Nov 22 2007

Kindle or Paper: retro?

Published by at 6:51 am under Books,retro

Amazon has announced an electronic book reader with the silly sounding name of “Kindle”. Kindle flames? Burn books? Hmmm. I’ve been fascinated by the idea of electronic paper ever since I first heard of it. A semi static display that can be changed sort of like the old ‘clacking’ departure signs in train stations (they are retro). Sony sells an ebook reader that sounds interesting and now kindle is the second such product supported by a company with deep pockets.

Kindle comes with some nice features. Primarily a wirelessly to Amazon that apparently uses some cell phone network (but it is not a phone). I believe it only connects to Amazon so you’re locked into them for material, and it has pretty serious restrictions on use of the content one might buy from them (such restrictions are euphemistically called DRM or Digital Rights Management as if they were a good thing for consumers). “diveintomark.org” has a clever and pointed summary of Amazon and DRM in the form of a play at “The Future of Reading”. Give it a read.

I still read books in there paper form, but occasionally listen to them on my iPod. I’ve thought about electronic book readers and have been intrigued by the Sony Reader as a possible way of carrying lots of material, but have not bought one yet. Kindle’s wireless update and access to newspaper, magazine and blogs add to the appeal. But the DRM is ugly and encourages the out of control expansion of copyright.

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