The future of books?

November 20, 2007 at 7:01 am (Books and Authors, Life gets in the way..., Shameless Plugs) (, )

Amazon Kindle

I heard, just today, about the brand new e-reader available from Amazon – the Kindle. From all accounts, this slimline, wireless, hand-held device can hold up to 200 books and has up to a week of battery time before you need to recharge (if you switch it off between uses and, I’m guessing, don’t read quite as much as I do). Now, I’ve had a look at it at Amazon’s own website and here are the few observations I’ve made right off the bat:


  1. It looks a little tacky to me – like some retro version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The white and grey plastic cover just looks slightly cheap. Now, if it were a smooth, sleek, brushed metal cover, it would look FAR more attractive and modern! This is supposed to be a revolutionary new device, but it looks like it was designed in the 80s.

  2. It costs $400. To me, this seems a little much for initial outlay, especially when there are other perfectly good e-readers out there for less than half the price. I even found a much nicer-looking one made by Sony for $299 and it has changeable covers available.

  3. It holds up to 200 books. What size of books? Are we talking thin novels of around 250 to 350 pages? If so, I read a LOT of books that are way heftier than that – anything from slimline volumes of 250 pages to hefty tomes that have a page count close to 1000 – that’s got to seriously change the amount of books it can carry, so I’m estimating that I’d probably be able to load between 75 and 100 onto mine, which is a big difference. Also, what do you do when you’ve read them all and want to download more? You have to pay for each book, so I don’t know about you, but I like to keep many of my books and re-read them. Where do I keep them when I’m done, so that I don’t lose them and have to pay a second time if I decide I want to read it again?

  4. It’s currently only available with a 2-pronged plug, so if I were to get one, I’d have to pay extra and get an adapter so that I could use it in the UK.

All that said, I’d still be interested in one. However, I’ll be waiting till the price comes down a bit and the plug is UK-friendly. It would certainly be great for sticking in my bag and reading on the go. At present I carry maybe one or two books in my bag, or, if I’m travelling long-distance, up to half a dozen, and that takes up a lot of space in my luggage. This would be a welcome way to have wider chioce when I can’t physically acces my own library, especially as the downloads are wireless, so I could get another at the drop of a hat – and the larger screen would mean my eyes wouldn’t boggle while I’m trying to read.

And hopefully, by the time the device becomes readily available in the UK, perhaps they’ll have updated the case a bit…


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