of razors and blades 11.19.2007, 4:06 PM
posted by ben vershbow
A flurry of reactions to the Amazon Kindle release, much of it tipping negative (though interestingly largely by folks who haven't yet handled the thing).
David Rothman exhaustively covers the DRM/e-book standards angle and is generally displeased:
I think publishers should lay down the law and threaten Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with slow dismemberment if he fails to promise immediately that the Kindle will do .epub [the International Digital Publishing Forum's new standard format] in the next six months or so. Epub, epub, epub, Jeff. Publishers still remember how you forced them to abandon PDF in favor of your proprietary Mobi format, at least in Amazon-related deals. You owe 'em one.
Dear Author also laments the DRM situation as well as the jacked-up price:
Here's the one way I think the Kindle will succeed with consumers (non business consumers). It chooses to employ a subscription program whereby you agree to buy x amount of books at Amazon in exchange for getting the Kindle at some reduced price. Another way to drive ereading traffic to Amazon would be to sell books without DRM. Jeff Bezos was convinced that DRM free music was imperative. Why not DRM free ebooks?
The product is interesting but extremely overpriced, especially considering that I still have to pay for books. Amazon needs to discover what Gillette figured out decades ago: Give away the razor, charge for the razor blades. In this model, every Joe gets a razor because he has nothing to lose. Then he discovers that he LOVES the razor, and to continue loving it he needs to buy razors for it. The rest is history.
This e-book device should be almost free, like $30. If that were the case I'd have one tomorrow. Then I'd buy a book for it and see how I like it. If I fall in love with it, then I'll continue buying books, to Amazon's benefit.
There is no way I'm taking a chance on a $400 dedicated e-book reader. That puts WAY too much risk on my side of the equation.
Jane Dark on November 19, 2007 11:28 PM:
I'm curious about Kindle, but have little interest in any e-book readers, really, because so many of the books I read are lit crit titles that I don't expect to be available in an electronic format.
I prefer printed books, but when I'm schlepping around 20-40 library books I fantasize about having them in electronic format (thus saving me money on chiropractic treatments, AND potentially allowing me to *buy* books, instead of just pay library fines on them.)
I can't be the only academic who dreams about this, can I?