The Kindle arrived today and I’ve spent a few hours playing with it. Here are some preliminary reactions….
1) I’d classify this as a knowledge device. It is meant to facilitate the consumption of knowledge in a consumer vice conversational format. Folks that complain that it doesn’t have an email client or other interactive features are missing the point.
2) I like the fact that when I search I get results on my device (great if you are storing a lot of books/articles), on wikipedia, the onboard dictionary, and the web. In addition, I can trigger that same search term on the Amazon Kindle store.
3) The device interface is very usable. It certainly isn’t an iPhone, nor will it ever be if it is going to meet the power requirements necessary to make this a useful device. The next page and previous page buttons are much more intuitive than those on the Sony eReader (which I also own). The menu system works….no manuals required. The only thing I will have to look up is how to lock the device when I put it in my bag so I don’t bump the next page button by accident. There is one critical design flaw in that the OFF button is on the back of the device which is rendered inaccessible when the device is in its nice faux leather binder.
4) The Kindle store rocks. This is a dangerous device for an impulse buyer like me. I can purchase a book directly on the device or via the web and it will be on my device waiting for me next time I pull it out. No more waiting for the brown truck…this device facilitates instant gratification. Being able to download a preview of the book is a killer feature. I’ve read two sample chapters tonight and it is like being able to open the book in a bookstore before making a purchase. One book resonated with me, the other didn’t. I also like being able to access Amazon reviews in real-time.
5) Newspaper implementation is fantastic. It is probably my favorite feature thus far. It will be great to wake up to the Mercury News, Investor’s Business Daily, and the New York Times (Wall Street Journal and Washington Post come the old fashion way to the office, but I can see subscribing to the WSJ as well). Working through a paper in sequential order (you can jump around if you want) just works well for me. It is closely aligned with how I would typically consume the paper. Sure, I read lots of newspaper stories online already, but I don’t “read” the paper online. The Kindle is different in a way that is hard to explain here, but definitely different in a very good way.
6) It is unlikely I will ever use the blog subscription feature. Sorry Amazon, the price points just don’t work for me. RSS feeds stay on the iPhone for now. I may purchase one blog to test, but I can’t see myself spending the money.
7) My publishing attempt was successful. I am now a published author in the Kindle store. I bought one of my own articles to test and it worked perfectly. This device will be perfect for premium content offerings in lots of niche markets. If you have content that is valuable and your target market has adopted the Kindle I think the revenue potential is very real.
I don’t need to be sold on the need for a device like this. It works for me and I am definitely in the target market, having already bought a Sony eReader before. The Kindle easily dominates the Sony eReader with its integration with my Amazon account and the ability to push content to the device. I think this is a game changer for Amazon. If they can integrate PDF file conversion into the service, get rid of DRM, and solve the huge “ugly” problem they are facing, I think we will see a persistent increase in the adoption rate of this device.