Kindle thoughts

I was always pretty skeptical about electronic books replacing real books. The extra eye-strain from reading on a screen always made it seem pretty far off. That has improved a great deal with LCD screens over CRTs, and I suspect that LED-backlit LCDs are probably even a bit more of an improvement in that category. But it wasn't until I saw a Kindle screen that I thought it might happen before too much longer.

That isn't to say that the Kindle is that much better than its competitors. Honestly, I don't know; I haven't seen the competition. But I get the impression that the screens of the major competitors are all equivalent. Whatever. The point is, the screen does seem good enough to replace paper. (I think; I suppose the final test would be to read it for an extended period, and see how my eyes feel.)

But I wonder if Amazon really gets the other issues. I buy, and read, a lot of books. I read some for work, and a lot more for pleasure. The ecosystem may be nice, but I won't be buying a kindle, to say nothing of kindle books, until at least two things happen. One, they must remove the DRM from the books. I'm not about to buy a book where the company can turn around and remove my access to it at a later date. That's happened to far too many music stores, even ones run by tiny, fly-by-night outfits like WalMart and Microsoft.

The other thing that needs to happen is that they need to rethink book pricing. They talk about how great the price is, but I buy a lot of mass-market paperbacks, and kindle pricing is more expensive than those. Seriously, the overhead is close to zero, so the price should drop by at least half.

But, I guess, maybe enough people are buying them for Amazon to feel comfortable keeping prices there. I don't know, but it's definitely too much for me.

This, btw, was inspired by seeing an RSS link to an article saying that amazon was going to introduce another kindle in the next week with a bigger screen. I didn't read the article, but I've got to say that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Frankly, I think Amazon will look kind of silly if they do, putting out a "kindle 2.5" so soon after 2.0. I suppose stranger things have happened, though. I guess we'll see.

No comments:

Post a Comment