For some time I have been wanting an ebook reader and have been following along for awhile waiting for the device that would want me to dive in. Previously I had looked at the Sony Reader, especially the 2nd generation one, but was not happy with their pricing structure. When the first Kindle came out I was rather disappointed by the features and how it looked and there was quite a lot of negative criticism of it at first. Though I was surprised as time went on actually users of the Kindle were overall quite happy with it for the most part, except for the navigation buttons.
Regardless I decided to wait to see what the 2nd generation Kindle would have. The Kindle 2 certainly seems to be an improvement overall and has improved aesthetically over the original. Though really the most important consideration in any book reader is the catalog. This is the main reason why I thought that Amazon could really take ebooks to the next level. They have the clout to get publishers to submit books in their format. Just like Apple with iTunes was able to shape the downloadable music industry, Amazon will probably be quite significant in the ebook space. Right now they have a quarter million books in their catalog and more an more new books are available in the Kindle format.
I was disappointed though that the price of the Kindle had not dropped from the $359 dollars its predecessor had dropped down to. $359 can buy a lot of books. So I was trying to justify the purchase in light of the fact that I had already bought some expensive tech products over the last year. I was thinking that since books on the kindle are cheaper than the same book in paper that over time it would pay for itself. There is some truth in that since new bestsellers are mostly only $9.99. Though it might take quite a while before the lower prices would offset the Kindle purchase. So I started looking through my wish list of books that I maintain on Bookpedia. I went through them and would click on the Amazon button in Bookpedia to go to the Amazon page to see if they were available on the Kindle.
Unfortunately I found that only about half of the books I had on my wish list were actually available on the Kindle. Now many of the books I have on my wish list deal with Catholic theology and spirituality so I guess it is not surprising that many were not yet available. One of my favorite publishers Ignatius Press now has one book in Kindle format and I really hope they make their whole catalog available that way. I really want to have Pope Benedict XVI on a Kindle along with his writings as Cardinal Ratzinger. I was surprised though that books like the Jack Aubrey series by Patrick O’Brian were not on the Kindle. I have read six books of this 21 book series and was really hoping that I could get it via the Kindle. The new book by one of my favorite SF authors Michael Flynn was also not available for the Kindle. So while I would have liked to justify a Kindle purchase based on price savings over time – it would be quite a period of time.
My poor book shelves are stressed and loaded to the full with layers of books on each shelf. This is one of the reasons I want to be able to go the ebook route. Yeah I love seeing books in a book shelf, there is something about it that makes a book geek happy. But I already have the stuffed book shelves to look at so am more than willing to go to an electronic format. There has been criticism of ebooks from people who like the smell of paper and the feel of the book. I am not one of those critics. I have read books on my computer and iPod Touch and don’t mind the experience and a electronic ink technology like the Kindle has the best of both worlds. There have been many times when I wanted to search for something in a book.
Plus there is the fact that there a lot of public domain books that can be read on the Kindle (or any other book reader). There are plenty of titles of Catholic theology and spirituality that would be nice to be able to read on the Kindle. I convert many public domain books to speech to listen to. But when it comes to theology and spirituality though I want to read it and not listen to it. Fiction is fine to listen to, but I need to put more attention into books of this type and reading it is the best way. I have bookmarks full of links to books I want to read at some point. Though I could read them on my iPod Touch via Stanza. One of the new features available on the kindle is text-to-speech and that is pretty cool. I have listened to hundreds of books via modern computer speech synthesis and It would be nice to be able to switch between reading a book and listening to it as your needs change.
Really though I do want the new Kindle and now over time more and more of the books I want will be available for it and right now there are tons of books that are available. So it is only a matter of time and justifying it financially before I do break down and order it.