It’s always my luck. I buy something and in the not too distant future, it goes on sale. Usually, it’s a t-shirt at Target or Blue Bell ice cream, but this time it’s a Kindle.
It seems like the price wars for e-book readers have begun. Barnes and Noble dropped the price of the Nook and Amazon followed a couple of hours later by dropping the price of the Kindle to $189. That’s a pretty steep drop. The author of the article predicts that Amazon will eventually drop the price to $99 which, IMO, will erase its competition with the iPad at least until either Kindle goes to a color screen or the iPad solves the problem of being able to read in sunlight and increase the number of books available to download. As an e-book reader, Kindle is just better than an iPad right now.* A $99 price point will be low enough that people will be willing to own a Kindle and an iPad.
*I say this as someone that doesn’t have an iPad but has read a ridiculous number of reviews of the device stating the iPads shortcomings as an e-book reader.
I received my Kindle for Christmas and have completely crossed over to the dark side of e-book reading. I still love the feel of a real book in my hands, but the benefits of the Kindle far outstrip any lingering nostalgia I have for “real” books.
Size – Fits in my purse and slides perfectly in the tiny space between my car seat and console so I can have it to read during carpool. Or at red lights. If I was an unsafe driver. Which I’m not. I’ve never liked hardback books so to be able to read bulky hardbacks on a slim device like a Kindle is refreshing.
Convenience – I’ve mentioned the ability to take it with me but the most convenient aspect of the Kindle is also the most dangerous: buying and reading a book within a minute. I’ve been on a Georgette Heyer kick lately and breeze through her books rather quickly. To be able to finish one, search and buy another in less than five minutes is awesome. It might be the best feature of the device. It is also very dangerous because you get the feeling that these books are free! Until you get your monthly credit card bill. I pre-ordered a new release a few months ago and was able to start reading the book as soon as I woke up. No trip to the book store. No delay.
Stealth – No one knows what you’re reading! I’m enough of a reading snob to admit that I won’t read books with cheesy covers that might give away what I’m reading is complete and utter trash. With a Kindle, you don’t have to worry about that. That is also a bit of a drawback if you are one that can strike up conversations with people at airports when you spy them reading your favorite book. I’m sure this is a drawback for publishers who rely on the book cover visual to market their books.
The Kindle isn’t perfect. The interface is basic in the extreme. The search function doesn’t account for misspelled words, returning with no results if you don’t get it typed in just right. I would like to have the ability to give the book a starred review on the Kindle that would upload to Amazon. I would also like to be able to easily sort Kindle edition reviews from other editions on Amazon. (If this feature is available please let me know how to do it in the comments.) I haven’t gotten into the habit of using the bookmark or note tool; it just isn’t as easy as turning the corner of a page down or sticking a bookmark at relevant places.
My biggest quibble is the inability to share books with my friends. Recommending and sharing books is one of my favorite things and with a Kindle book, I can’t to it. I would like for Amazon to allow you to share a book with another Kindle a certain number of times with no time restriction for the receiver to read the book. It should be as if I’ve given them the book. It’s theirs to read on their Kindle as much as they want. If they want to share the book with their friends, they have to pay for the right.
All in all, though, I’m sold on e-book readers, especially the Kindle. I wonder, though, if Apple will eventually own this market like they do music players. Amazon’s Kindle app for the iPad, iPhone and Mac effectively allows users that own a Kindle to read their purchased books on those devices. If the iPad can solve the backlight and weight problem, I can see myself migrating to an iPad in a few years. Until then, I’m happy with what I have.