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Category: reading

Kindle: Network Connectivity included in purchase price

Connectivity to the network included in the purchase price of the Kindle. This is the most revolutionary part of the Kindle. It’s a product, a hunk of plastic and electronics that comes in a box with a recharger. The price is a little high for an e-reader, the special sauce is the built in complimentary network connectivity. There’s no meter running.

It’s EVDO, Amazon calls it WhisperNet– but it doesn’t really matter what the technology is or what it’s called. The consumer doesn’t need to think about it. It’s what enables shopping for books and periodicals, and what allows delivery. It will only be noticeable when it’s slow or not working.

I’m not sure how the economics of this work, but if the cost of the network is built in to the cost of the reader and the purchased content, the issue of the price of the network disappears. And with that, a big usability problem and a big uptake issue goes away. The network is assumed. With some mass production, economies of scale and a little time we may get the price down to what a DVD player costs.

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Kindle: The street has its own uses for things

Kindle, Amazon’s reader

I still don’t quite understand Kindle, but I think it’s worth waiting for the street to come up with a use for it. In reading through the overwhelming stream of condemnation, I could only think that something that this many people hate must have something going for it. I’m of two minds: I posted against it, and now I will post something in its favor.

I was listening to Jason Calacanis on Leo Laporte’s This Week in Technology and William Gibson’s quote surfaced: the street has its own uses for things. That lead me to Cory Doctorow’s take on the same theme. Amazon has its intended uses for Kindle, some of them may come to pass.

I’ve previously written on what we buy when we buy creative content. We think we’re buying the writing in the book, but we’re actually buying the physical object, a book. We buy the delivery mechanism. Creative content lives in the mind’s eye as it comes in contact with the physical marks that can be purchased. We often moan about having to buy the same music over and over again in different formats. But that’s all there is, there are only formats and the players that decode them. Music and literature don’t inhabit the physical plane.

Kindle is a delivery method, it’s also a toll booth– a means of collecting fees on content that flows through it. It’s a method of publishing into a different format; this format is a machine. For the street to find uses for Kindle, it will have to win users. The offering price is too high, but perhaps it will be reduced, much like the iPhone. Will we buy the same books in yet another format? We have so far, why wouldn’t we do it again?

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Disrupting the book: What if Kindle was free?

Books

Can the book be disrupted? It seems like piling on to write about Amazon’s new e-book device “Kindle.” Universally hated, except for the free EVDO. In general I’m in favor of single purpose network attached devices. For instance, I crave a Chumby. But the Kindle seems doomed to failure. How many attempts have been made in the e-book space? Of course, it’s not really an e-book, it’s an electronic text reader. A book is an entirely different experience.

Would I spend $400 to buy a device that would allow me to spend $10 more to download the text of a book? I think I’d prefer to read news and features on a device like that. If that’s true, how is it better than an iPhone? Perhaps Kindle should be like a razor. Give it away and charge for the razor blades. I don’t know if that model would work, but it’s the only way it could gain wide acceptance.

Although we’re trained not to buy content, we ascribe the emotion of “wanting to be free” to it. Perhaps both the reader and text are free and supported by advertising. Macbeth, brought to you by Dawn dishwashing liquid. It’s tough on dirt, but gentle on your hands.

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