Why all the Kindle hate?

kindlesmall.jpgI’ve been reading lots of negative thoughts about the Amazon Kindle (mostly via Daring Fireball) and I just don’t get it. Sure, everyone loves physical books, but I sure as heck don’t feel the need to own every single paperback I read for the rest of my life. Some books I want to keep forever and ever, some I just want to read and be done with. The Kindle is great for mass paperbacks. Oh, and did I mention it does newspapers and magazines as well (at the moment the content is limited, but do you think Amazon can’t get more publishers on board?)?

I can understand that folks bristle when Jeff Bezos suggests that the Kindle is going to replace books. Bibliophiles will always want to collect books, feel books, smell books, and experience books. I count myself amongst that breed of people (I’m typing this post up in a room that contains at least 250 books, so believe me when I say that I like books). However, let’s face facts: most people don’t read. Most people don’t care about books in the least, and that’s why the Kindle (or something like it) is going to succeed in the long run.

A general lack of interest in reading doesn’t seem to be a point in favor of the Kindle. The Kindle costs $400 and then, once you’re plunked that down you have to pay even more to fill it up with books from Amazon (though in reality you don’t, but that’s another post). Why would a non-reader buy one of these devices? They won’t, but you know who will? The bleeding edge techies like me that produce content, read books, and love tech. We’ll be the first people to love these things (and I already love my Kindle) and the next generation of devices will be cheaper, look better, have more functionality, and appeal to the mass market. Imagine a $100 device that looks like a piece of paper, but which contains your entire morning paper, all your magazine subscriptions, and that book you really want to get around to reading. It can also be used to look things up on Wikipedia, and in a pinch to check your email. That’s the promise of the Kindle, and it delivers on every point today other than price.

The Kindle isn’t perfect, but is a still a very interesting piece of technology that only very foolish people would write off from the get go.

I’ll be posting more about my thoughts on the Kindle and the PRS-505 in the coming days since I own both of them. If you have any questions for me about either device let me know in the comments and I’ll try and answer them all!

7 responses to “Why all the Kindle hate?”

  1. I’m looking to you to settle the confusion about PDF support on the Kindle. I’ve read conflicting reports on if it’s supported, supported badly, or not at all.
    I’m also looking forward to your teaser about not needing to spend lots of money to load it up with Amazon…I’m intrigued.

  2. I actually hadn’t heard a thing about this until I saw it on Amazon’s front page the other day.
    I like the whole idea of it – except the price.
    I can see myself owning one of these when, as you say, it hits the $100 mark.
    I am sure by that point it will have quite a few more features anyway.
    Is it compatible with microsoft reader files? I’ve read quite a few books at my desk at work on slow days in MS Reader & have a few more ebooks waiting in the wings (unfortunately I don’t have that many slow days lately)

  3. Oh, Scott.
    I’ve been meaning to tell you – I’m reading Richard Morgan’s new one – Thirteen right now, you should really check it out. One of his best, I think.

  4. Kindling?

    Some of the people I read have love for the (Amazon) Kindle , whilst others bring the hate or at least skepticism . After skimming this rather comprehensive review via arstechnica , Im having a hard time justifying as more than a solution …

  5. why i hate the kindle and all E-books the number 1 and most important reason is JOBS the kindle will cost millions of jobs worldwide. these jobs wont be replaced they are forever lost. lets start with the people that make the equipment to cut trees then the people that cut the trees then the people that transport the trees then the people that process the wood to make paper then the people that make the ink then the people that make the books then the people that make book covers then the people that package the books to ship them to distribution centers then the people that pick orders to ship the books to all the stores or directly to the customers then the people that transport the books then the people that work in book stores or online book stores then the people that deal in used books then the thousands of libraries, and that is only in America now we are less then 7% of the worlds population. electronic distribution has destroyed the music industry, has badly damaged the photography printing industry is currently destroying the movie industry ans in 5 years will destroy every news stand and bookstore in the world. so next time you buy a kindle think of how mant people that you will put out of work

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