Only your friends steal your books

Amazon have announced that they’re going to be selling Kindles properly in the UK (as opposed to the half-arsed “International” version), and at £109 for WiFi-only and £149 for a 3G version I’m quite tempted. My Android phone generally takes care of internet on the move, but for an extra £40 and no monthly fee a Kindle could be handy backup for very basic mail/blog checking on its stripped-down browser, the longer battery life being particularly useful as the phone really needs charging every day. (iPads are very shiny, but at least £400 more plus data charges…)

Course there’s reading books as well, that being the main purpose and all, and as I’m getting ready for a holiday and contemplating cutting down on spare pants to squeeze a few more books into a suitcase, the ability to have a library in a pocket is rather attractive (especially for everyone else I’m going on holiday with). One of the problems is starting a collection from scratch; there are clear parallels in books and music, with ebook readers for MP3 players, but where you could rip your existing CD collection to MP3s (not strictly legally, though most people do it anyway) there’s no equivalent for books that I’m aware of apart from chopping one into individual pages and shoving it through a scanner with a sheet feeder and oh-so-reliable OCR software (“It was the beset of Timmeys, it was the war St. of T1 mess, it was the age O twistom, it was the a Geoff goulash”). There’s always Project Gutenberg for stacks of free classics, and a few more recent works available under Creative Commons and similar licenses, but it would be nifty if dead tree editions of books contained a code that could be used to also get an electronic version.

3 thoughts on “Only your friends steal your books

  1. Sente

    Surfing should be fairly text oriented if you want to use an E-ink device for it. An E-ink display is really not good for views that change a lot. While I can browse with my Bebook Neo, I generally do not try to use it for that.

    Battery life will perhaps be a bit sucky also if you use it for browsing, even though it is probably better than with an iPad.

    I have charged my Bebook about three times since I bought it in February – for general reading you likely will not need to worry much about charging whatever E-ink reader you are using.

  2. Zoso Post author

    So far as I understand it: yes. Sort of. Probably. From the product page:
    “No monthly wireless bills or commitments. Amazon pays for Kindle’s wireless connectivity so you won’t see a monthly wireless bill.”

    “Experimental web browsing is free to use over 3G or Wi-Fi.”

    “HSDPA modem (3G) with a fallback to EDGE/GPRS; utilises Amazon Whispernet to provide wireless coverage via Vodafone’s 3G high-speed data network in the UK and partner networks outside of the UK.”

    I’m presuming the wikipedia-only issues won’t apply with the properly localised versions, but I’ll wait ’til the actual launch just to be sure there aren’t any other gotchas.

    With a slow monochrome screen, no Flash etc., I don’t think it’ll be possible to consume a vast amount of bandwidth even if you really try, though I bet there are “reasonable use” qualifiers just in case someone does find a way, but it does seem to be a useful option to have (obligatory xkcd).

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