Amazon has introduced a new electronic book reader they plan to sell for $399, to compete with the likes of the Sony reader, which goes for $299. Electronic book readers have been amazingly unsuccessful these past few years. The Sony has not taken off due to low number of available titles and less than customer friendly shopping experience.

Do we really need another attempt at this? Amazon has a few things going for it however, including 90,000 digitized titles available, ability to download through wireless broadband without a computer, and new releases and best sellers priced around $10 rather than the $22-$27 for hardcover books. Public domain books may go for a little as $1.99. I like the look of it, measuring out at 7.5″ X 5.3″ X .7″ and coming with 180mb of free memory.

Still, it seems pricey to me. What is the advantage of reading electronically? Well, storage for one. The Kindle can hold up to 200 text only titles. Pictures require higher memory demands but wouldn’t be an issue with most fiction books. It can also read newspapers, magazines and blogs. The small keyboard enables note taking in the margins and the ability to conduct searches. I suppose if I was stuck on a commuter train an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, the Kindle would be wonderful. Sitting around the house with some free time on my hands though, I’d pick up a hardcover or a paperback book rather than the Kindle.

If they could price it closer to $149 – $199, even if they charged a bit more for the titles, I would consider it. As it’s priced now, $400 would buy me 16 hardcover books; at least a year’s worth of reading.

 

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