As regards the product, I have nothing to add to Mark Pilgrim’s The Future of Reading (A Play in Six Acts). But the big meta-news story here is: PR Triumph. The product, it’s Yet Another E-Book Reader. It got on the front cover of Newsweek and was featured by more or less everyone in the mainstream-media technology beat. It bloody well got onto the front page of my hometown Vancouver Sun. Maybe the product will soar, maybe it’ll flop. But this is obviously the crowning PR achievement of our young century. I bow my head in awe.



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From: mrot (Nov 20 2007, at 08:50)

As interesting as Mark's piece is, I want to highlight the words of this commenter

http://diveintomark.org/archives/2007/11/19/the-future-of-reading#comment-10646

Which whom I agree quite a bit more. The future is rarely so linear as the "1984" kind of visions. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, but usually more convoluted and full of side-effects and unexpected twists and turns.

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From: John (Nov 20 2007, at 08:59)

I thought that the iPhone was pretty much THE pr event of the last few years.

Bezos ain't no slouch but I think Jobs still has him beat

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From: steve minutillo (Nov 20 2007, at 09:42)

Is that really so impressive considering Apple gets the same coverage when they merely *refresh* an existing product? Remember the "lamp" iMac?

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From: Mark (Nov 20 2007, at 09:52)

Actually, I agree with that commenter as well. I admit that quoting "1984" is intellectually lazy -- that book needs its own version of Godwin's Law. But quoting anything else would devolve into explaining the reference (to the majority of people who didn't get it) and then arguing about the significance/meaning of the reference afterwards.

That said, "1984" *was* incredibly naive and simplistic. The present is much more complex. How many cameras per square mile does Britain have? How much of your internet traffic did the NSA intercept from AT+T's secret room in San Francisco? Orwell's imagination was limited by the technology of 1948.

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From: Bob Aman (Nov 20 2007, at 10:08)

PR coup. That's one way of looking at it I guess. My take was more along the lines of, "Why is everyone talking about a device that is so completely uninteresting?"

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From: Shazron (Nov 20 2007, at 10:16)

I don't think this will catch on like the iPod, it's hardly an object of desire (maybe if Apple designed it!). I can't imagine teenagers/college students buying this at all, unless they are book geeks.

Well, maybe college students, if they can get their course texts in the Kindle format. Non-support for PDF is troubling; they should at least provide a conversion path for users that have a lot of PDFs. Amazon should open up the AZW format, someone will write a converter eventually.

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From: Will (Nov 20 2007, at 10:33)

Do you think Newsweek might have been desperate to get the Kindle cover story to make up for the years of Apple covers done by Time?

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From: Tony Fisk (Nov 20 2007, at 15:05)

I think I'd prefer the e-book capabilities of an XO Laptop without the lock-in. (if the Give 1 Get 1 offer extended outside the US continent! There's got to be an Onion article in there somewhere!)

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From: Dan Connolly (Nov 24 2007, at 08:06)

perhaps not an onion article, but see Free Culture: Why buy the Amazon Kindle when you can give and get an OLPC XO-1 for the same price?, complete with cute-kid video/commercial (follow the "one laptop per Kyle" link).

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From: Ben Trafford (Nov 24 2007, at 21:06)

The Kindle is nothing but more of the same old, same old. The ebook world has had gadgets for years. People don't seem to realize that the gadget approach is wrong-headed.

To replace a perfectly good technology, you either need to be cheaper, better, or faster. Ebook devices are faster, and that's about it. To truly make a splash, ebooks (by which I mean, books on devices) will need to do everything paper books do, and more.

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