Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kindle: use it for kindling

Books on the go...

The BBC announces the release of Amazon Kindle e-Book reader and, though Dizzy is unimpressed, Right For Scotland is excited.
I could see myself sitting in bed reading this, or taking it on the train/bus to work. Or even putting it in the daysack for reading at the top of a Munro. And lets face it, when I seen this I honestly wanted it to give me warp engine diagnostics as well.

I agree that the concept is an alluring one, leaving aside the beautiful solidity and atmospheric inky aroma of a new book, and the feature set looks to be quite good (albeit US-only for the present).
While I like the white styling of the images I have seen of it – one can only assume that daily reading of Devils Kitchen has increased my tolerance to expensive little white boxes - this speaks to me on a much deeper spiritual level.

Actually, I don't like it's styling at all. Whilst even the earliest and chunkiest iPods looked somehow soft and welcoming, as the rest of Apple's products do, the Kindle looks unfashionably angular and... well... uncomfortable although I will concede that it is difficult to tell from a photo.

However, the biggest problem with the whole set up is that, excepting some utter catastrophe, my library will be available and in reasonable condition after I am dead. But the Kindle alternative is encapsulated nicely by Daring Fireball.
What it comes down to is that when you purchase books in Kindle’s e-book format, they’re wrapped in DRM and are in a format that no other software can read. There are no provisions for sharing books even with other Kindle owners, let alone with everyone.
...

With digital Kindle books, I’m not even sure they’ll be available 10 years from now. They’re only useful so long as you own Kindle-compatible hardware. What happens to these e-books if Amazon, having lost money on the endeavor, stops producing Kindle readers a few years from now? What are the odds that these files will be readable 50 years from now?
...

With iPods, while the iTunes Store is the only source for DRM-protected content that iPods support, you can easily fill your iPod with any popular non-DRM audio format other than WMA. Kindle supports a few other formats than its proprietary .azw, but the only way to use it for its main purpose—as a digital reader for popular mainstream books—is via its own proprietary DRM-protected format. I.e., Kindle actually is what ignorant critics have claimed regarding the iPod: a device designed to lock you in to a single provider of both hardware and digital content.
...

So the Kindle proposition is this: You pay for downloadable books that can’t be printed, can’t be shared, and can’t be displayed on any device other than Amazon’s own $400 reader—and whether they’re readable at all in the future is solely at Amazon’s discretion. That’s no way to build a library.

Once again, the evil that is DRM will scupper a reasonably neat little idea. DF does suggest some ways around these problems, so do go and read the whole post.

In the meantime, I think that I'll stick with my physical books, thank you very much...

8 comments:

Little Black Sambo said...

Sounds like Clive Sinclair's C5. You don't see many of those around.

Tristan said...

In the mean time there is the iRex Iliad which is more expensive, but offers far more freedom and has a reasonable community based development network as well as the in house guys.

And Sony should be launching their reader over here soon which is selling at £280 at the moment.

There's also at least one chinese company developing readers.

I'm getting an Iliad because there's such a wealth of free books and essays out there but I find printing them out tiresome and expensive and reading from the computer screen is tiring and inconvenient.

I might finally get round to reading all those LA pamphlets now...

Andromeda said...

A protest rally is due to take place in Oxford this evening - 20 November 2007 - against a debate on free speech scheduled to take place at its prestigious Union next Monday to which David Irving and Nick Griffin have been invited as speakers.

Whether next Monday’s debate goes ahead remains to be seen. Apparently, the matter is to be decided after a Union meeting on Friday when members will be asked to vote on the issue.

Vote: Should David Irving and Nick Griffin be allowed to participate in a debate on free speech at the Oxford Union?

YES or NO?

Vote on this at:

http://www.1party4all.co.uk

John Trenchard said...

OT...

hello DK - can i point you in the directio of this:
Yet more taxpayer funded lobbying uncovered. this time its the IIED and NEF (New Economics Foundation).

"climate change", DEFRA, the EU, and the UN, the DFID and those "regional" governments in the UK...

i think you'll find it quite interesting to see where your tax money is going.

Draxar said...

On the bright side, the idea itself is good, and this means we've now reached the point where these things are practical, and given some time there should be cheap versions you can stick whatever you like on.

Roger Thornhill said...

Soon we will have eInk laptops. eInk means no glass display. Multitouch means no need for keyboards. New memory tech means 1Terabyte on a single flash chip, so no need for an HDD. The eBook will exist, but it will be part of our PDA/Laptop/phone/iPod/camera/gps experience.


p.s. Andromeda=SPAM.

Chertiozhnik said...

E-Booky thing £280+ worth of unrecyclable electronic gizmo.

Book (old-fashioned) between £5.99 and £9.99 mostly. Additional advantages: works, can be read in bath, has been field-tested on a scale the e-cranks can only dream of, can be easily riffled back through to find out what Edgar actually did say to Maude on p.101, biodegradable, can be left on the doorstep at Oxfam, works (did I say that already?)...

"it will be part of our PDA/Laptop/phone/iPod/camera/gps experience" - fortunately I am old and will die soon, and will never have to undergo the humiliation of this pointless and extravagant experience.

Mark from Tampa said...

Simply cost prohibitive. Can't justify it.