Previous reviews are at Mack Pitches Up

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Do I want a Kindle?

That's a silly question. Of course I want a Kindle, I'm gadget boy. But $359 is a lot of cat food. What put the Kindle in mind is the copy of Crime and Punishment and An American Tragedy sitting on my desk. I have a hard time keeping track of names in Russian novels and at 856 pages, An American Tragedy will be a challenge to keep sorted out.

The Kindle has several features that attract me:

  • Search - you can search for a word or phrase. After I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I couldn't remember the text on a T-shirt Salander was wearing and that seemed important at the time. I finally found it on page 262: ARMAGEDDON WAS YESTERDAY--TODAY WE HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM. It would have been a matter of moments to find with a Kindle.

  • Bookmarks and Annotation - When I sit down to write a blog post about a book I've read I find myself spending a third of the time flipping around trying to find that interesting passage or intriguing plot point. The Kindle lets you highlight, annotate, and clip passages for export. No longer would I have to remember to carry around a notebook - which I mostly forget. See below for an interesting use of the search function.

  • Wireless Access to Wikipedia - I refer to Wikipedia frequently. It would be nice not to have to get up from the couch, boot the computer, and hope I remember what it was I wanted to look up.

  • Built in Dictionary - a dictionary is always useful.

The future of digital books is looking brighter thanks to the success of the Kindle. Academia, in particular, looks ripe for exploitation. But as this post on The Kindle blog points out, Kindle looks to have serious competition in the academic market.
The Amazon Kindle’s success has validated the market, and now the hordes are storming in. In retrospect, the supply chain fiasco might have prevented Amazon from getting a good hold of the market. 2009 is going to determine just how much of an impact that’ll have on the kindle’s future.

I found this post on an interesting use of the Kindle find feature - Kindle “find” function unearths poor editing. The writer noticed the repetitive use of a phrase in a book and used "find" to see how many times the author used that phrase. He found 17 instances. He concluded by wondering "The question is, will these digital advances force novelists to change their writing style? I can’t wait to see."

Will I get a Kindle? Well, there are many Kindle titles I would like to read so there wouldn't be a lack of material to download. Some are really cheap; I could get Crime and Punishment for .99. But there is that pesky matter of $359 plus an average cost of $9.99 per book. With the review of our retirement funds we had today, let's just say that cat food might be a better investment right now.


lesbrarian said...

Cat fud should be your priority. As for the tricky Russian names, you can tap a free resource by calling your local public library reference desk. Not as convenient as a Kindle, but a lot more entertaining.

Mack said...

Harley Cat was reading over my shoulder and pointed out that treats are a necessity as well.

Remember, us systems types are like magpies, "Ooo, shiny, must take back to nest."

The only reason I didn't check out C&P from the WPL is that it is likely to be a long term relationship.

Karen in TN said...

I'd say my average cost of books is closer to $2 than $10 -- There are book above $10, although NYT bestsellers and many new releases come out at $10, but there are also lots of free titles (11 or so just this month) at Amazon, lots of sale titles (in the $1 to $5 range), titles out as paperbacks are usually 6.39 or 5.59. And none of that counts the million or so free books you can get - not just classics (save that 99 cents for something else), but new books under a Creative Commons license. The Baen free library alone has dozens of books. Many authors also release their ebooks into the wild, either temporarily or on a permanent basis.

As for the cat - mice are free. Catching them provides free excercise. Win/Win and more left for the Kindle.

Mack said...

Thanks Karen. After reading your comments I can't afford not to get a Kendle.

dan rogy said...

* Electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
* No computer, no cables, no syncing.
* Wireless connectivity - you shop the Kindle Store directly from your Kindle from anywhere, just like using a cell phone! When you buy a book, it is auto-delivered wirelessly in less than one minute.
* More than 88,000 books available, including 100 of 112 current New York Times® Best Sellers. Free book samples. Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy.
* Read top U.S. newspapers including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post; read top magazines including TIME, Atlantic Monthly, and Forbes — all auto-delivered wirelessly. Read top international newspapers from France, Germany, and Ireland; Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine, and The Irish Times.
* Read more than 250 top blogs from the worlds of business, technology, sports, entertainment, and politics, including BoingBoing, Slashdot, TechCrunch, ESPN's Bill Simmons, The Onion, Michelle Malkin, and The Huffington Post.
* eBook device is lighter and thinner than a typical paperback; weighs only 10.3 ounces and holds over 200 titles.
* Long battery life. Leave wireless on and recharge approximately every other day. Turn wireless off and read for a week or more before recharging. Fully recharges in 2 hours.
* Unlike WiFi, Kindle utilizes the same high-speed data network (EVDO) as advanced cell phones, you never have to locate a hotspot. No monthly wireless bills, service plans, or commitments — takes care of the wireless delivery so you can simply click, buy, and read. Includes free wireless access to the planet's most exhaustive and up-to-date encyclopedia—
* Email your Word documents and pictures (.JPG, .GIF, .BMP, .PNG) to Kindle for easy on-the-go viewing.