Amazon’s Kindle Is Not an iPod for Books

Now Amazon has taken the leap into e-book readers/electronic books/whatever.

Weighing just 10.3 ounces, the Kindle is lighter than most paperbacks, which should make extended reading no problem. You can store hundreds of titles on its built-in memory, and add SD cards for additional room. Titles you buy ($10 for best sellers and new releases) are backed up on Amazon, so even if you have to delete one, you can always download it again later. And if books aren’t your bag, the Kindle also does blogs, newspapers, and more (though for additional fees). (There are also some very basic music and web browsing features.)

So, will Kindle fly? People who aren’t complaining about the design will likely complain about the price. Even if you’re saving $6 off the purchase of each book, it will take over 60 purchases for the $399 Kindle to pay for itself.

My answer is no. There’s one big flaw with these e-book reader devices that all the journalists and tech-boosters miss.

With an iPod, I can put all of my current music collection onto it for my use. That is, I could use my iPod without ever having to buy or acquire a single piece of new music. One of the biggest advantages to the iPod is that it makes my current music collection portable in way that was not possible before.

With either the Sony Reader or the Kindle, I can’t use it for any of the books I currently own and have read and would like to reread or for those books I own and are sitting in my TBR pile. They offer me nothing for the books I own. To get any use out of these devices, I would have to either buy new books in their electronic form or find a way to transfer some of the public domain titles up on Project Gutenberg to them.

Sorry, but that’s a major hump for me before I plunk down $300-400 for an e-book reading device. If anything, it makes me appreciate the convenience and efficiency of that 500-year-old piece of technology known as the book.

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