Ordered my first Kindle book for my iPod Touch

I don’t own a Kindle, nor do I intend on buying one; however, I just ordered my first Kindle book, “Daemon” by Daniel Suarez. I’ll be reading it on my iPod Touch.

I scoff at anyone that thinks the Touch (or iPhone) can’t be someone’s main Kindle eBook reader. These people are either A) old; B) trying to justify the $359 you already wasted on a Kindle; or C) don’t read ebooks. I also predict that non-Kindle people will soon be the main consumers of Kindle books.

My 15yo daughter actually LOL’d when I told her that some people think you can’t read an entire eBook on a Touch. That somehow there is some kind of severe handicap doing it.

I also think that the WhisperSync feature, while cool, is too cumbersome to depend on. Syncing, in general, sucks, albeit often necessary.

Amazon gets it: Kindle for iPhone

Anyone that reads my blog knows that I’ve been agonizing over getting an ebook reader. I nearly got a Sony Reader a few weeks back, but just couldn’t swallow the $400 price tag for a single-purpose device. I’ve been hovering over the Kindle 2 Buy button as well ;-)

The real reason I wanted either a Sony or Kindle was the access to the larger bookstore. eReader.com is good, but it doesn’t have near the depth of selections. With the new Kindle for iPhone app, I now have access to the huge catalog of ebooks as Amazon.

Personally, I now see no need for a dedicated single-purpose ebook reader. Sure the display is close to paper, but does that really matter. I’m sure the newer generation of people used to tiny phone screens, MP3 players, etc. don’t really care. It’s a dying generation of people, trying to hang onto paper that truly embrace dedicated ebook readers. We’ve seen it before: CRTs are superior to LCDs, the original IBM keyboard is the best, notebooks can never replace full-powered desktops, CDs can’t replace vinyl records, MP3s don’t sound as good as CDs, etc. etc. Old technology always lost. People adapt. People embrace the new. People move on.

The mere fact that I can whip out my iPod Touch and start reading a book on a gorgeous, albeit small, screen isn’t a negative at all. The fonts are crisp and clean, the page movement is smooth and fast–uh better than ereaders–, and it remembers my place. What more do you need?

The Kindle for iPhone app is bare bones, but more than adequate. You can buy the book through Amazon on the Safari browser and it appears when you open the app. You can instantly change the font size (the eReader.com app doesn’t do this instantly), dog-ear (ie bookmark) a page by touching the corner of a page, among other things. Moving from page to page is done with a left/right swipe. Personally, I prefer up/down, but that’s not a biggie. No dictionary support that I can see, but hopefully that’s coming.

I love the fact that you can download a free preview of a book. I don’t know exactly how much of the book it is, but it’s quite a bit. For the one I tried it was nearly 4 chapters! Good strategy I think.

I predict that there will quickly be more books sold to iPhone/Touch owners than Kindle owners. It’s a no brainer. Thanks Amazon! Sorry eReader :-(

Slate tabletPC kicks Kindle’s rear

I’ve been seriously trying to decide between the Kindle and the Sony Reader, but I’ve just discovered that you can’t beat a slate-style tabletPC-I’ve got the Motion Computing LE1700.  Digital media consumers, like me, have long moved way beyond the one-dimensional black and white mediums and onto color-intensive things like magazines,  websites, etc. Even newspapers have embraced color. What would USA Today be without color.

This is why I see single-purpose devices like the Kindle and Sony Reader as great devices, but unnecessary in the grander/long-term scheme of things. Plus, they are relatively expensive. How much more use can you get out of a 32GB iPod Touch or netbook compared to a Kindle or Sony Reader?

More and more traditionally print publications are being offered in electronic versions, although you’d be often hard pressed to find them. I recently discovered the (well hidden) digital subscription to Maximum PC and LA Times, but PC Mag, being only offered in digital format, was not surprisingly easier to get. A digital version of PC World is also available, but at $19.97/yr, it’s a bit pricey. MaxPC and PC Mag are under $10/yr. PC Mag has a special 2-year subscriptions for $15!

Digital subscriptions are by no means limited to tech magazines either. Check out Zinio.com, the engine used by PC Mag, and you’ll probably be surprised at the strong catalog of offerings. Newsstand.com is also good. That’s where you’ll find a lot of the newspapers like the LA Times, NY Times, USA Today, etc.

I will fully admit that I envy the awesome ebook reader battery life and the crisp eInk display, but giving up a full PC experience is too much to ask. I was just relaxing reading an issue of PC Mag and decided to start blogging my experience. Try THAT on an eBook reader.

The big downside to electronic publications, as with any copyrighted electronic medium, is DRM. Zinio and Newsstand both rely on proprietary file formats. Sure you can download and archive them, but who knows when they will become obsolete.

In my opinion, however, do publications have that much value after a year or two? Maybe books do, but who really re-reads their books? Yeah, I now people like to save and collect their magazines and books into their own personal library, but how often do they look at them? How much is relegated to dusty cardboard boxes in the garage taking up valuable storage space? Now hopefully, electronic publishers will embrace and standardize on the ePub format, but I’m not holding my breath. For the most part, I think the usefulness of individual magazine and newspaper copies are transitory. Just re-buy them in the future if the desire arises.

For portability, I’ll rely on my iPod Touch and N95. Both support eReader ebooks. Guess I could even stoop to a good old fashion paperback. The battery lasts forever, but no built-in backlight…oh the Kindle doesn’t have that either  ;-)