Is interest finally kindling for e-books?

11.27.07 | Comment?

What with Thanksgiving and all, you may have missed the buzz over Amazon’s long-anticipated e-book device, the Kindle. I found a helpful review video I’ll embed below, but first here’s a quick list of pros and cons.


  • Wireless access to Amazon.com via built-in cellular system essentially means you’re carrying around an entire bookstore, with access from anywhere you have cellular signal. This also allows the subscription to a limited number of periodicals and popular blogs.
  • The e-ink screen uses little power, which means you can probably read multiple books between recharges. The screen contrast is also supposed to be quite comfortable for reading.


  • Some physical design choices on the device were not well thought out. For instance, the page forward/backward buttons are too easy to push accidentally.
  • The same year that the publishing industry votes on a universal e-book format, the new Kindle device uses a proprietary format. Other formats can be supported through a translation service, but it would have been much better to support multiple formats natively.
  • Even though the device allows users to subscribe to certain periodicals, it doesn’t allow users to subscribe to any RSS feed.

Here’s the video from Benjamin Higginbotham of Technology Evangelist.


I think the Kindle is a strong first-generation device. If you compare the Kindle to the first generation iPod, you can see that in a few generations we’ll see the device that everyone wants. In the next generation, I’d like to see a redesigned interface with smaller page forward/backward buttons and a less obtrusive keyboard, plus much wider native support for various e-book formats–especially the universal epub format.  In the meantime, I’m going to take another look at the iRex Illiad. I love the look of that larger screen.

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