November 23rd, 2007
While I’ve been reporting on my own personal experiences with Kindle during the past few days, several other bloggers, journalists, pundits, and techno-geeks have also been offering their opinions. What follows is almost certainly not an exhaustive collection — and even if it were, it would be obsolete by tomorrow. But it will give you a fairly wide spectrum of reactions, both positive and negative:
- Steven Levy‘s review, “The Future of Reading,” in the Nov 17, 2007 issue of Newsweek. Probably the first such review, and almost certainly the most positive one thus far. Among other things, Levy argues that Kindle will not only change the nature of reading, but also the nature of writing. Highly recommended reading, regardless of whether you decide to buy one of the machines.
- David Pogue‘s review, “An E-Book Reader That May Just Catch On,” in the November 22, 2007 issue of the New York Times, is very positive — though it acknowledges the sobering historical fact that many, many previous e-book products appeared with great fanfare, and then vanished when the marketplace shrugg.
- Peter Brantley‘s review, “Kindling Openness and Impact,” in the Nov 19, 2007 issue of the O’Reilly Radar blog is more cautious, and somewhat negative. Peter argues that Amazon’s strategy of a closed environment, a la Apple’s strategy, may turn out to be a serious mistake — and that its major competitor may turn out to be Google.
- Melissa Perenson’s review, “PC World: First look at Kindle e-book reader,” in the Nov 21, 2007 issue of PC World, is basically positive, but not particularly enthusiastic; for example, she refers to the “unassuming, functional design” of the Kindle device, with its “boxy rectangle of white plastic with a matte finish.”
- Guy Kawasaki‘s review, “Amazon Announced Kindle,” in the Nov 19, 2007 issue of his “How to Change the World” blog, is relatively positive. Guy lists six “reasons I like it so much”: no computer required, content flows, content is king, battery life is good, the screen is perfectly readable, and there’s a real QWERTY keyboard.
- Nicholas Carr‘s review, “Why Kindle is no Ipod,” in the Nov 20, 2007 issue of his “Rough Type” blog, is — as you may have gathered from the title of the review — pessimistic about the outlook for Kindle. His review begins by arguing that “The Kindle enters a market that is entirely different from the one the iPod entered back in 2001, and the market difference, more than any aesthetic or functional shortcoming, is what will likely spell the Kindle’s doom,” and ends with the statement that “For the Kindle to be the ‘iPod of reading,’ it would have had to have been preceded by a ‘Napster of reading.’ And, of course, it wasn’t. Which probably tells you something about the difference between songs and stories.” Hmmm … pretty thought-provoking stuff.
- Steve Borsch‘s review, “Amazon’s Kindle: Are you paying $399 for a distribution channel?“, in the Nov 19, 2007 issue of his “Connecting the Dots” blog, is more positive than you might think from the title, but hedges its bets by saying ” It’s likely I’ll buy one but I have deep and profound reservations.”
- Robert Scoble‘s review, “Kindle unboxing,” in the November 20, 2007 issue of his “Scobleizer” blog, is not so much a review as a video presentation of what it looks like to take a Kindle out of the box. But I suspect we’ll hear more from him as the days go by … Indeed, you can see two more brief blogs from him about Kindle: “Kindle Crunched,” and “Comparing Real Books to Kindle,” both on November 21.
- Dave Winer‘s review, “Kindle’s Most Interesting Feature,” in the November 20, 2007 issue of his “Scripting News” blog, is basically a very brief commentary that suggests that Kindle benefits from being “untethered” and that it does its own synching without the requirement of being connected to a computer (which, he says, is the worst feature of the iPod).
- David Weinberger‘s review, “Confined to the Amazon Basin,” in the Nov 19, 2007 issue of his JOHO blog, states his opinion more succinctly than anyone else’s: “Amazon’s ebook, Kindle, looks great. But as far as I can tell, it doesn’t browse. You can only receive the materials Amazon chooses to provide.Too bad. I was about to buy one.”
- Kara Swisher‘s review, “The Joy of Tech: Kindling?“, in the Nov 21, 2007 issue of her “BoomTown” blog, is actually someone else’s cartoon about the Kindle. I have to admit, it’s pretty funny …
I may have missed a few commentaries and reviews somewhere out there on the Internet … indeed, that’s virtually guaranteed, since I’m mono-lingual and thus have no idea what people are saying about the Kindle in French, German, Japanese, Arabic, Spanish, and umpteen other languages. But this should be enough to give you a fairly good overview of the prevalent opinions on the topic…
As for me, I think I’ll stop pontificating about Kindle at this point. I’ve got mine, and it works for me … in fact, I think I’ll take start reading one of the books I’ve downloaded onto it …