February 10, 2009

Kindle G2 -- Amazon's Breakthrough Ebook Reader

500 years ago there was a new tool, called a book. It hasn't changed much. Until now.

Amazon has been selling ebooks for years. It didn't work... until fourteen months ago when they started to sell the Kindle.

Now 10% of the units Amazon sells are Kindle book sales. AMAZING!

A quick rundown on what's new and improved from Kindle v.1:

* The location of the buttons is smooth and efficient.

* It reads aloud! The sound is fairly good -- still computer-like, but totally listenable. I wonder, though. How will the Author's Guild feel about that?

* The screen seems more responsive.

* The 5-way controller lets you go to sections, preview stories, and move a cursor through documents for word searches.

* Whispersync: Read a little on your device, switch to another one, read there -- it will keep your page wirelessly.

* It has 7 times more storage than the original.

* It's thinner than the iPhone!

Ships on February 24th. Price? $359. Not a steal but certainly is worth it for the serious reader.

February 6, 2009

Google and Amazon to Release E-Books on Cellphones

To bolster the --finally -- growing popularity of e-books, Google is working on publishing the 1.5 million public domain books it had already scanned and made available free on PCs, on mobile devices, like the iPhone
and the T-Mobile G1.

Not surprisingly, Amazon is also working on making the titles for its popular e-book reader, the Kindle, available on a variety of mobile phones.

The company, which is expected to unveil a new version of the Kindle next week, did not say when Kindle titles would be available on mobile phones. The Kindle currently offers about 230,000 titles.

Googleís move greatly expands the number of e-books that you can read on the go. However, the public domain books available through Google Book Search are not likely to be the most popular titles, as they are older
books for which copyrights have expired.

In contrast, the Kindle library includes scores of newly released books, including many current best sellers.

Google promises to make other books available on mobile devices in the future, including out-of-print titles and current books it scans with the permission of publishing companies. Thank you, Google!

Unlike the version of Google Book Search for PCs, which displays scanned images of book pages, the mobile version simply displays text, allowing users to download printed material more quickly over wireless networks.

Several book reading programs are already available for the iPhone and other mobile devices, including Stanza from Lexcycle the eReader from Fictionwise, and TextOnPhone, which I've just started to test:

No, this is NOT me in the video....

Having started to do some reading on my iPhone, I find it is not my preferred way of getting immersed in a book. On the other hand, once the micro-projectors, like this one from 3M get built into smartphones, I could see that changing. I bet that's when the e-book market will REALLY take off.