Kindle Reviewed

There was an amusing, very watchable, but unkind review of the Amazon eBook reader by Robert Scoble

http://www.kyte.tv/flash.swf?embedId=10020570&appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/6118/77475&locale=enhttp://media01.kyte.tv/images/updatenotice.swf

The review is rude and harsh to unfair (and Scoble admits as much), partly because he doesn’t dwell on the good/interesting points. He does however say that he read two books on the device, serious books (at least one of them was since it was by Greenspan). That seems to me an important plus for the Kindle. He had lots to complain about but he read two books.

A more thoughtful review comes from Ars Technica. John Timmer gives a convincing account of what it is like to use the Kindle and he introduces the fruitful concept of a ‘Reading Model’ (different media influence how the text they contain gets read in different ways). You should read the whole piece but you will get the flavour of the discussion from this:

I’ll leave it to you to ponder the reading models of newspapers and magazines in order to focus on the Kindle’s reading model, which is largely enforced by a combination of the E Ink screen and the underlying operating system. Like a book, the Kindle enforces arbitrary page contents based on what can be rendered in a single screen, and is read left-to-right.
……
There are only a couple of cases where books probably won’t work well. One is with books that feature heavy use of illustrations or pictures, as not all images display well on the E Ink screen. The delays involved in flipping long distances forward or backwards page-by-page means that books without a good chapter structure or readers that constantly shuffle around their book will have problems with the Kindle’s reading model. Otherwise, Amazon clearly has the book thing down. [Ars Technica]

This review gives insight into what its like to read with the Kindle. Its very helpful that John Timmer has tried to define the style of reading to which this machine lends itself (he guesses that commuters will like it). We have the impression that the pagination of a book on the Amazon Kindle is not the same as the pagination in print (clearly the newspapers and magazines are ‘repurposed’ and lose their print pagination). That is a pity. But the Kindle may have a more promising second coming when the engineers have absorbed Scoble’s usability strictures. In mid 2008 it will probably look and feel a bit more like the iTouch/iPhone!