The new Kindle is currently priced same as the old one, $360. Considering that it’s an engine for buying books directly from one supplier — Amazon— that seems too high. On the other hand, it’s hard to fault Amazon for what it charges when it can’t fulfill demand at the current price. Also consider that the books you buy from Amazon are limited by digital rights management rules imposed by the publishers. You may invest thousands of dollars over the years in a library that your friends can’t access and your heirs can’t sell to second-hand dealers.
Looking over the horizon, it’s clear that Amazon’s biggest competitor in selling digital books will be Google, whose recent agreement with publishers and authors will make it a virtually exclusive seller for millions of books in copyright but not in print. But right now at least, the Google and Amazon formats aren’t compatible: I was unsuccessful in getting a PDF of a public domain book downloaded from Google to appear in readable form on my Kindle.
Overall, the Kindle 2 addresses the key problems with the original, boosts performance, and points to some interesting directions. Now we’re a little bit further down the road toward e-book Nirvana.
Photos: Jonathan Snyder /
- Memory: 2 GB
- Screen Size: 6-inches