New Kindle thoughts lawsuits, pirates, and PDF wishes

Amazon has released Kindle 2— or rather, they’ve released the opportunity to buy one (I’m not sure when they are actually going to be available). There was a NYTimes article about this last week.

Among other issues/controversies, it would seem the Authors Guild sees the new Kindle’s potential/ability to read text aloud is some kind of copyright violation. I like this response from Neil Gaiman about this via boing-boing. I also thought this article was interesting: “Why aren’t ebooks taking off? Not enough pirates,” which I found via Stephen’s Web. Very smart article, pointing out the differences between the music industry and the book industry when it comes to pirating and sharing of files. Besides the fact that it is a ton easier to “share” and/or pirate music than it is to do the same with a book, there are places right now “for sharing this information that’s wholly supported by the industry (you might know them as libraries).”

My friend Troy has a Kindle and absolutely loves it. In fact, I toyed with the idea of buying one myself back in November/December. I might try to get EMU to buy me one (it wouldn’t be easy to do though) because it really is something I’d like to have to demo in the classes I teach. Or who knows? Maybe a bunch of money and/or a Kindle will just fall on me from the sky.

At this stage, I’ll probably wait for a while. For one thing, since me and the Mrs. just got iPhones, I’m a little tapped-out right now gadget-wise. But the other thing that I want that I don’t think is quite there yet for the Kindle is the ability to handle PDFs well. Quite frankly, I don’t read that many of the kinds of books that are readily available for the Kindle. I do read a lot of academic stuff, particularly journal articles that are increasingly available in PDF format, or things for my teaching that I make available as a PDF and post on eReserves. So what would be very useful is if this thing would handle PDFs as well as Apple’s Preview does– allowing for highlighting, notes, etc. It’d be very nice to have all of these articles and chapters in PDF format for my teaching right there on one device instead of the mountain of paper I forget to file.

Oh, and maybe they should put a phone in this thing.

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