I was investigating the Kindle the other day. In case you don’t know, the Kindle is a digital tablet designed for reading books in digital form and is sold (exclusively I think) by Amazon.com
This technology has been in development for quite a few years, and the Kindle is already in its 2nd version (Kindle2), so it is approaching maturity, and obviously quite a few people like the idea.
Like many others I enjoy what you might call the “tactile experience” of holding a book, turning pages, etc., but when you stop and think of it the idea of having to print out millions of paper pages just to read stuff we can get on our computer screens, iphones, blackberries and digital book readers doesn’t make a lot of long term sense.
So it’s not the gadget-envy associated with the Kindle that interests me, and it’s definitely not the name. It’s more the idea of being able to download entire books in digital form and read them immediately without having to wait for the physical books to be shipped from somewhere a thousand miles away.
Turns out you can do that now. There is a version of the Kindle software you can run on your PC or Mac. So you can buy the Kindle version of a book – if it is available – and then just read it on your PC. No Kindle required.
Recently I went looking (on Amazon) for a number of books on Native American History. There were quite a few listed, and many were available for between $2 and $6 as used copies from various dealers.
I plodded through the selection process and when I was done the books were about $15 and the shipping about $75. So I looked to see if Kindle versions were available.
Nope. Just a few of the more obscure ones. So I cut my order back to the bare essentials and ordered the old fashioned Amazon way. About a week later I had one of my books. I’m still waiting (about two weeks later) for the others.
Apparently the age of the Kindle has not yet arrived. At least not for the kind of books I am interested in.