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In-depth review: can Amazon's Kindle light a fire under eBooks? - Page 2

post #41 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

The review could've done without Ann Coulter plug.

It could also have done without your snark, but there you go, free speech lives.

And it WASN'T a plug in context as another poster pointed out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

One of the main problems mentioning Ann Coulter is that she is highly controversial political figure. Frankly, I am disappointed that AppleInsider decided to hint their political affiliation by mentioning someone like her.

And if they'd mentioned that the Communist Manifesto was available in the public domain, and damned with faint humorous praise that it was in the "reference section" would that have indicated they were lefties?

Get a life some of y'all. Sheesh.

The real potential: On campus??

Meanwhile, the encyclopedic review only briefly mentioned in passing what I consider the likely killer use of this device: all your textbooks you need to drag around campus and to and from the campus in a leatherbound less than one pound package, and at a discount to the limited press run prices printing them causes. There are millions of college students and tens of millions of others. Who need multiple spendy books every term.

And for taking notes there are so many options from legal pads to digital devices that the (first gen) lack of these on the Kindle isn't fatal.

Yet the review only said this wasn't likely to happen, and gave no indication why. If I were Amazon, I'd be hooking up with universities, state dept's of ed., college bookstores, etc. and working on device and content distribution deals. Some colleges already ensure all their students have PC's or Macs. Why not a Kindle for all approved (or many or most) texts. But they'd have to be significantly cheaper since there goes your resale of your text at the end of the course -- or Amazon could allow student resales, maybe charging a buck or two to transfer the book license. (Professor/authors already get no cut of textbook resales after all, and maybe this way, they could. Or not -- as is current.)

Anyway, if someone can 'splain to me why this can't/won't work/is unlikely to be a good biz model (and boon to burdened down students), I'll listen.

An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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An iPhone, a Leatherman and thou...  ...life is complete.

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post #42 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigpics View Post

The real potential: On campus??

Meanwhile, the encyclopedic review only briefly mentioned in passing what I consider the likely killer use of this device: all your textbooks you need to drag around campus and to and from the campus in a leatherbound less than one pound package, and at a discount to the limited press run prices printing them causes. There are millions of college students and tens of millions of others. Who need multiple spendy books every term.

So why wouldn't it be better to simply use a notebook based eBook reader. Oh...because you can't with Kindle. Bad Kindle.

Quote:
And for taking notes there are so many options from legal pads to digital devices that the (first gen) lack of these on the Kindle isn't fatal.

Yet the review only said this wasn't likely to happen, and gave no indication why. If I were Amazon, I'd be hooking up with universities, state dept's of ed., college bookstores, etc. and working on device and content distribution deals.

Because maybe a non-color textbook that can only be used on a Kindle is bad?

Quote:
Some colleges already ensure all their students have PC's or Macs. Why not a Kindle for all approved (or many or most) texts.

Because they already have a PC or Mac?

Quote:
Anyway, if someone can 'splain to me why this can't/won't work/is unlikely to be a good biz model (and boon to burdened down students), I'll listen.

Because Amazon has locked content to one specific device? When there are other alternatives that students tend to lug around anyway called a laptop?
post #43 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCMacFan View Post

You guys are too tough. This is a flawed first model, but I think this will transform reading as it improves. The whole point of this is that you can read it for hours and it is just like paper.

It does have the following issues:
*Poor ergonomics
*Cheap design
*Putting info in/typing is not that efficient
*Refresh rate could be faster
*If refresh rate is improved, then a touch screen would be great

I assume later versions will fix this and ebooks are here to stay. So get used to it. This is a whole new world of screen technology. Not as good as our modern LCDs for anything but books, but great for that, which is what it meant to do.

Steve Jobs is not at all fearful of this right now, but I bet he was impressed with the effort and sees some potential for this in the world (he probably just does not see a big profitable market potential).

P.S. You are not reading War and Peace on a laptop screen, an iphone or a PDA. A few people do read on them, but this is an exception to the rule. For most people the font is too small and screen hurts the eyes (an LCD is a flashlight pointed at your eyes after all).

I still feel that in the long run, people aren't going to want a separate book reader. It must be part of what they already carry with them.

And, again, the price of the books must fall drastically. They are priced much too high.
post #44 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

One of the main problems mentioning Ann Coulter is that she is highly controversial political figure. Frankly, I am disappointed that AppleInsider decided to hint their political affiliation by mentioning someone like her.

I don't see how that hints political affiliation at all. If they mentioned that books written by Adolph Hitler were available, would that automatically make them hitler sympathizers?

I agree with the guy who read it as a DIG at her, not an endorsement.
post #45 of 59
The real problem with the Kindle is DRM and non-portability of documents.

Several years ago, I got into reading on my Palm Pilot. I researched all the services and file types: MobiPocket, Adobe, Microsoft Reader, Palm eReader, etc.

I chose eReader format from Palm because: I had a Palm Pilot, I could also read my purchases on my Mac with a free client; the DRM was less cumbersome than many others; The price points were OK for eReader books; there was decent selection; there was an application with which I could create my own eReader content (so I could transfer Project Gutenberg files to my Palm).

3 years later: Palm is basically dead, there is a new Windows client for eReader, but non for Mac, the eReader client for Mac hasn't been updated in years (the only non-Universal app I have) and I have hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars of books in an unsupported, locked format.

Never again. The only way this business is going to succeed is in openness. The only way I plunk down another single dollar is when I have non-DRM and portable, interoperable content.

I'm not holding my breath for that.
post #46 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellicelli View Post

Never again. The only way this business is going to succeed is in openness. The only way I plunk down another single dollar is when I have non-DRM and portable, interoperable content.

I'm not holding my breath for that.

Absolutely. I might lose a book but it won't go obsolete on me. All of my ebooks are non-DRM'd and honestly, I own most in hardback form as well. Baen Books uses them as marketing and for me at least it works.

Kindle is so locked down that I can't see it being a success. The Kindle books should have at LEAST used the same Mobipocket DRM (if a DRM was required) since at least there's more than one platform that can read them.

Instead Amazon took a page from Microsoft's playbook and hosed their Mobi partners with a Zune like product.
post #47 of 59
The key with this gadget is not only readability or ergonomics, but interactivity. Interactivity with the device and amongst users.

This is not only a new media that facilitates lecture. It is at its essence, I believe, a whole new concept and will definitely leave its mark.
post #48 of 59
Oprah Winfrey said the Kindle was one of her favorite things and offered a $50 discount which ends Monday. I first read the story here: kindlehelpdesk.com
post #49 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackson5 View Post

Oprah Winfrey said the Kindle was one of her favorite things and offered a $50 discount which ends Monday. I first read the story here: kindlehelpdesk.com

I don't know how many they've sold, though it's supposed to be a lot (for this kind of device).

But, even though I'm not financially constrained, I simply won't spend that kind of money for a book reader, no matter what it does. It's way too much, and way too bulky.

I had no problem reading books on my old Samsung i300 and i330, and later the more readable Treo 700p. I had both Palms and Mobile Write's readers.

Now, I'm starting to use my iPhone. It's much better.

Why have to carry another device around? Why have to carry something that won't either go into a pocket, or on the belt?

To me, it's absurd. I read a lot, as does my familly, we have a library, as well as book cases all around the house. But, carring a book is a bit of a pain when compared to having them on the phone, which is carried anyway.

The new Kindle looks to be better, but it's still a pain.

And honestly, who cares about Oprah? She gets driven around, and doesn't even have to carry her own things. She has people to do that for her. Most of us don't.
post #50 of 59
I love this reader compared to the old one. I didn't care much for the black border on the old one, the white seems to be keeping me reading a heck of a lot longer.
post #51 of 59
The review should have mentioned that Amazon's e-books can be shared with up to five other Kindle owners--friends and family, IOW. Their accounts are registered with Amazon by the owner.

A couple of commenters objected to the inability to highlight: but the Kindle actually has that ability. (I forget if the review mentioned that fact.)

A couple of commenters worried about loss of their library if they lose their Kindle. But users can re-download any book they've bought from Amazon.

As for the need for book pricing to go lower: I think this will happen maybe five or ten years down the road, due to competition among publishers, and to competition from famous authors bypassing publishers and offering their works via kindle "self-published" at half the price. In the interim, there's nothing radical Amazon can do about pricing, because it's just a middleman.

The review omitted one of the Kindle's main flaws: they made it about 1/2 inch wider than the Sony (although the screen size is the same), with the result that it won't fit in the pockets of most sports jackets or suits.

The keyboard would be improved if it were a wider, landscape-oriented clamshell, which would also make the device more compact. (Assuming landscape-mode perusal were also enabled.)

It'll be interesting to see what sort of arrangement Amazon works out with Google to enable Kindle users to purchase books (or snippets thereof) from Google's scanned-in library. (It was recently announced that Google has settled a lawsuit by publishers and will pass along royalties to them from downloads by readers.) (Presumably Google is going to have to include some sort of DRM at the behest of publishers. It would be amazing, and unlikely if not. Will that DRM work on the Kindle? If not, can it be patched to handle two kinds of DRM?) Or maybe Google will sell the items directly without involving Amazon?

Regarding the textbook market: There was a press release a few months ago that said that Amazon had signed a deal with several major universities to do that, presumably on the 8.5" by 11" large-format Kindle that is rumored for release in 2009. A device of this size will be able to display PDFs natively (without conversion), which is a must for books containing large tables or artwork.

The E-Ink company is rumored to be working on a color version of its product.
post #52 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Knights View Post

The review should have mentioned that Amazon's e-books can be shared with up to five other Kindle owners--friends and family, IOW. Their accounts are registered with Amazon by the owner.

A couple of commenters objected to the inability to highlight: but the Kindle actually has that ability. (I forget if the review mentioned that fact.)

A couple of commenters worried about loss of their library if they lose their Kindle. But users can re-download any book they've bought from Amazon.

As for the need for book pricing to go lower: I think this will happen maybe five or ten years down the road, due to competition among publishers, and to competition from famous authors bypassing publishers and offering their works via kindle "self-published" at half the price. In the interim, there's nothing radical Amazon can do about pricing, because it's just a middleman.

The review omitted one of the Kindle's main flaws: they made it about 1/2 inch wider than the Sony (although the screen size is the same), with the result that it won't fit in the pockets of most sports jackets or suits.

The keyboard would be improved if it were a wider, landscape-oriented clamshell, which would also make the device more compact. (Assuming landscape-mode perusal were also enabled.)

It'll be interesting to see what sort of arrangement Amazon works out with Google to enable Kindle users to purchase books (or snippets thereof) from Google's scanned-in library. (It was recently announced that Google has settled a lawsuit by publishers and will pass along royalties to them from downloads by readers.) (Presumably Google is going to have to include some sort of DRM at the behest of publishers. It would be amazing, and unlikely if not. Will that DRM work on the Kindle? If not, can it be patched to handle two kinds of DRM?) Or maybe Google will sell the items directly without involving Amazon?

Regarding the textbook market: There was a press release a few months ago that said that Amazon had signed a deal with several major universities to do that, presumably on the 8.5" by 11" large-format Kindle that is rumored for release in 2009. A device of this size will be able to display PDFs natively (without conversion), which is a must for books containing large tables or artwork.

The E-Ink company is rumored to be working on a color version of its product.

Despite the advantages, the prices are still too high. It's likely that Amazon has sold a few hundred thousand, which is remarkable, but that's still peanuts.

I can't even imagine how much a full page model would cost.

Who is going to be able to afford that? Students? No way!

They can buy a laptop, but not this on top of it. I an't see schools subsidizing this either. It's much cheaper to but used textbooks as students have been doing for decades, and selling them back afterwards. Even buying new textbooks is much cheaper. Once they are resold, the price goes down further.

Thee has to be some economic advantage to this textbook size model. I can't find one.
post #53 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

there has to be some economic advantage to this textbook size model. I can't find one.

This is the best I can find.

Nuclear Energy (Landolt-Bornstein: Numerical Data and Functional Relationships in Science and Technology - New Series)

• $6,200 —

Kindle version
• $7,800 — Hardcover version ~ by Zeynel Alkan (Contributor), Bertrand Barré (Contributor), Rudolf Bock (Contributor), David Campbell (Contributor), Wolfgang Grätz (Contributor), Thomas Hamacher (Contributor), Klaus Heinloth (Contributor), Dieter H.H. Hoffmann (Contributor), Ingo Hofmann (Contributor), William J. Hogan (Contributor), Wolfgang Kröger (Contributor), Ernst Kugeler (Contributor), Kurt Kugeler (Contributor), Grant B. Logan (Contributor), Kanetada Nagamine (Contributor)
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post #54 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This is the best I can find.

Nuclear Energy (Landolt-Bornstein: Numerical Data and Functional Relationships in Science and Technology - New Series)

$6,200

Kindle version
$7,800 Hardcover version ~ by Zeynel Alkan (Contributor), Bertrand Barré (Contributor), Rudolf Bock (Contributor), David Campbell (Contributor), Wolfgang Grätz (Contributor), Thomas Hamacher (Contributor), Klaus Heinloth (Contributor), Dieter H.H. Hoffmann (Contributor), Ingo Hofmann (Contributor), William J. Hogan (Contributor), Wolfgang Kröger (Contributor), Ernst Kugeler (Contributor), Kurt Kugeler (Contributor), Grant B. Logan (Contributor), Kanetada Nagamine (Contributor)

Yeah, that's abut it.

The Kindle version of the normal $35 to$100 textbooks had better be a greater ratio than that, but I doubt it could.

I still think a separate book reader, even with the "advantages" of the Kindle should cost no more than $100 to be viable across a greater proportion of the population.

For regular books, the iPhone/iTouch does just fine.
post #55 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Despite the advantages, the prices are still too high. It's likely that Amazon has sold a few hundred thousand, which is remarkable, but that's still peanuts.

If they've only sold a few hundred thousand then the answer to the question posed by the thread title is: No, Kindle did not light a fire under eBooks.
post #56 of 59
Kindle 2.0 Articles

http://www.businessweek.com/the_thre...omes_kind.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...082301365.html

"One person that has seen the device says it is as big a leap from its predecessor as the iPod mini was from the first iPod. Theyve jumped from Generation One to Generation Four or Five. It just looks better, and feels better, says the source."

But who cares? As stated above, I wouldn't get a Kindle until the DRM wasn't so horrid as to make the Kindle AZW books unusable in any other form. Jeez, why does Amazon care ANYWAY as to which reader you use? I'm not forking over $200-$300 for another device I gotta carry around when I already have serveral devices I can use to read ebooks that I carry around already.

I understand Apple's model...they sell hardware. iTunes was a mechanism to make their hardware best of breed. That's thier forte.

Amazon's forte is selling books. With less than 240K "storefronts" out there, they ain't selling many eBooks.

"New York Times Co. executives said today during the company's second-quarter earnings call that the newspaper has sold a ``small amount'' of subscriptions on the Kindle. "

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...PcM&refer=home

"I have been tracking the sales of Kindle editions of our books against sales of the printed versions for the past almost eight months. Kindle sales have declined noticeably over the past few weeks, while print editions continue to sell at a steady pace."

http://waltshiel.com/2008/08/13/has-...eaked-already/

I have Stanza (300K downloads) and eReader reports 250K paying users.

"As of the end of August eReader had been installed on just under a quarter million iPhone/iPod touch devices. Over 300,000 ebooks have been downloaded onto the iPhone/iTouch platforms from our store, and that does not include downloads of free books from places like Manybooks.com (for privacy reasons we dont track anything about what people do from the app if it does not involve our own stores).

Add in Stanza, bookshelf, and other iphone ebook offerings and it is abundantly clear that many more people are reading on the Apple devices than Kindle. There really is not even a question about it anymore. iPhone/iTouch required only about 90 days to exceed even the stratospheric end of the estimates for Kindle that Amazon themselves said were extremely high."

http://www.teleread.org/blog/2008/09...ks-from-store/

Amazon should have released a AZW reader on the iPhone. They STILL would have sold 200K+ Kindles but then they really WOULD have jumpstarted eBooks.

Instead Kindle kinda took the wind out mass market eBook sails (or sales if you prefer). It's niche and it'll stay that way as long as it's locked to one device that practically nobody buys.
post #57 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

Kindle 2.0 Articles

http://www.businessweek.com/the_thre...omes_kind.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...082301365.html

"One person that has seen the device says it is as big a leap from its predecessor as the iPod mini was from the first iPod. Theyve jumped from Generation One to Generation Four or Five. It just looks better, and feels better, says the source."

But who cares? As stated above, I wouldn't get a Kindle until the DRM wasn't so horrid as to make the Kindle AZW books unusable in any other form. Jeez, why does Amazon care ANYWAY as to which reader you use? I'm not forking over $200-$300 for another device I gotta carry around when I already have serveral devices I can use to read ebooks that I carry around already.

I understand Apple's model...they sell hardware. iTunes was a mechanism to make their hardware best of breed. That's thier forte.

Amazon's forte is selling books. With less than 240K "storefronts" out there, they ain't selling many eBooks.

"New York Times Co. executives said today during the company's second-quarter earnings call that the newspaper has sold a ``small amount'' of subscriptions on the Kindle. "

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...PcM&refer=home

"I have been tracking the sales of Kindle editions of our books against sales of the printed versions for the past almost eight months. Kindle sales have declined noticeably over the past few weeks, while print editions continue to sell at a steady pace."

http://waltshiel.com/2008/08/13/has-...eaked-already/

I have Stanza (300K downloads) and eReader reports 250K paying users.

"As of the end of August eReader had been installed on just under a quarter million iPhone/iPod touch devices. Over 300,000 ebooks have been downloaded onto the iPhone/iTouch platforms from our store, and that does not include downloads of free books from places like Manybooks.com (for privacy reasons we dont track anything about what people do from the app if it does not involve our own stores).

Add in Stanza, bookshelf, and other iphone ebook offerings and it is abundantly clear that many more people are reading on the Apple devices than Kindle. There really is not even a question about it anymore. iPhone/iTouch required only about 90 days to exceed even the stratospheric end of the estimates for Kindle that Amazon themselves said were extremely high."

http://www.teleread.org/blog/2008/09...ks-from-store/

Amazon should have released a AZW reader on the iPhone. They STILL would have sold 200K+ Kindles but then they really WOULD have jumpstarted eBooks.

Instead Kindle kinda took the wind out mass market eBook sails (or sales if you prefer). It's niche and it'll stay that way as long as it's locked to one device that practically nobody buys.

That's right.

If people think that Apple's products are "high end", then the Kindle, for something that does very little really, is in the stratosphere.

This is why modern (heh! That word is abused.) phones do what several devices have done.

I bought my original color Palmphone, a Samsung i300, because I wouldn't need to carry a cell, a PDA, a music player, and books, around with me wherever I went.

Why buy a book reader, when a phone can do a pretty good job? Even the Kindle can't display high resolution photos or charts. It can't display them from textbooks either. It can't display color at all.

While it's nice to get the news delivered that way. I doubt most people care. It doesn't take much more time to get it on my iPhone.

Ten ounces is also pretty heavy by todays standards for a one trick pony as this is.

I can easily afford this, but I'm at a loss to come up with a reason as to why.
post #58 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

That's right.
Ten ounces is also pretty heavy by todays standards for a one trick pony as this is.

I can easily afford this, but I'm at a loss to come up with a reason as to why.

Ten ounces is lighter & more compact than ten pounds (of textbooks).
A year's worth of college textbooks costs more than a Kindle (the average cost of each college text today is well over $50--or that's what I remember reading somewhere), even a large-format Kindle (I hope). (If not, two years' worth of textbooks will cost more.
Even used copies of those textbooks would cost more than a Kindle (at least over four years of college)--and used copies often don't last long enough to sharply decline in price, because publisher's regularly come out with new editions to make them obsolete.
E-book textbooks can be updated annually to keep up with new developments in the field, so the average textbook on a Kindle will be more up-to-date, and previously purchased versions can be updated with supplements.
Students can hang onto their textbooks for reference, since there'd be no reason to sell them to cut down on clutter or pick up extra cash. (Resale would be impossible anyway.)
A student can use his Kindle for his other reading, both during and after college, amortizing his costs. He would thereby save money (in comparison to new books, anyway) and avoid clutter by buying his other reading matter that way.
A Kindle is "greener": less waste paper to pulp, less transportation and labor, fewer trees cut down, etc.
post #59 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Knights View Post

Ten ounces is lighter & more compact than ten pounds (of textbooks).
A year's worth of college textbooks costs more than a Kindle (the average cost of each college text today is well over $50--or that's what I remember reading somewhere), even a large-format Kindle (I hope). (If not, two years' worth of textbooks will cost more.
Even used copies of those textbooks would cost more than a Kindle (at least over four years of college)--and used copies often don't last long enough to sharply decline in price, because publisher's regularly come out with new editions to make them obsolete.
E-book textbooks can be updated annually to keep up with new developments in the field, so the average textbook on a Kindle will be more up-to-date, and previously purchased versions can be updated with supplements.
Students can hang onto their textbooks for reference, since there'd be no reason to sell them to cut down on clutter or pick up extra cash. (Resale would be impossible anyway.)
A student can use his Kindle for his other reading, both during and after college, amortizing his costs. He would thereby save money (in comparison to new books, anyway) and avoid clutter by buying his other reading matter that way.
A Kindle is "greener": less waste paper to pulp, less transportation and labor, fewer trees cut down, etc.

That's a bit of pie in the sky. What will. these Kindle versions cost? From what we see of electronic publishing, the cost will be close to the paper version.

There are other problems too.

One is that it can't reproduce color in any way (as I've already mentioned, and you didn't acknowledge), which makes many texts almost useless. I'd just hate to try to use my Gray's Anatomy in B/W, for example.

The other is that if you can buy a used text, which many students do, because they aren't updated THAT often, at least most aren't. You can sell it back, or to another student. You will recoup about half the cost.

How is Amazon working that out? So far, you can't resell an electronic text.

And the cost of the Kindle, unless included in some deal with texts that are needed by the individual student, will still add almost $400 to that text book price, which could raise the electronic text price over the four years (assuming the device lasts four years of daily hard use) to much more than the paper versions would cost when everything is taken into account.


Maybe someday, this will work. But the technology isn't yet up to it, and the costs aren't either. I'd love to see textbook companies sell $50 texts for $20 in electronic form, but I wouldn't wait for it.
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