December 21, 2007
News & Opinion: Kindle vs. Reader and Beyond
I recently spent some time with the Amazon Kindle side-by-side with the Sony Reader. Having never used any type of virtual book device before, it took me a bit to adjust to both (both have slightly awkward hardware characteristics), but once I settled in, some big things became apparent. Kindle is very connected to a large world beyond the text you're reading on the screen. With services like Wikipedia and Dictionary connection, and their experimental "NowNow" service - where you type in a question about ANYTHING, and a rep from Amazon will upload 3 related links to your Kindle in response - a reader has a pretty robust reference library at their fingertips. But that's not all. Because it's connected to Amazon, all their features also apply - book recommendations, preferences, etc., making it really easy to buy new eBook titles.
Sony's Reader is a fine reading device. The text on the screen is just as legible. But it's all the things that Kindle is connected to outside itself that makes it more compelling. I actually pictured myself using one beyond this test - something I never imagined considering. All in all though, I'm mostly interested to see where this goes. I don't think it'll die like some think, but it certainly isn't the answer for everyone. Future devices will find ways to improve this connectivity to a larger world, and will give it broader appeal. In the meantime, I'm cherishing my signed, leather-bound Thomas Ligotti books with crimson type and black page edges.
About Aaron Schleicher
Aaron Schleicher has been the author services specialist at 800-CEO-READ since 2004. You can usually find him hidden under a baseball cap, feet kicked up on his desk, talking with authors, publishers, and businesses. Outside the office you can find him crafting candles, listening to records, and making music with friends and family.