Friday 6 August 2010

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.

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