Sunday, March 01, 2009


Via TeleRead, I found an essay about eReading devices by Jennifer Chapelle on treocentral. The piece, "Centro, iPhone, and that Other Reading Device (Kindle 2)," briefly describes her experiences with a Centro and an iPhone, focusing on the new Kindle 2.

Overall, she liked it. But she's not throwing away her other devices.

If you've ever been interested in getting an eReader type of device, I can definitely recommend the Kindle 2. It's not the cheapest gadget, but it does have a lot of features, and don't forget that 3G Sprint radio inside. If you want an eReader that is thin, lightweight, fast, looks great, has a built-in dictionary and a battery saving sleep-mode with some cool portraits, the Kindle 2 from Amazon is a great choice.

And if you don't care about those eReaders like the Kindle and the Sony device, just stick with your Treo or Centro. Those are great little eBook readers! And we know all the other great stuff you can do on them like talking on the phone, texting, writing documents, listening to music, taking photos, surfing the internet on decent looking web browsers, playing games, etc. My Centro and Treo Pro will be staying right by my side, Kindle or no Kindle.

I saw an interview with Jeff Bezos on Charlie Rose last week, which was primarily a discussion of the Kindle 2. My take-away is that the killer feature for the Kindle is the wireless purchasing of books that does not require a PC. Bezos is also a huge fan of the ability to bookmark your location in a text on your Kindle, and when you pick up another of your Kindles, the devices will sync up and you will find the same bookmark. Interesting, but I'm not sure I understand yet why you would have more than one. One at home and one at work? One downstairs and one upstairs? It's already portable. The functionality that they are working on where you can sync between your Kindle and a reader app on a cell phone and back interests me more. His example was reading on a cell phone while waiting in line at the grocery store, and having your Kindle aware of your new bookmark once you get home. That use case works better for me.

His statement that he wants to deliver "Every book ever in print in any language" gives me pause. That feels potentially monopolistic for the eBook distribution sector. Well, at least for their proprietery AZW ebooks. But if theirs becomes the most successful pipeline for eBooks, will other creators and distributors of other formats be able to compete? I can only assume the open access eBook realm will not fade away.

I found myself looking at the Sony eReader a week ago. The touchscreen and non-touchscreen versions boths have some different usability issues. The touchscreen is the better of the two, and supports annotation. It supports more files formats that the Kindle. It requires a PC has no wireless features. And it runs on MonteVista Linux, which a member of my family worked on a couple of years ago.

For now at least I plan to continue to read books on my Centro. I have about 3 dozen books, some recent, some classics. And I haven't divested myself of my nearly 3,000 dead tree books. Or my library cards.

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