On Kindle

This is the Amazon Kindle - the latest e-book reader to hit the market.

Amazon Kindle

Many technology pundits and early adopters haven’t taken too kindly to the device, citing it’s closed nature as a show-stopper. However, I like the device. And isn’t that all that matters? :-)

I am not so concerned about the inability to lend books, platform lock-down etc. I envisage buying only books with limited shelf life so format longevity is not a concern. I mean if you bought Thinking in Java or the Django book, do you really think you will be interested in reading those books ten years down the line? Plus, $9.95 is a great price for such books! Of course, S$9.95 would be even better ;-) And this is a complete no-brainer for software books where technology changes at a phenomenal pace. I’d rather have the JavaScript Definitive Guide by my side with full text search on Kindle than have a bulky paperback of the same which I’ll have no use for an year from today.

When a book isn’t available locally, I have to worry about how long it’ll take to ship from the US and how much the shipping will cost. With Kindle (modulo availability in Singapore), all those worries are gone! It’s just instant consumption.

Built in dictionary & wikipedia lookup? Sweet! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve put down a Stephenson novel to open the laptop and wiki search something.

Having said all that, the Kindle still misses a few things which would make me buy it immediately (again, modulo availability in the little red dot). Here’s what will hit the sweet spot for me:

Actually, just make it cheaper and I’d buy. I’m sure someone will write a PDF->PRC/MOBI converter and I would stop caring about the looks ten minutes after unpacking the thing. As for the touch screen, there’s always an upgrade to buy ;-)

Update: It took some time, but Amazon finally launched a cheaper Kindle! Perhaps it is time to buy.