Monday, February 9, 2009

Reading Just Became Sexy Again

At least if you equate sexy with svelte technology. The new Kindle 2 is sure to appeal to anyone who has ever dreamed of running an oil-slicked ipod across their naked body, and perhaps also to those who are tired of lugging several heavy books along with them on vacations. Kindle 2 will weigh in at just over 10 ounces, heavier than some individual books, but possibly lighter than the book it's displaying, one of my favorites of last year, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.

Kindle 2 is just over 1/3 of an inch thick and has a 25% longer battery life. Text should also be sharper, and the processor was given a minor boost. It is expected to ship February 24th at the price of $359.

So, is Kindle 2 posed to eliminate paper books entirely? I don't think Sven Birkerts needs to worry too much about this one, though I'm sure it will attract more consumers than the original. No matter how sleek and sexy digital readers become they still won't provide the full range of sensations that I crave when I read a book in paper.

And while buying books on Kindle is a little cheaper than buying them in print, the initial $359 investment is more than a little off-putting, especially in this economy.

When digital downloads are offered at $5 per book, or Amazon institutes a Rhapsody-esque digital subscription/library package that allows me to "check-out" an unlimited number of books each month for $20, or less, then I think they'll really have a killer app... At least until Apple releases their tablet and starts offering books on iTunes.

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