Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More Lavish Praise For Kindle

I'm on Day 10 of my love affair with Kindle. There are just so many things you can do with this device. Clearly the Amazon.com folks spent a lot of time conceiving, testing, fine-tuning their eBook reader before pushing it into the marketplace.

As a marketing guy, the first thing I noticed was how effectively this device was for selling books. Now if you believe in books like Amazon.com does, then being an evangelist for reading is probably O.K. The Kindle does a fab job of ever pointing you to shop in the Kindle store. It does this non-intrusively though and you do not feel forced or fandangoed.

As a reader, I like the manner in which it leads you to the books that seem suited to your taste. Maybe I'm wrong but I get the feeling this thing has an intelligence, since it is always making me aware of books it believes would interest me. For example, when you go to the Kindle store, you can browse the books, mags, newspapers and more, just like sections of a normal book store. Then there are the featured items, and a short list of things to try. Across the bottom are recommendations specifically for you. One of the recommendations on my Kindle is the Harvard Classics best 200 works of fiction of all time. For only 99 cents. Yes, I can own a collection of the greatest literature of all time for under a buck, and still have room for fifty more such collections.

Now think of it... the 51 volume Collier edition of Harvard Classics which I received from my grandmother's collection takes up more than six feet of shelf space here in my home office. To own and carry around 200 volumes of the world's greatest lit in a device the size of a slim pocket paperback is somewhat mind-blowing.

I'm not the only one praising Kindles these days. Here's the opening of an article by a U.K. fellow named Ian Betteridge from his Technovia blog.

Getting the out-of-box experience right with consumer electronics is hard, which is why so many companies get it wrong. With the Kindle, Amazon has produced a customer experience that Apple would be proud of. In fact, it’s arguable that the integrated experience of Kindle is actually better than anything Apple has done.

Open the box, there’s the Kindle. On screen is a message, telling you how to plug it in to charge and how to turn it on. This message isn’t printed on a cheap sticker – it’s actually on the Kindle screen. One of the advantages of eInk is that you can put something on screen and it will stay there, without drawing power, until the screen is refreshed.

I think it was this more than anything that helped me appreciate what the Kindle designers had done. Like a first date, the experience was comfortable, natural. I hate to say it, but my iPad experience was not like that at all so that I (regrettably) gave my iPad to my son rather than get frustrated trying to figure it all out. I would have done well to have someone mentor me with it, and maybe I would be writing lavish praise for the iPad instead today. Alas...

But that isn't the only reason I fell in love with the Kindle. I love my Kindle because it is so exhilarating to be able to read so many interesting things. I enjoy reading and find myself reading more, catching a whiff of Innocents Abroad, then a bit of Portugal's Fernando Pessoa, then off to the incredibly compelling Open, by Andre Agassi. And even if I did not buy Agassi's book, by reading the sample chapters (free) I was hooked into it, and hope one day to find it audio so I can read the whole of it while commuting.

I have samples of a Mick Jagger Wiki Book and several books by on of India's leading literary figures, Munsi Prenchand. Tales of the Jazz Age by Fitzgerald, a commentary by Martin Luther, Dick Van Dyke's autobiography and Thoreau's Civil Disobedience are but a few of the eBooks I've been tasting these first ten days.

Well, I'd best start my day. You have a great one, too.

You can find the rest of Betteridge's column here: http://www.technovia.co.uk/2010/11/in-praise-of-kindle.html



I bought one for my wife. She loves it, too.

ENNYMAN said...

Thanks for the comment and visit. Yes, a lot to like...