Amazon Kindle: Smoldering, not Burning
By Josh Simons on Nov 02, 2008
My wife gave me an Amazon Kindle for my birthday yesterday, something I've been eyeing for awhile. While the device itself is nicely done, the Kindle experience has so far disappointed with its lack of interesting content. None of the random assortment of books I have in my "to read" queue are currently available. For example:
- House of Suns, Alastair Reynolds
- To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
- The Snow Leopard, Peter Matthiessen
- The Andromeda Strain, Michael Crichton
- The Great Train Robbery, Michael Crichton
- The Alan Lewrie Naval Adventure series, Dewey Lambdin
The Lambdin item highlights a particularly annoying problem. I found several additional series for which only a few books were available in Kindle format and often not the first in the series.
For a bookseller it should be a red flag when a person with poor impulse control regarding book purchases is stymied in his attempts to scratch his book itch. Amazon may not be worried about this since, after all, every single book mentioned above is available in hardcopy from Amazon. But, see, here's the thing. Amazon has disappointed me. Having invested in the reader and not finding the items I want available in that format, why should I then reward Amazon by buying the hardcopy versions from them anyway? They'd win either way and that isn't right. I should encourage them in whatever way I can to aggressively increase the content available for Kindle.
Which leaves me with the following book purchase algorithm. If the book is available for Kindle, buy it. If not and it can be found at another bookstore--Borders is my favorite-- then buy it there. Otherwise, if available in hardcopy from Amazon, buy it there. Following that logic, House of Suns is the only book I would buy from Amazon in hardcopy. I would buy the other dozen or so from Borders or another bookseller.
Amazon, are you listening?