The Amazon Kindle is quite possibly the coolest piece of hardware I have owned since I got my first laptop. Seriously. As an often on the road consultant it has changed my life. I read a lot. Generally 2 or 3 books a week. Doing this with printed books was always an exercise in, well in exercise. Being on the road also left little time to actually go shopping for books. To be honest I was never a big fan of Amazon.com except for those books that were never to be found in an actual book store. Shopping in a real book store, while the only kind of shopping I actually like took too much of my precious at home time since I’m on the road so much. Enter the Kindle. As small as trade paperback book it solved the problem of walking around with one shoulder lower than the other. It has a built in wireless data connection that uses (I think) the Verizon network. This means that i can shop the Amazon store from the device, buy a book and get it on my device in under 5 mins. You can also get newspapers (NY Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, etc), magazines like The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, and Time. These get delivered automatically via the ‘Whispernet’ connection on the device.
Then there is the price of books. Best sellers are $9.99. Since the price of hardcover new releases has been creaping up toward $30 this is a big deal. What it means is that the price of the Kindle ($359) is made up for after 24 new release books. For me that is about six months (I read 2 or 3 books a week but not all of them are new releases.) After that I’m saving $15 every time I buy a new release. So far the average price seems to be about $9.99. Many are cheaper (lots of classics are $1.99 to $3) and there are some more scholarly\obscure books are priced more comparably with their print counterparts. For example, I’m reading a book on IT Portfolio Management that cost me $29 on the kindle while the print edition is $32.97.
There are people that are upset with the Kindle because of its design. Sure I think the buttons could be better placed. But I got used to the placement after about an hour. There are others that don’t like that you cannot give the book away or print it. I would certainly prefer I could do this but as someone that has written a book and then seen it downloadable for free before I even made back my advance I can understand the desire of an author or publisher to control access to their product.
So if you are on the road and love to read this device deserves a good look.