More Details on the Amazon Kindle

Since I wrote my initial post last night, Amazon’s Kindle page has gone live. If you don’t do anything else, go to the page and watch the basic intro video. (If you scroll down, you’ll see a larger version of the intro video.) It looks even more interesting than I thought. It has certainly come a long way since I first saw the device 18 months ago.

the amazon kindle sitting on top of a traditional book

As of today, Thomas Nelson has 668 titles available for Kindle download. Bob Edington, our VP of Internet Sales, tells me that many, many more are on their way. (Evidently, Amazon is trying to catch up with the backlog.) Just to put this into perspective, Zondervan, the second largest publisher in our space, has 53 titles. Tyndale, the third largest publisher in our space, has 57.Here are some details from the Kindle page that I didn’t include in yesterday’s post:

  • Free Book Samples. Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy.
  • Adjustable Text Size. You can increase the text size of your favorite book or periodical with the push of a button. If your eyes tire, simply increase the font size and continue reading comfortably. Kindle has six adjustable font sizes to suit your reading preference.
  • Free Wireless Access. No monthly wireless bills, service plans, or commitments—Amazon takes care of the wireless delivery so you can simply click, buy, and read. Includes free wireless access to Wikipedia.
  • Built-in Dictionary. Kindle includes The New Oxford American Dictionary with over 250,000 entries and definitions, so you can seamlessly look up the meanings of words without interrupting your reading.
  • Access to Other Documents. Email your Word documents and pictures (.JPG, .GIF, .BMP, .PNG) to Kindle for easy on-the-go viewing. (I assume that the Kindle can also handle PDFs, but I couldn’t find anything that confirms this.) Paper in my briefcase may be a thing of the pass.
  • Highlights, Bookmarks, and Annotations. By using the keyboard, you can add annotations to text, just like you might write in the margins of a book. And because it is digital, you can edit, delete, and export your notes, highlight and clip key passages, and bookmark pages for future use. You’ll never need to bookmark your last place in the book, because Kindle remembers for you and always opens to the last page you read.
  • Search Across Your Library. Kindle makes it easy to search across your entire library. To use the Search feature, type in a word or phrase you’re looking for, and Kindle will find every instance across your Kindle library. Looking for an article you read a couple of days ago about hybrid cars but can’t remember where? Simply type in hybrid and Kindle will search your library for each reference, making it easy to jump directly to what you’re looking for. You can extend your search to the Kindle Store to find related titles you may be interested in. Explore even further by searching Wikipedia.
  • Ergonomically Designed. The Kindle never becomes hot and is designed for ambidextrous use so both “lefties” and “righties” can read comfortably at any angle for long periods of time.

The Kindle page also provides some interesting detail on the wireless feature. It says,

Using the same 3G network as advanced cell phones, we deliver your content using our own wireless delivery system, Amazon Whispernet. Unlike WiFi, you’ll never need to locate a hotspot. There are no confusing service plans, yearly contracts, or monthly wireless bills—we take care of the hassles so you can just read.

With Whispernet, you can be anywhere, think of a book, and get it in one minute. Similarly, your content automatically comes to you, wherever you are. Newspaper subscriptions are delivered wirelessly each morning. Most magazines arrive before they hit newsstands. Haven’t read the book for tomorrow night’s book club? Get it in a minute. Finished your book in the airport? Download the sequel while you board the plane. Whether you’re in the mood for something serious or hilarious, lighthearted or studious, Kindle delivers your spontaneous reading choices on demand.”

Supposedly, one of these machines is on its way to me. I am looking forward to trying it for myself. I will post a detailed review once I have done so.

Update: Evidently, Amazon underestimated the demand. When I ordered mine this morning the “Availability” was “In Stock.” However, now the availability is “In stock on November 21, 2007.”

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