Friday, February 12, 2010

Ebook Readers are Magical

I greatly enjoyed this post from R.N. Morris, who writes about nineteenth-century conceptions of a magical reading device that becomes any book the possessor desires.

Sometimes I forget what a marvel it is to carry my entire library (or near enough) with me at all times. It would be quite a wheelbarrow to carry all the codices that my Kindle can contain electronically!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

British Library Releasing Free Titles

This news just in -- the British Library is releasing 65,000+ rare first editions for free download on the Kindle! How exciting -- not only for the classics, but for harder-to-find books like penny dreadfuls.

Giving Up

A question I've heard since the iPad announcement: "So when are you giving up your Kindle and getting an iPad instead?" How about never? I may eventually get an iPad or a similar device for mobile media, but the Kindle is a dedicated reader device and the iPad is not.

Joe, however, is apparently frustrated enough to change platforms. I'm not sure what his distress is about when he says: "The device's functionality is pretty much the same as it was when it launched more than 2 years ago." Yes, it is pretty much the same -- it's an ebook reader, not a media hub. The Kindle delivers on one promise: an excellent reading experience. It does not promise social networking, sports scores, Twitter integration, or anything beyond books. That may very well change, especially if Amazon wants to keep pace with Apple's competition.

Nevertheless, getting angry at the Kindle for a "lack of innovation" at this point is rather like getting angry at a hardcover novel for not including a fold-out map of the USA, a crossword puzzle section, and a coloring book. The novel does not promise extraneous features; neither does the Kindle, beyond the experimental (read: weak) web browser and Mp3/audiobook functionality.

Welcome to the Electronic Revolution

Why another blog that focuses on ebooks, EBRs (ebook readers), and electronic publishing in general? Aren't there enough out there? Well, since I bought a Kindle 2 last summer, I have found a lot of blogs that discuss Kindle and other EBRs from the techie angle, the freebie angle, and the tips & tricks angle. I am more interested in thinking about the consumer angle, especially in light of recent events with the unveiling of the iPad and the Macmillan/Amazon dispute. What should customers expect from ebook providers? How do the pros and cons of electronic texts versus paper texts break down? These are all topics I hope to examine.

What qualifies me to comment on these topics? Mainly, my passion for electronic reading and its potential to revolutionize how we consume and process written content. This did not start with my purchase of the Kindle 2 last summer; I have been reading ebooks for about seven years now. My main ebook reading device was a Palm Zire 71, and after that, the iPod Touch (which I still use sometimes with my Kindle books). I follow Kindle news closely and enjoy analyzing the latest developments.

I hope to discuss issues relevant not only to Kindle owners, but Nook and Sony Readers as well. I welcome commentary and discussion and hope to encourage others to think more deeply about the ebook revolution.