May 03, 2008


Last month as Michael Yon's Moment of Truth in Iraq came out, I provided links so that you guys could go to and buy a copy.

Buy you did.

One person bought seven copies; another bought six, another bought three, and of course most people bought a single copy for themselves. On behalf of Mike I'd like to thank you for buying what I personally feel is an important book, one that tells the truth of what is going on in Iraq far outside the range of most news organizations and pundits.

And while it's a crappy segue, Amazon is pushing their "Wireless Reading Device" (we used to call that "paper", didn't we?) to me via email, a device called Kindle that they've developed. It looks petty interesting, but I don't know much about it.

Anybody got any experience with this?

Who is going to be the brave soul to test-drive this thing and let me know if it lives up to its promise?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 3, 2008 07:49 AM

I think the Sony equivalent is supposed to be better, although more expensive.

Posted by: Kevin at May 3, 2008 08:21 AM

Can't remember any more where I saw the posts, but one of the blogs just RIPS Kindle to shreds. IIRC, that's due to a stone-age technological base and serious limits to the functionalities.

Upshot: wait a few years...

Posted by: dad29 at May 3, 2008 08:32 AM

I've been using the Sony competitor for about 18 months and love it. However, I think the Kindle may be a better choice as they have a larger inventory of books, somewhat lower prices, and the instant gratification of Wireless downloads.

The e-paper technology is great and on my Sony I get 5000+ page turns on a single battery charge. I suspect the Kindle isn't as good on charge life as it's doing much more.

Posted by: RiveRat at May 3, 2008 08:45 AM

get a cheap laptop from WalMart. The kindle is less useful and smaller screened.

Posted by: JP at May 3, 2008 01:12 PM

I have a Kindle. It's a wonderful device *for reading books*. If anyone is expecting it to do anything more than that, they are barking up the *wrong* tree.

The wireless delivery is fantastic and the selection, while not yet ideal, is leaps and bounds (and bounds and leaps) better than any of the competing devices.

Sure, it doesn't have the gee whiz appeal of the Sony or iRex devices but, where it counts (actually buying and reading books), it eats the others alive.

The only downside is that you can't share the books with anyone so if they want to borrow one they have to take the device with them. Hopefully there's at least some chance in the future the DRM issues like this will be loosened enough so that you can at least share them amongst other Kindle users in some fashion.

In summary: buy one!

Posted by: ECM at May 3, 2008 01:53 PM

It is not worth it. The tech is not ready for prime time.

Posted by: Mekan at May 3, 2008 03:07 PM

Well, I like books - although I can remember when a paperback was $0.25-0.75, not $6.50-44.00, which latter on my income pretty much restricts me.

But it has DRM. Major League Baseball went through some contortions to get limited support for their users when they pulled their plug. Microsoft is pulling the plug on their stuff [music], although the claim is that you need not worry since you can either keep the devices with the files forever or write to a CD (if you can figure out how to convert the format, which you are not supposed to do if RIAA hears of it).

The original idea of DRM was fine: let a corporation have confidential files (like blueprints for a new television) available online to people with a valid password, and if the company went under nothing (well, jobs...) was lost. Then the media companies decided that since they were developing this protection they could apply it to products meant for outsiders. If one goes under, millions may lose their files.


Posted by: teqjack at May 3, 2008 03:12 PM

I love mine. It's great for reading, and the wireless net makes it effortless to get new books.

But you have to remember this is a v1.0 device, so it isn't perfect. There is room for a lot of improvement. You have to have an early-adopter attitude, willing to deal with a few hassles in order to have the latest tech.

If that's not you, then I would wait for version 2.0. (whenever that is)

Posted by: Lee at May 3, 2008 08:35 PM

I have a Kindle and my only complaint is that I can't get all the books I want on it. It's annoying that Book 1 of a particular trilogy is available but if I want to finish reading the story I have to go to hardcover.

Posted by: GISAP at May 3, 2008 11:17 PM

I had one, and hated it:

1. I hate DRM, and I refuse to support (through purchases) anything DRM'ed if there is a reasonable alternative.

2. With a real book, when you're done with it, you can pass it on, donate it to a library, leave it at Starbucks for others to read, and so on. With a Kindle file, no one else can ever use that file. Ever. (Unless Amazon 'grants' them the right.)

3. I can take a book with me anywhere, leave it around for weeks, and when I open it up, it "works." With a Kindle, you're tied to your battery.

4. I can drop a book and it might get creased. I can put it in my backpack and it might get dented. If I drop a Kindle or "dent" the screen, it's broken.

5. I have books that are almost 70 years old - some paperbacks, some hardbound. Benchley, Parker, Thurber. They still "work." I can't see a Kindle lasting 5 years before it breaks or is obsolete.

6. I have books I bought from a variety of bookstores throughout the years. With a Kindle, I'd be tied to one source - Amazon.

Don't get me wrong. Kindle is amazing in other ways. But DRM absolutely breaks it for me. The cost of the device is completely unreasonable. The cost of books is unreasonable, especially when you consider that you can't reuse the book in other contexts (give aways, sell, and so on).

Posted by: steve miller at May 4, 2008 08:12 AM

The Kindle is actually a really nice device. I have had an ebook reader for over 10 years. My son has now appropiated it, changing from hardbacks to read David Weber Honor Harrington's stories. The pro is that you can store a lot of books. For those of us who have stacks of books that is an issue. The Kindle also has a neat trick unlike any other reader. It pays for the wireless connection fees from the purchase of the books. The reader allows Newspapers and blogs to be daily downloaded. Some email etc. The purchaser does not pay a monthly subcription for the connection service.

It is easy to purchase using your Amazon account.

The downsides. It is eink which is very readable but can not be back lit. It cannot be read in the dark. It also uses DRM for the books.

I really like the ability to read in the dark since I have used my rocket book for over 10 years on camping trips and with boyscouts trips. My rocket book battery would last a week, much longer than a laptop and fit into a small bag.

DRM is a principle with me , I avoid it assidously. I actaully buy most ebooks at BAEN and Fictionwise and ask for DRM free. Baen is always DRM free. IT is a principle agianst DRM.

Amazon had to use DRM since publishers would not allow their books without DRM. This has been a hard argument to show DRM is useless and does not save the authors and publishers money. That is another argument.

I personally would recommend the Kindle though, most people have been very happy with it.

Posted by: RAh at May 5, 2008 01:39 PM

I still use my Palm M125 as a book reader. If the Kindle included all the other PalmOS functions, as well as the ability to read Mobipocket books that I could upload to it for free, I'd probably look at it.

Until I get even a hint that it can, I'll stick with what I've got.

Posted by: Jeff at May 5, 2008 06:30 PM