Kindle: Becoming An Expensive Way To Read…

OK, I know this is my own fault…

I love the Kindle eBook device, and the ability it gives me to carry many books around with me, and buy them wirelessly, anywhere.

But it’s starting to look like a very expensive option. My first Kindle died, as readers of this blog will know, after I accidentally knocked it into the bath at home.

Although expensive, it wasn’t deeply mourned – since it gave me an excuse to go out and buy the much-improved Kindle 2, (which I’d have been tempted to do, anyway).

K2 happens to fit very neatly into a 6″ Ziplok sandwich bag, almost certainly averting the possibility of a watery grave similar to the one which claimed my first Kindle.

However, I was at an all-day meeting last week, and I was showing it off to a few people at my table. Then I received a phone call which meant I had to cut hurriedly out of that meeting and go to another one.

I had a lot of meetings last week. So it was two days later before I noticed my Kindle wasn’t in my backpack with the laptop I’d disconnected and stuffed into it when the call came.

I’ve been checking with receptionists, security, etc. – but it hasn’t turned up so far.

So now I face a hard choice. In order to read the 70-or-so books I’ve already purchased, do I shell out the price of a third Kindle? (Which would bring my Kindle outlay so far up to over $1000!).

Kindle, or a device like it, would be great for students. But I’d suspect there would be a fairly high device casualty rate.

I recently saw data from a “Kindle teardown” which put the actual hardware cost of the device at $185. When you add to that the cost of the free wireless networking support, etc, it’s clear Amazon probably isn’t making much profit on each device. Which means there’s not a lot of opportunity for future price drops, unless perhaps sales really take off and there’s a chance to cut unit cost by increasing manufacturing volume.

Will I buy another Kindle? Oh, probably. I’ll put it down to the cost of being an “early adopter” – and be a lot more careful about where I set it down in future…


8 thoughts on “Kindle: Becoming An Expensive Way To Read…

  1. bowerbird

    seems like amazon could use whispernetto know where that kindle is at any time,and sell people a “lojack” recovery service.or perhaps they’ll tell if you just ask them.-bowerbird

  2. MoJo

    Is there a reason you have to have a Kindle? There are plenty of other e-reading devices out there (Sony PRS that you can get at Target or Best Buy) where you can store your e-books on your hard drive and not worry about losing those AND the device.

  3. Richard Fink

    A shame.Have sort of the same problem with my wife’s iPhone but in a different way. The original iPhone doesn’t support 3G so we’ve got to spring for the extra bucks if we want the extra data speed.Lot of money down the drain and, as you point out, a lot of people – students especially – have no money in the budget for such a thing.Also, you’ve got to read this. An interview with a font designer named David Berlow (do you know him?) in AlistApart mag.Real Fonts On The WebMy comment to it here:Comment On Interview(Please correct me if you find my comment wrong-headed in any way.)Font-embedding is getting nowhere faster and faster.

  4. Bill Hill

    @mojo:I don’t lose the books, they’re in my digital locker at Amazon. I can simply download them to a new device. (which, BTW, I ordered yesterday).@richard:I know David Berlow pretty well. Great font guy, definitely a wild card, I like him a lot but he could start an argument in an empty room.There is actually movement going on on the Web embedding front, it’s just not very visible at the moment.

  5. Richard Fink

    “There is actually movement going on on the Web embedding front, it’s just not very visible at the moment.”Actually, it’s been so stagnant that I figured there had to be some movement somewhere.And I did notice that the online documentation for WEFT had been updated to include a link to an online forum for EOT hosted by Ascender at:Microsoft Web Embedding Font ToolsSo obviously there’s hope alive in Redmond.Hoping there’s more, but I realize there is much you can’t talk about.

  6. Richard Fink

    @bill and b-bird:Adobe Air keeps popping up as a subject of discussion on my RSS Feeds. The time seems to have come for a cross-platform environment with a browser at it’s core. Akin to what the HTA provides on Windows that you’ve seen.There are also some open-source alternatives to Air.See Creating Destop Applications With TitaniumJonathan Snook reports:”The OS windows chrome and transparency support in Titanium also excels over Adobe AIR by allowing native controls — like close, minimize and maximize — and semi-opaque documents at the same time. With AIR, you have to make an either/or choice.”Now, all this is may be great news, but we’re still left with thorny issues like font-linking/embedding.Big problem.In keeping with my off-blog suggestion about the Word Viewer and what it might reveal, I’ve also been looking at other approaches like the Flash-based magazine stuff available at (Bill, the ads on your site are paying an information-rich dividend far beyond what pennies you may see!)And then there’s the formats, formats, formats: mobi, epub, lit, pdf, and on and on.There is also talk of a new feature in Acrobat that allows for the re-flowing of text.All this stuff is under-reported, that’s for sure. And hopefully I’ll be able to play a role with that.Moving words from print to screen is going to be occupying us humans for many, many years to come. I certainly won’t live to see all the rough edges get smoothed.But I think we’re finally at the end of the very beginning of The Readable Web.Time to roll up the sleeves.As far as an HTML based authoring system, I’m less and less concerned about creating a Viewer, and more concerned about file conversion and authoring tools.All-purpose tools like Dreamweaver and Expression are just not accessible enough to the average person.You shouldn’t have to be a member of a secret society, a Guild of sorts, to be able to publish a book online and have it look good.I think we all agree on that.

  7. Bill Hill

    @ richard:”You shouldn’t have to be a member of a secret society, a Guild of sorts, to be able to publish a book online and have it look good.I think we all agree on that.”Hear, hear! I totally agree.One of the problems with working at Microsoft is that almost everyone’s a geek.Programs like Publisher and Word will let you create websites without becoming a programmer. But the code they create is verbose and incomprehensible to humans.You should not have to be both a visual designer and a software engineer. Or a writer and a software engineer.Desktop publishing made the arcane world of print publishing accessible to millions more people. We need a tool like that for the Web.@mojo:You can download all your Kindle books to your hard drive and store them there. That’s what I used to do until I realised it was more convenient to let Amazon keep my archive, since they only have to store the pointers, but I’m using up hard drive space…


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