Despite criticism over file formats and pricing, Amazon’s new eBook reader, the Kindle, has been flying off the shelves so fast since its US launch on 19 November that it will be out of stock until 3 December.
While early reviews have praised the device for its lightweight, ergonomic design and ease of use, others have pointed out several sticking points.
The Kindle is wireless and enables the user to purchase and download eBooks for reading within minutes. However, the books are in a file format specific to Kindle, meaning previous eBooks in the more popular pdf file format or even in text, cannot be transferred over unless emailed to the device because it has to be converted by Amazon first.
It seems that this method is tying in Kindle with Amazon-approved only eBooks, drawing parallels with Apple’s iPod/iTunes empire.
Another reason why critics have been so fast to dismiss the Kindle is the fact that it charges the user to read blogs and online newspapers: something they could get for free over the web.
Added to this, there is no RSS reader on the device, so blogs are chosen and filtered through Amazon.
eBook readers are proving quite popular in Japan, with cheaply produced fan fiction and Manga comics providing most of the content.
While no release date has been announced for the Kindle here in Ireland or in the UK, it remains to be seen whether bookworms will turn from paper to plastic and electronics.
By Marie Boran