Device Convergence, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Kindle

A number of months ago I posted my disappointment in the version 1 Kindle. I’ve also tried out the version 2, and continue to be convinced that the Sony Reader is a better piece of hardware for dedicated book reading.

But (if there wasn’t a but there wouldn’t be much of a post here) the Sony eBook store is painfully terrible. Titles are expensive, hard to search for, and often not available. The result is that my book buying on the Sony gradually trailed off. On my last two business trips I haven’t bothered to bring the Reader, and it sits on a shelf right now, probably running out of battery.

Last week Aletta wanted a book which was available from Amazon, and didn’t want to wait for it. She downloaded the iPhone Kindle app, bought the book, and was pleasantly surprised. Reading on a small screen is more pleasant than either of us expected, and the Kindle app is quite well designed.

I carry an iPod Touch with me basically everywhere. Switching to Kindle means I can have my books with me even when I don’t want to carry a dedicated eink-reader. I have the option of buying a dedicated reader if I want one.

The only downside is that book ownership is still restricted to a single account, from what I can tell. Aletta and I solve this by keeping all our ebooks on a single account, and that’s no worse than Sony. But there is definitely room for improvement in managing household book collections and book sharing. Hopefully between Sony, Amazon, Apple, and Google we have enough competition to find a good set of structures.

In summary, on Kindle:

  • Books are easy to buy
  • Books availability is superior
  • Books are available across multiple devices
  • Books are available on devices I already own
  • Book access feels a little more future proof against DRM fail. Or at least if there is fail, there will be a critical mass of people building cracking tools.

I hope Amazon gets an Android port out soon, and starts encouraging other companies to make eink-readers that support Kindle. It could be a great ecosystem.

Sony, it’s time to realize that user experience is about a lot more than just the industrial design of the physical product.

1 Comment »

  1. Jeffrey Bosboom says:

    Your RSS feed seems to be broken. I can’t add it in Thunderbird, and Firefox reports an infinite redirection error. I’d like to subscribe, so please fix this.