Kindle surprise

Few days ago Amazon released a new gadget called Kindle, an electronic device for reading. That thing on the right to be precise.

Since the announcement almost everybody is complaining about it. And they are right. It’s expensive ($399, well 272€ is not that bad), it’s only available in the US, it includes DRM (I cannot lend what I buy!) and they even charge you –a small fee– for converting your own documents or reading someone else blog (ridiculous, even if they give some money to the blog author)… and all of these criticisms without even seeing or touching it!

However, if Amazon decides to sell this device in Europe I’d seriously consider buying it. It’s a useful gadget I’m sure I will utilize intensively. Probably not as much as I’d like because of these restrictions, and because of the lack of the magic “share button” (meaning: an open API for developers, and the possibility of connecting it to my friends’ Kindle).

I think people complain because we’re all comparing it with a book. And it isn’t. When you buy the latest best seller through Kindle you are not buying the book. You’re buying the right to read its content. Nothing more, nothing less. Doesn’t it seem as limited as the iPod when it was launched? Well, the iPod hasn’t been exactly a sound failure. (Disclaimer: I don’t have an iPod, no way.)

I think the point isn’t if this gadget is going to succeed or not. The thing here is that it has to succeed. We can’t carry all that books (and docs, and blogs) we want when we travel –even for a quick ride in the metro. We cannot afford cutting down trees and having such amount of waste of paper (by the way, what’s the cost of manufacturing a Kindle?). The book industry needs to evolve, and it will. Kindle, as it was the Sony Reader, it’s the right way to go.

You may say you prefer reading a real book (whatever that is) because you prefer the paper and the smell of the fresh ink. You also said you preferred the noise of a gramophone record or the amazing cassette tapes, and now we all have an MP3 player in the handbag. In five years we’ll be using Kindles everywhere.

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