which let me keep going on a series I particularly liked.

    2. The slow page refresh isn't terrible, and I gather the Kindle is faster than the Sony.

    3. I like the feel of the Sony reader. I suspect the Kindle is clunkier, but I defer to Pogue in the NYTimes who said it was fine. The screen works well in open daylight, and I quickly enough was able to ignore the medium and get into the content.

    4. It looks like Amazon is given customers a price break on e-books. Sony charges as much as a paper book.

    Bottom line: they're more useful than would appear to a non-user -- especially during travel.

    And to the cult thing: I suspect like most people, I am not particularly loyal to any online store. I am willing to pay *slightly* higher prices to Amazon for both the convenience and their excellent handling of (very rare) problems.
  • Why I got a Kindle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2007 @11:03AM (#21613139)
    I just got a Kindle, but I feel like both sides of the debate are being unreasonable. First, probably the reason that most people who buy the Kindle give it very good reviews is that they researched the issues with the Kindle beforehand and decided that those flaws didn't matter to them (I know I did, before I paid my $400). Those who give it horrible reviews decided the flaws made it not worth it to them. (I also suspect people are inflating their good reviews to compensate for all the 1-star reviews by the Kindle-haters).

    Now, why did I get the Kindle?

    First of all, the argument that book-readers like physical books isn't always true. I read a lot of law books (big, heavy, unwieldy things that are miserable to handle). I need to read the content. I hate the physical book. I have to lug several around with me when I travel (my backpack is fantastically heavy) and I can't read them in bed without wearing out my arms after a few minutes. The Kindle solves all of these problems. This applies not just to law books, though. Even moderately heavy hard-backed books are difficult to read in bed for long durations.

    As to the Kindle vs. other devices, I keep seeing people claiming that their iPhone is sufficient. Maybe they don't get eyestrain reading backlit lcds, but I do. The e-Paper is much easier on the eyes. It's not QUITE at the level of printed books (and you have to be a little forgiving of the typography--the Kindle doesn't seem to have a hyphenation dictionary), but I can read it for long durations without going blind.

    Finally, the biggest attraction for the Kindle is that it has the books I want or need to read. Amazon has law books (at least some, and hopefully more will be coming soon). They also have novels, etc. that I want to read. I looked into other e-books in the past and the major reason I didn't get them (even if their specs are better on paper) is because they don't have the content I want or need. The Kindle (mostly) does.

    As for the other issues, I would like PDF ability, but from what I understand there is no ebook reader that handles PDFs really well, and you CAN convert PDFs to Kindle's format if you need, though it is a hassle. The Kindle's web browser is decent, and makes a nice backup when I'm not around a WiFi spot, but there is Sprint service (and it's free). I also don't care about the looks of the Kindle (it actually looks better in person, I think, but even if it didn't, I want it for its function, not its form).

    Sure, the Kindle isn't for everyone. If you read mostly paperback novels, one at a time, the Kindle isn't for you. If you read enormous, unwieldy books that you have to lug across the country when you go home for Christmas vacation so that you don't fail your exams, the Kindle is wonderful. Same if you don't travel, but just like to read big, bulky books without having to sit up. Anyway, yes, there are legitimate reasons for the Kindle.
  • He's missing the point, which isn't the device itself, but How you get things to the device. I've talked about the content issue here [wordpress.com], which began a /. post.

    As for the idea that the Kindle "saves" money, it depends on whether the person with it primarily reads hardcover books they buy. If so, then it *might*. But that assumes the Kindle service doesn't disappear in four years, and it also assumes that readers are willing to pay for blogs and newspapers they mostly receive free online right now. In additio

  • by FellowConspirator (882908) on Friday December 07, 2007 @11:18AM (#21613403)
    The Sony Reader, is a better device for display, form-factor, battery life, format support (like PDF) and ergonomics, but lacks the cellular component. The Kindle is chunky, lots of buttons, smaller screen, etc. I wouldn't by either though since they are still fairly costly and both have crappy software (some of which is necessary to operate it, but still buggy).

    The next version of the Sony Reader has the possibility to be great, but Sony will complicate it rather than refine it and won't come up with a reasonable DRM scheme (which, iTunes, despite it's wrinkles, is perhaps the most palatable today).
  • The Kindle looks like a really remarkable little gadget, and perhaps I'd own one if it wasn't for one nagging thing: the price.

    All this hype now, positive and negative, only serves to keep the gadget in the limelight until the next generation is announced. That's when we'll see if it really has staying power, because like the iPod it should be tiered.

    It'll be those budget models that makes or breaks it. Remove the EVDO connection, shrink the screen a bit, and get the price down to $99 for the "mini" optio

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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