Thursday, July 29, 2010
At long last . . .
. . . the full-fledged e-book reader has come down into my price range. Yesterday, in another price-war salvo, Amazon.com announced its third-generation Kindle, a wi-fi-only (no 3G wireless) model with a six-inch screen for $139. (If you must have 3G, it's $189.)
There are other sweeteners, such as a claimed 50 per cent improvement in screen readability, and a smaller and lighter overall size (8.7 ounces). But it's the price that most caught my eye. I can afford that. And so, I suspect, can most other folks who like to read books.
I've been reading e-books for more than a year on my iPod Touch, and it has done very well, especially in dim light, for it's backlighted. The thing is easy to carry on a belt, and it does e-mail and light Web surfing, too.
But the three-inch screen doesn't lend itself to all-day reading. The iTouch is best for stop-and-go "snatch reading" such as a few minutes in a coffee shop or an hour in the doctor's waiting room.
So early this fall, I'll be buying myself either the new Kindle or perhaps its chief competitor, Barnes & Noble's $149 Nook. The Kindle will start shipping August 27, but by nature I'm not an early adopter, preferring instead to let the impatient discover kinks to be ironed out.
I do believe that this is the tipping point for e-books over dead-tree books. Already Amazon.com sells more e-books than it does hardcovers.
Let the stampede begin.