Amazon released its oddly-named (Farenheit 451?) Kindle book reader today. On initial view, the device is ungainly when compared to the iPhone or the Sony PRS-505. But with some 90,000 books on offer for the relatively low price of $9.99, the Kindle is a shot across the bow for book publishers. I confess to a certain hatred of books (my publishers wouldn't want to hear this, I'm sure). About 30% of the books that I bring home are elegant objects that I am glad to own. But some 70% are pointless to own in physical form. Why do I need a work of fiction as a book if an e-reading device can serve me as well? Why do I need to own a copy of a textbook when I could get it on an e-reader? This idea attracts me greatly.
Alas, web browsing seems rudimentary while magazines, newspapers, and even blogs demand a subscription fee. This is a big step back from the world of free content that my iPhone offers.
My prediction is that although Kindle will have some degree of success, it will take someone like Apple licensing the content (why does Amazon need to produce hardware anyway? seems like a questionable move) before this technology will really take off.
But see Newsweek for more.