After reading David Pogue’s New York Time’s article on the Kindle2 this morning (The Kindle: Good Before, Better Now), I posted the following tweet, which simultaneously updated my Facebook status:
One of my Facebook friends, Tahelia Wagner, commented on my update by saying:
I don’t get it. I completely understand the desirability of carrying multiple books around under one cover, but I want to read on my current devices (or a Fujitsu P1630, if I can ever afford one), not pay lotsa bucks for another device that essentially just reads books.
Maybe it’s a good thing that Facebook deemed my response too long and chopped it off. I’ll reply here, and you all can weigh in with your opinions as well…
I totally understand that Tahelia. My deal is that the screen on most mobile phones is too small to read from – and it sucks the device’s battery life when you do. I can read them on my laptops, but once again – battery life is not ideal. I like the way it feels to hold a book-sized item with a regular sized screen, and that’s where these dedicated eBook readers come in.
I read…a lot. There are no less than 6 books sitting next to the bed as I write this, that I have started and would love to carry around with me. But 5 are hardbacks – 4 of them quite thick. [For those wondering, they are: Michael Palmer, The First Patient; Carl Sagan, The Varieties of Scientific Experience; Patricia Cornwell, Scarpetta; John J. Robinson, Born In Blood; Walter Isaacson, Einstein; and Tim Callahan, Secret Origins of the Bible]
I tend to start books, plow through, take a break, start another, plow through, go back to the another, and so on. This is especially true when a book gives me a lot to think about; I’ll tend to digest it while I read lighter fare such as the Cornwell and Palmer novels.
Then there is the issue of space, which brings up why I like the electronic format so much. My house in San Angelo has a large set of built-in shelves, but the house we are building in Eldorado is smaller and will not. Being able to keep hundreds, eventually thousands of books in electronic format takes care of my bookshelf needs.
If I had the room, I would need a bookshelf. I look at the Kindle2 as being that bookshelf, so in that light its $359 price tag is a lot easier to swallow. This just happens to be a bookshelf that I can carry nearly everywhere with me.
Book pricing? That is another factor. I have purchased books for years from Peanut Press / eReader, and I have built up a huge virtual bookshelf. But their prices have never come in line with what I think is proper for a book version which neither uses trees nor has a hard copy. The Kindle library on Amazon looks to be very well stocked, and the prices are very attractive to me – mostly $9.99 and less, even for current best-selling hardbacks.
I want (need!) a lightweight device that allows me to carry multiple books – including reference materials – around at all times; something that can slip into my purse or gearbag. I love being able to sneak in a couple of chapters while waiting in line, or haveing a chance to digest a couple hundred pages while waiting for an oil change. So far I haven’t found “the one” do it all and be it all device, so I hope that the new Kindle will suffice as an excellent reader. If not? It goes back…
The only thing I have a problem with now – when using any DRM controlled electronic format, is how to loan books. Not that I ever did it that much anyway, because I have learned the hard way – with the dead tree versions – that people are not always in a hurry to give back a good book.