Amazon’s new Kindle is appealing. I haven’t used one, but I hope it works well. (Even if it doesn’t, one of these days, somebody will get these eBook things right and they’ll take off.) I especially love that the Kindle doesn’t come with a wireless fee. “Pay-for-use” feels refreshingly liberating in an environment where every product seems to require a monthly stipend from its owners, used or not.
Yet I’m having a hard time getting excited about buying a Kindle. The screen looks nice, but frankly, not nicer than the one I already find on my iPhone (both are 160 pixels per inch resolution). More appealing is the prospect of tapping into Kindle’s online library of e-content. How about a Kindle Reader for iPhone? No one would seem to lose in this arrangement. Amazon doesn’t really want to sell hardware, does it? And Apple garners another useful application for the iPhone.
For consumers, there’s the question of buying book content in Amazon’s proprietary .AZW format, and though I don’t relish the idea of DRM’d books, I have to admit that it doesn’t bother me, either. To wish that Amazon were publishing all of its .AZW content in some open format is exactly that–a wish–and to bemoan that fact is to sit out this current generation of eReading. Sure, I might have to buy the book again some day, in some new-fangled format. In the meantime, however, I got an electronic book at a discount price. There are worse things to blow your money on.