Amazon's Kindle--Cool New eBook Reader

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/19/07 10:13 PM

Check it out!


The price is still way too high at $399, but the product looks pretty good.
Kindle: Amazon\'s New Wireless Reading Device
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Postby Guest » 11/19/07 11:44 PM

FYI, the Sony Reader is currently for sale in Costco here in Los Angeles (and probably elsewhere) for just $250, which includes a $50 certificate for electronic books. The new model plugs in to a USB port and you can drag files onto it without any Sony software.

I may get one for my wife for Christmas and if so I'll post a review.
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Postby NCMarsh » 11/20/07 01:25 AM

There was a great interview with Jeff Bezos about the kindle on NPR today here
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Postby David Britland » 11/20/07 02:46 AM

The big disadvantage of the Kindle seems to be that it will not read pdf files.

Unfortunately that's the format that most magic publications are in, including the Ask Alexander database.

Another Review

I guess they want to sell us their books, rather than read the books we already have!
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Postby Guest » 11/20/07 05:19 AM

No color? Not a bright design and marketing move if magazines which publish in full color (e.g., Time) are being pushed.

Poor resolution in B&W = similar limited appeal.

No reading of PDFs is very dumb.

Having to e-mail just about any file in the world that exists on your computer to Amazon for conversion to its (presumably) proprietary format just so you can take that file with you on this device is very annoying, nobody mentions how long such "remote" conversions could take, and nobody seems to care about privacy concerns. And if you edit that file, presumably you have to send it back to Amazon for conversion back to the original file format, or do they even do that for you?

Maybe there are some worthy innovations in this device, but considering its cost and practical limited appeal and abilities, it's a dud from the start.

As I listened to Bezos in the interview, in some instances I thought about that scene in Airplane where the sign lights up with Bulls***, Extreme Bulls***, etc., in response to the stewardess obvious lies.

Bezos claims that the physical book is highly evolved. I cant think of another everyday item that has evolved less over the past 500 years. Bezos claim on this point qualifies as Extreme, Unbelievable Bulls***.

Apparently, the marketers felt that Amazon needed to make that argument in order to convince prospective buyers that this was simply the next step in the evolution of the book?

Bezos follows that up with the claim that the ink, paper and glue of a physical book disappear, leaving the reader with only the thoughts evoked by the authors words. The NPR interviewer subtly calls him on that when she asserts that reading a book is a delightfully tactile experience in other words, the ink, paper and glue are an integral, if not completely conscious, aspect of a readers reading enjoyment. Bezos disagrees with the interviewer and argues that this device is something that people will like to cuddle up with.

In response to the interviewers observation that all prior e-readers have failed to obtain mass appeal, Bezos argues that the Kindle is different, citing four differences: (1) the display technology; (2) its the only reader to seamlessly incorporate wireless; (3) one can purchase a book through the device itself; and (4) best-selling books are cheap.

(1) is not new; other devices use this display technology
(2) is only there for marketing purposes selling books and magazines. For any other purpose (e-mail, etc.), its apparently not so seamless and battery life becomes an issue.
(3) is just more marketing
(4) is marketing again.

Kindle is different. It is a different way for Amazon to sell new books and magazines. But based on Bezos interview and except for the better display technology, Kindle does very little to address the concerns raised with the older devices.
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Postby Guest » 11/20/07 06:46 AM

My position is that your best ebook reader is the one you already have--that is, whatever computer you're reading this on, and whatever device you carry in your pocket, such as a Treo, Blackberry, or Iphone.

These may cost more than a Kindle, but it's a sunk cost, since you need the computer or smartphone for other reasons.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 11/20/07 07:55 AM

Richard -- my edit was just to fix up the link in your post. You'll get the hang of those [url] tags at some point. ;)

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Postby Guest » 11/20/07 08:07 AM

James in Toronto,

Have you seen an eink device? I can't imagine trying to read a book off any backlit lores LCD screen such as you propose. Eink screens are much easier, in my eyes.

The Sony Reader can display pdfs (among other formats) so it may be the best choice for magic readers. Still the amazing thing to me is that so few readers support html natively. I would think that html is the perfect format for ebooks because it is designed to adapt itself to varying screen sizes. It's not like html rendering engines are hard to find.

The number of free electronic books is really pretty impressive and includes a great many classics of literature, if you like that kind of thing.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/20/07 10:29 AM

I bet the next generation Kindle will read pdfs. Britland is correct: without the ability to read pdfs it simply isn't going to suit a lot of people's needs.
I had heard complaints about the Sony reading only items created with its proprietary software? Is that no longer true?
I think if the Sony has been reduced to $250 at Costco, then it's a better idea for the savvy consumer to wait for the next generation, which is certain to come out in the spring. Big price reductions are always a sign that your product is about to change.
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Postby Guest » 11/20/07 11:02 AM

According to everything I've read, the new Sony can read unprotected pdfs (plus word files and text files). Since it operates as a USB drive, you can use it without ever running any Sony software, which is nice if you don't like rootkits.

For me, the big question is can I copy my digital Phoenix onto the device, and read it without the copy protection getting in the way.
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Postby Guest » 11/21/07 11:35 AM

Goaty posted a quote from The Guardian in another area of GF, but it deserves inclusion here.

Click here.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 11/21/07 01:20 PM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
According to everything I've read, the new Sony can read unprotected pdfs (plus word files and text files). Since it operates as a USB drive, you can use it without ever running any Sony software...
Someone--and I cannot recall who (so forgive me if you are reading this)--had the new Sony at the History Conference. The owner said that it could do everything Pete wrote above.

But it still didn't smell like a book. :)
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Postby Guest » 11/23/07 04:34 AM

The best thing about this thing is that it runs on EVDO. And at NO COST! You can download content from almost everywhere. Unlike an iPod, or laptop which need WiFi, much harder to find. This is a giant leap, but there's much further to go. It's cool, but do I really need to carry 200 books with me everywhere? Since I usually have a breifcase/laptop bag/backpack almost everywhere I go, I'll take a paperback and the latest issue of Genii any day.
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Postby Guest » 11/23/07 06:16 AM

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
But it still didn't smell like a book. :)
This is a real point for me. My edition of Greater Magic SMELLS like a magic book. It smell old, and well used and wonderful. I think of the other people that have held the copy I have in their hands.

Never gonna get that with an ebook.
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Postby Guest » 11/23/07 01:03 PM

Ever wondered what the previous owner did with it to get it to smell that way?
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