Monday, November 19, 2007

e-books might finally be here - the Kindle reader

Another bit of The Future may be about to click into place. E-books have been talked about for a long time, and we may finally have a viable alternative to printed books: the Kindle e-book reader, about to be released by

NewsWeek has a – rather wordy – article on it. (The second half of the article goes into how pervasive ebooks might change things. e.g. people might use advertising in books, and books could be updated w/ errata).

Amazon has got the major publishers on board, and 88,000 titles will be on sale at the Kindle store on launch.

The reader’s specs are:

- has the dimensions of a paperback
- weighs 290g (10.3 ounces)
- sharp screen
- as many as 30 hours of reading on a charge, and recharges in two hours
- doesn’t run hot or make intrusive beeps
- can hold about 200 books onboard, hundreds more on a memory card and a limitless amount in virtual library stacks maintained by Amazon.

Kindle has wireless connectivity for downloading books, and

you can use it to go to the store, browse for books, check out your personalized recommendations, and read reader reviews and post new ones, tapping out the words on a thumb-friendly keyboard. Buying a book with a Kindle is a one-touch process. And once you buy, the Kindle does its neatest trick: it downloads the book and installs it in your library, ready to be devoured. "The vision is that you should be able to get any book—not just any book in print, but any book that's ever been in print—on this device in less than a minute," says Bezos.
You can also
- access newspapers and use it as a web-browser
- search within books
- make make annotations and copy text from books (though it’s not clear exactly how this works).

It’s US $399 (remember that the iPod was quite expensive when it first came out).

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