Well, as expected Amazon officially announced it's Kindle e-book reader today, and there are a fair number of reactions up on Techmeme.
And as I indicated in last week's post, I ordered one.
One positive surprise before receiving it tomorrow, is this nice email from Amazon:
"Dear Michael Parekh,
Thank you for your purchase and welcome to Amazon Kindle.
We built Kindle with the goal of creating an exceptional and hassle-free reading experience. As such, we wanted to point out a few details before you get started on Kindle.
Your Kindle is automatically registered to the same Amazon.com account you used to make your purchase. This enables you shop, purchase, and download books, newspapers, and magazines wirelessly from your Kindle device right out of the box. Your Kindle purchases are made using your existing default 1-Click payment method at Amazon.com. If you wish to change the payment method associated with your Kindle, you can do so by visiting Manage Your Kindle on Amazon.com.
If you purchased your Kindle as a gift for someone else, you should deregister your Kindle device from your Amazon.com account. You can deregister your Kindle from the Settings page on the device or at Manage Your Kindle on Amazon.com.
You can start building your library before your Kindle even arrives by shopping for books, newspapers, magazines and more at the Kindle Store on Amazon.com. Amazon's unique wireless delivery system, Amazon Whispernet will auto-deliver your purchases directly to your Kindle. Once you receive your Kindle, you can also shop the same great selection directly from your device.
Here's what you have to look forward to reading on your Kindle:
* More than 80,000 books including New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases for $9.99, unless marked otherwise.
* Top U.S. and International newspapers including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Le Monde, and Frankfurter Allgemeine.
* Top magazines and journals including TIME, Forbes, and Atlantic Monthly - all wirelessly delivered to your Kindle before they hit the newsstands.
* More than 250 top blogs from the worlds of business, technology, sports, entertainment, and politics, including Slashdot, Techdirt, Boing Boing, FOX Sports, Michelle Malkin, and The Huffington Post.
We hope you enjoy reading on Kindle and look forward to hearing about your experience. Send us your feedback at email@example.com.
The Amazon Kindle Team"
What really comes through here is Amazon's determination to keep this as simple as possible for Amazon customers. Other than charging it when you get it, the device promises seamless integration with the Amazon experience customers are used to on the online store.
No question the $400 price tag is a steep entry point. Silver lining is that there're no additional fees for the broadband wireless EVDO connectivity via Sprint's network. Amazon has essentially built a custom MVNO that makes the wireless connectivity an integral feature of the device.
The other plus is that Amazon is obviously subsidizing thousands of books at a top price of $9.99, even though the publishers are charging much higher prices for the same product on other eBook services like Sony's Reader product.
One negative though is that the company is charging one to two bucks to subscribe to hundreds of pre-set blogs that otherwise can be consumed for free on the internet.
Unlike the iPod, to which the Kindle aspires to imitate in reading material, there's very little free content that the user can load up his/her Kindle with.
And that's a bit of a shame. It could have enhanced the out of the box utility of the device substantially.
I'll reserve further judgment on the Kindle until I get mine and have had a chance to use it a bit. More to follow.
Update: A couple of online reviewers have noted the ability to have more than one Kindle in a household share the books purchased off a master Amazon account. Although I couldn't find any official confirmation of this off the Amazon site, I did speak to an Amazon Kindle rep on the phone, who did confirm this. He wasn't sure how many Kindles per household were allowed to share the books, but he indicated it's at least four.
A big negative here though is that this sharing policy does not apply to newspapers, magazines and blogs subscribed on an individual Kindle. That seems to be limited to one copy per Kindle only. That's obviously like a magazine or a newspaper charging multiple subscriptions per member in a household for a physical product.
Makes no sense, but it seems to be what it is for now.