jul 27

More Kindle Kindling

Nicholson Baker, who as you remember really liked Wikipedia, isn't so much into the Kindle. Somewhat counter-intuitively, he suggest that reading on the iPhone might be better. Which is good news for Apple, because they're probably releasing a tablet by Christmas. Update: Edward Champion thought to make the same comparison and debunks Baker.


Lol, reading eBooks is something I find awful in the first instance, never mind on an iPhone. The Sony eBook readers look let they would work, but on a tiny screen like an iPhone, squinting eyes say no!

posted by Sam Spade at 8:57 PM on July 27, 2009

I love ebooks. It's all I want anymore. Once I'm in the story, the medium becomes transparent. The device needs to fit in my pocket to get used though. And be my phone/camera/everything.

posted by Eric at 11:03 PM on July 27, 2009

Isn't that the iPhone, Eric?

I *love* Nicholson Baker, and while I haven't read the essay yet (just instapapered it) it seems obvious -- why have a Kindle, which does ONE thing, when you can have the iPhone, which does any and everything.

Also: who wants to bet that the Apple tablet matches "these specs":http://buildingsandfood.com/how-to-make-an-e-reader, except with a touch-sensitive screen rather then stupid little keyboard? TechCrunch is working on one of these devices, too (tho I think they should have released it before these Apple tablet rumors began, because their market just got a whole lot smaller).

posted by alesh at 8:04 AM on July 28, 2009

I'm jumping up and down and cheering for Baker. The list of books not available on Kindle seemed a touch unfair, and it should be obvious that books with illustrations would translate poorly (the fact that Amazon is selling e-books that rely on illustrations is actually sort of criminal). I also fell asleep around the middle when he digressed into the history of e-ink. But the rest of it was exactly spot on, especially the stuff about the closed format. Damned right.

Champion's criticism is that Baker is being elitist, which sort of leaves me scratching my head. It's elitist to write a negative review of an expensive electronic gizmo? Even if he had made fun of the people writing the 5-star reviews (not my reading at all) I don't see how that's elitist -- aren't those people rich early-adapter gadget hounds?

The music industry debacle demonstrated that physical media is dead, but it also demonstrated that open formats are the only ones that will succeed.

I'll buy the Kindle when it can surf the web and when Amazon starts selling e-books in PDF format, and for WAAAAY less then they're selling paper books. DUH.

posted by alesh at 4:58 PM on July 28, 2009

Yep, alesh. That's what I'm saying. As opposed to a big Kindle or whatever Apple is releasing. There's a market for Kindle, but it misses people who don't want multiple devices and don't want a device they can't carry around everywhere. I view it as one of those terminal spurs on the evolutionary chart. Fine for now, but not the future.

posted by Eric at 10:01 PM on July 28, 2009

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