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On Reading in the Digital Age

So Amazon’s Kindle 2 is out and it look pretty nice. Less clunky than the original. I still don’t understand why so much space is taken up by a keyboard but that’s minor. And $349 is still pretty expensive for most people. And, for me, there still aren’t enough technical book titles available for the Kindle. But after more than a decade of the promise of e-Books and e-Book readers, we’re getting close. But do we really need a dedicated e-Book device?

I’ve been using Stanza on my iPod touch and it’s quite good. The main problem with Stanza is content pricing. For example, the book Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) is $14.95 in hardcover on Amazon. The Kindle edition is $9.99. Fictionwise, the online store that Stanza uses charges $24.95 which is the list price of the hardcover edition. You can get discounts if you become a “club member” but, even then, the price is nearly double Amazon’s Kindle price.

What I’d like to see, and Amazon has announced plans, is a Kindle reader for mobile devices like the iPod touch. Clearly there’s a market for books on the iPhone / iPod touch and Amazon would sell a ton of books this way.

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