Sunday, May 31, 2009

Free "Nurse Jackie" Script for Kindle

Kudos to Showtime for exercising the power of innovative synergy and making the pilot script of their new show "Nurse Jackie" starring Edie Falco available on the Kindle for free through August 31.

A June 1 article in Advertising Age reports that "Showtime may have finally cracked the code on using Kindle as an ad medium." Jon Haber, director of the team that works with Showtime's media shop Omnicom Group's OMD on the project, told that they were looking at the Kindle "as a new concept platform that no one has figured out."

It will be interesting to see if they've figured out the formatting problems that have plagued screenwriters trying to transfer and read scripts on the Kindle. But for a network that has already gained a reputation for employing new media when it introduces new shows, it's nice to see the Kindle get a chance to show its versatility in a different way.

UPDATE: Received my copy of "Nurse Jackie" overnight and it looks almost perfect as far as the format. The only thing I've noticed so far is that the right side of the dialogue passages don't have proper indentation, but it's still quite readable.

Five Great Kindle Tweets - May 2009 (II)

I've tweeted @ messages to the five folks included in the tweetset above, and the first of these five who posts a comment to this blog entry will win a free copy of my book "Kindle Culture."*

I'll be giving away at least 10 books this way throughout the summer, so tweet poetic about the Kindle and you too could be picked for a chance to win one of my non-contests. Good luck!

*Prize will be awarded in the form of an Amazon gift card for the price of "Kindle Culture," currently available for the Kindle at

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations @KlavdyaB!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Colorless Kindle Continues

Folks waiting for the Kindle to take on a few shades besides gray before they buy are going to be left waiting a little longer if this week's speech by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is any indication.

Speaking at the annual Amazon shareholders meeting, Bezos said that a color Kindle was still many years away, despite the arrival of Fujitsu's full-color FLEPia looming on the horizon.

"I know it's multiple years. I don't know how many years but it's years," he said. "I've seen the color displays in the laboratory and I can assure you they're not ready for prime time."

Image credits:

Rainbow - Oren neu dag - cc3.0
Eyes - Brightster

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kindle Culture Blog Subscription on Kindle for $0.99

The Kindle Culture blog is now available for the Kindle through Amazon for a monthly fee of 99¢.

A lot has been written recently about why anyone would pay for something they can get for free with a few clicks, which I generally agree with. But I also think the same can be said for paying to get newspapers delivered to your door when many of them are available on the Internet for free. I personally subscribe to the AP Entertainment blog on my Kindle for 99¢ because I would rather have those headlines collected and presented to me every day than go looking for them, and that service is worth 3¢ a day to me.

That said, potential subscribers should know that Kindle Culture is dedicated to the social, cultural, artistic and political expressions on, about, and for the Amazon Kindle, and sometimes features images and links to video clips that aren't fully accessible on the Kindle. Readers who are looking for daily news, tips and information about the Kindle would be better served by a number of other great Kindle blogs that are now available, all for 99¢. Three of my favorites are Abhi Singh's Kindle Review, Kindle Books - iReader Review, Andrys Basten's A Kindle World and Stephen Windwalker's Kindle Nation Daily. I plan to take a look at these and other Kindle-focused blogs as seen through the eyes of the Kindle in a series of posts coming in the weeks ahead.

Deep Space Nine Kindle

Nice homage to the Kindle via "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." Posted to Twitpic by JensBest of Germany.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kindle 3's Visual Interface

The Kindle sure has been enjoying a lot of screen time lately. This still shot from College Humor's new Kindle 3 spoof gives a hint at the spiffy new features the K3 will supposedly boast with its oversized play/pause button and prominent volume controls. Favorite line: "I can't hear you, I'm reading!"

Also be sure to check out last week's Kindle 9XXXD spoof from And of course our commercial of the K2 and friends shamelessly hawking copies of "Kindle Culture" can be seen here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Towel Day with the Kindle

The Kindle and Douglas Adams' classic "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" have already crossed paths a few times in the spirit of cosmic synchronicity. In March, I blogged about Sean P. Reiser's laser-etched "Don't Panic!" K2 and XKCD's comic homage to Adams, and both stories appear in the art-related chapter of "Kindle Culture."

The latest entry incorporates the Kindle in a terrific photograph taken for Towel Day, an annual observance paying tribute to Adams and his work. "Anyone that's read the series will instantly recognize several elements of this shot," says M i k e B, the photographer who posted the pic on flickr earlier today. "I was even fortunate enough to have a Brit-worthy sky this morning!"

Not to mention being close to a Dent Lane! Mike also points out this year's overlap with Memorial Day and the importance of remembering those who gave their lives for this country, a sentiment that I think deserves repeating. I hope everyone has a safe Memorial Day and enjoys Towel Day. And thanks to Pedro Vera for reminding me in the first place.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Five Great Kindle Tweets - May 2009 (I)

First things first: I've tweeted @ messages to the five folks included in the tweetset above, and the first of these five who posts a comment to this blog entry below will win a free copy of my book "Kindle Culture."*

For the next three months, I've decided to increase the odds and the number of giveaways by decreasing the lists to five Tweeters (from the previous ten) and upping the giveaways to at least two a month. Next non-contest will be some time in the next 10 days.

*Prize will be awarded in the form of an Amazon gift card for the price of "Kindle Culture," currently available for the Kindle at

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations avitania!

Kindle Comic: "Kindle Kat"

To understand this cartoon you'd have to know that there was once a mouse who liked to throw bricks at a cat. And that when a Kindle customer lost his account for a few days last month, it caused such an uproar that quite a few blogs took the customer's lead and labeled the Kindle a brick. Even then, I don't know if you'd think it was funny.

Apologies to George Herriman!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

KC Book Review: "Kept"

Zoe Winters
Digital List Price: $1.00
Kindle Price: $0.80
File Size: 125 KB
Publisher: IncuBooks (November 25, 2008)

“Kept” by Zoe Winters is a great read for fans of fantasy, paranormal romance and magic. Priced at under a dollar, I’d also suggest giving it a try even if those aren’t your usual genres of choice.

Winters’ writing is really good and the characters are interesting, though I suspect they’ll be even more fleshed out in the second and third installments of this three-novella trilogy. It definitely left me wanting more, although this story is complete and extremely satisfying. The erotic scenes were well-done and intense, with just the right balance of explicit and suggestive. Winters’ also has a talent for conveying emotion and depth with straightforward sexuality, something many romance writers lack.

I enjoyed every line in “Kept” except the very last, which I felt was unnecessary and even a bit cheesy. Its six little words managed to jar me out of the delicious feeling I usually get at the end of a good read. But it was hardly enough to detract from the rest of the book, and I can’t wait to learn more about this world and its mythology, magical rules, Werecats and sorcerers. I’m in for the series.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Next Next Gen Kindle 9XXXD

Kindle 9XXXD
This one goes out to those who say the Kindle has no future. Could "Kindle, let me out!" be the catchphrase of tomorrow? Sorry, you'll have to tough out a commercial to see it.

Amazon's Sue Me Sue You Blues

Right back at ya, Discovery! Just over two months after Discovery Communications slapped Amazon with a lawsuit claiming breach of patent with the Kindle, Amazon is returning the favor with a suit alleging that Discovery Communications Inc. has infringed four of its e-commerce patents.

The Wall Street Journal cited the blog TechFlash as first reporting news of the suit, which was filed May 15 in U.S. District Court in Seattle. It alleges infringement of patents covering search engine and recommendation technology by one of Discovery's e-commerce sites.

A spokesperson for Discovery said there doesn't appear to be a connection between the two patent suits. Discovery is still in the process of reviewing Amazon's response to its March lawsuit, with the Journal reporting that the company is looking forward to "vindicating its position in court."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kindle Culture YouTube Spot

As actors/models, the Kindles could be difficult to work with.

The first problem was getting the K2 to say the words right. I had to change "read" (which was being said in the past tense) to "reed," "e-reader" to "ee reader" and "to" to "two." I loathe typos, but it had to be done.

Then the Kindle 1s, which had been turned on at different times, started alternately going to screensaver while I was trying to shoot. I finally got everything on the same page and this was the result.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Kindle Culture" Now Available

I'm happy to announce that my new book "Kindle Culture" is now available for the Kindle at! Thanks to everyone in the Kindle community who helped out these past few months. Your support has been greatly appreciated. Here's the product description, which has yet to appear on the Amazon page but should soon.

"How influential and/or pervasive can the Kindle become? Does it have what it takes to join that exclusive group populated by the likes of the Hula-Hoop, the VW Bug and the iPhone and become the next bona fide cultural icon? Will the term 'Kindle' become as ubiquitous in describing e-readers in the future as Band-Aid has for adhesive bandages and Kleenex for facial tissue? And just how strong will the Kindle’s built-in marketing segment of evangelists be in counteracting the latest wave of 'Kindle killers' lurking on the horizon? I searched far and wide, from coast to coast of what currently constitutes Kindle Country to the far edges of the globe, to find out in his new book 'Kindle Culture.'

"'Kindle Culture' examines the social and cultural aspects of the Kindle through a series of stories about people whose lives have been changed by the popular e-reader, from a woman whose Kindle let her read again after almost ten years to a full-time business professional whose hobby of making Kindle covers has turned into a cottage industry he can't keep up with. Along the way you'll meet newlyweds, artists, librarians, hackers, bloggers, members of the clergy, anti-ereader groups and Kindle-defending celebrities, all with one thing in common--the Amazon Kindle."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kindle Comic: "Kindle Garden"

Kind seeds produce kind results!

Support a Kindle Author, Win a Gift Card

While Amazon's Digital Text Platform has helped level the playing field for indepedent publishing, getting your work noticed in a sea of titles can present its own challenge.

Author Josh McMains has come up with one of the best ideas I've heard of yet for drawing attention to his 99¢ novel "Uncubicled." On Tuesday, May 5th starting at 10 AM (Eastern), the first 200 people to buy "Uncubicled" for the Kindle or iPhone Kindle App and forward McMains a copy of their e-mail receipt will receive a $5 Amazon gift card, making "a tidy $4.01 profit."

McMains is also promising $20 cards for the first ten purchasers. "My goal is to try to get the book on the Kindle Top 25 downloads list, even if only for one brief, shining moment," he writes on his Uncubicled website. If the title happens to crack the Top 10 on May 5 he plans to double the amount of all the gift cards. "I truly do believe that this novel is something people will enjoy, so I'm putting some skin in the game."

I think McMains is right; based on the sample chapter, "Uncubicled" looks like a good read. And with attention at such a premium in the chaotic, dog-eat-dog world of indie Kindle authors on Amazon, this kind of creative self-promotion is a good example of what it takes to stand above the crowd.

KC Book Review: "Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married"

"Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married"

Marian Keyes
Digital List Price: $10.95
Kindle Price: $8.76
File Size: 415 KB
Print Length: 624 Pages
Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (May 9, 2006)

“Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married” is entertaining, light fare that's a bit reminiscent of “Bridget Jones's Diary.” Our heroine and narrator is a single young woman living in London, drinking and partying with her pals while looking for love in all the wrong places.

I have no problem with that. I liked Bridget Jones and I like Lucy Sullivan. Poor Lucy just can't seem to see through her own obvious patterns and stop creating her own bad news. The supporting characters are interesting as well, if not all quite as likable. Lucy has her work friends, her two roommates, a best friend who happens to be male and a best male gay friend who really doesn't seem to have much of a point in this story. (Would it be so wrong for the heroine not to have a gay male friend?)

Overall, Keyes' writing is very good, though I did find myself skimming a few times when Lucy and whoever she was bouncing her reality off of seemed to be sharing still more info about codependency and who may or may not be an alcoholic.

But I liked the journey that Lucy takes and I like where she ends up. It was hard to be patient with her during those times where she seriously deludes herself, but if she were my friend, I would have forgiven her those times for all the other strengths she has.

The best thing I can say about this book is that I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to get past the bad relationships to what I assumed was going to be a happy ending. I don't want to give it away…you may see it coming and you may not. But it won't matter, because it’s such fun getting there and well worth lingering for just a moment in world of “Lucy Sullivan.”

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kindle Comic: "Smell of a Good Book"

We kept going back and forth with the caption on this one, not wanting to offend anyone by suggesting the only purpose for old books these days was to make furniture. Personally we enjoy old books just as much as we ever did, as visitors to the huge library we made in the space that was meant to be our dining room will tell you.

Past "Kindle Culture" comics:
"Sci-Fi Wi-Fi"
"Choose Wisely"
"Talk To Me"

Ten Great Kindle Tweets - April 2009

Once again, I've tweeted @ messages to the ten folks included in the tweetset above and the first one who comes to this site and posts a comment will win a free copy of my book "Kindle Culture."*

I also decided to change the title of this month's non-contest, since a true measure of "Top Ten Kindle Tweets" of any given month would require a 24/7 review of posts, and as I write they're being posted at a clip of over 100 an hour. This is actually a collection of ten posts that tickled me at random times when I happened to be on Twitter and happened to search "Kindle," culled from about three dozen that I gathered throughout April. Good luck!

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations rich_kilmer!

*Prize will be awarded in the form of an Amazon gift certificate for the price of "Kindle Culture," which is due out for the Kindle in May 2009.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kindle Demographics

As I was pulling together the final pieces for my book "Kindle Culture," one of the last items on my list was to comb through almost 70 pages of the Amazon Kindle Forum's "Average Kindle Owner's Age" thread to get a better idea of who's actually buying the Kindle.

Though I ended up culling 1,387 responses from almost 1,700 posts, these charts don't adhere to polling science standards and should thus be taken with a grain of salt. That said, my methodology included the use of second-hand figures ("my son, 27, has one too"), and the exclusion of ill-defined ages ("I'm in my 50s"), questionable responses (106-year-old Sigmund Freud says, "I like the large type!"), and a handful of entries that were repeated one or more times.

The resulting data suggests that the largest group of Kindle owners by decade are in their 50s. The next two largest are owners in their 40s at 19.1% and owners in their 60s at 18%, making the total number of Kindle owners between the ages of 40 and 69 an incredible 58.6%. Owners above 70 make up an additional 8.1%, with owners under the age of 40 accounting for just over a third of all Kindle sales.

Using broader target demographic standards, the results look like this:
Younger adults (18-34) – 22%
Adults (35-54) – 38.4%
Older adults (over 54) – 37.3%
The Kindle might also be a popular 60th birthday present--more 60-year-olds reported owning the device than any other age, with 59-year-olds coming in a close second. (Another side note I found interesting was the number of respondents in their 20s and 30s who mentioned that they had been reading since a very young age.)

There are plenty of factors that could skew these results, ranging from affluency and disposable income to the overall age of visitors who visit Amazon's boards. But if these numbers are any indication, the Kindle appears to be the first general purpose technology device I know of with an early adopter demographic that favors the over-54 age bracket over the usual 18-34 group, effectively turning one perennial marketing trend on its head.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kindle Comic: "Sci-fi WiFi"

The logical next step after Amazon opens the UK and European markets. Kindle 9 from outer space!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kindle Offers Free U.S. News For a Year

With the April 15 release of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on the Kindle, owners can now get a full year of domestic newspaper subscriptions absolutely free.

Granted, cycling through 14-day trial subs of all 26 domestic papers Amazon now offers for the Kindle would certainly require some serious dedication. But the result would be a free education comprised of a broad range of news voices. Besides the old-school stalwarts like the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Washington Post, the fare includes more topic-specific rags like Investor's Business Daily and the Wall Street Journal, plus Politico, which is mostly associated with its online presence and not the free print version that makes the rounds in D.C.

For me, this represents a benchmark of sorts at a time when the newspaper industry finds itself in a life-or-death struggle. As someone who came from a print background, I've lamented the loss of one daily after another with colleagues. But I see a potential for rebirth in devices like the Kindle, which replicate the old model by charging a reasonable fee and "delivering" the paper to your virtual door.

The chance to nab a free year of newspapers might appeal to the freebie-lover in all of us. But I also hope it leads to more people exposing themselves to a (hopefully) higher standard of journalism, and ultimately choosing to support an important industry by picking a favorite and ordering a regular subscription.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kindle Comic: "Choose Wisely"

We hope this third installment of the "Kindle Culture" comic brightens your day. If you missed the first two, here are the direct links:

Kindle Comic: "Talk To Me"
Kindle Comic: "Dinner"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kindle to Kindle: The Buttons

What better non-political way to honor the hot-button issue Amazon finds itself dealing with today than with a post about the K1 and K2 buttons? The first Kindle's scroll wheel (left) had single-click functionality. The five-way controller of the Kindle 2 (right) offers a much more versatile interface. Both gave me a great excuse to play with my close-up lens.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Top Ten Kindle Tweets - March 2009

I finally jumped on the Twitter train about a month ago and have really enjoyed reading people's comments about the Kindle. I started saving some of my favorites and thought it might be fun to post them here once a month. That led to an idea for a sort of non-contest; I have tweeted @ messages to these ten folks and the first one who comes to this site and posts a comment will win a free copy of my book "Kindle Culture" when it comes out for the Kindle later this month*. If it goes well, I plan to do this every month. In the meantime, thanks for the entertaining tweets!

*Prize will be awarded in the form of an Amazon gift certificate for the price of "Kindle Culture" on April 21, 2009; recipient will be on his or her honor to actually buy the book! Valid Amazon account e-mail address required.

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations @pvera!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The $8,000 Kindle Book

So you just bought your Kindle 2 and you're looking for a book that will help you get to the heart of ternary alloy systems--you know, phase diagrams, crystallographic data, the whole enchilada. Well thanks to the folks at Materials Science International Team, you can be reading the 500-page "Selected Nuclear Materials and Engineering Systems (Part 4)" on your Kindle in a minute for just $6,431.20--and that's a whopping 20% off the list price of $8,039. (Full disclosure: I will make over $250 if you buy this book through the above link.)

I suppose in the future it won't be uncommon to see more highly specialized manuals and textbooks for sale at all kinds of prices. Springer, the book's publisher, has seven more books listed in the $5,000 and over range. But the rest of us could buy 640 books at the $9.99 price point, or 18 brand new Kindle 2s!

To be fair, the print edition runs the full $8,039, which is even steeper despite FREE Super Saver Shipping. And even if you bought one of the used copies available for just under five grand, you've still got a three-plus pound book to deal with. It might be worth the extra $1,500 to lighten your load to 10 ounces, especially if you can get the boss to pay for it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Kindle to Kindle: The Speakers

This photo isn't to scale, but gives an idea of what the speaker for the first Kindle (center) was like versus the split configuration that was adopted for the Kindle 2. The actual difference in sound is comparable to what the picture suggests, though still not something I've spent a lot of time listening to so far. Click on the shot for a closer look.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Longest Kindle Delay Ever?

This is a recently-released public domain photo that I had originally planned to use to compare the screen quality of the Kindle 1 and Kindle 2, until I saw what a wonderful job A Kindle World had done in that regard here. So I decided to turn it into a 600x800 Kindle screensaver instead.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

USA Today...for the Kindle 1!

USA Today Kindle adTalk about so 2008! A post by Matt Burns appearing today at CrunchGear reveals how completely out of the loop USA Today is with this ad touting the paper's availability...on the original Kindle.

One response chalked the gaffe up to typically long lead times in advertising and marketing. But having worked at both a major daily newspaper (L.A. Daily News) and the marketing department of a major company (The Limited), I don't think that's a valid excuse. If something like this happened on the editorial side, heads would have rolled. It makes USA Today look hopelessly clueless, and it seems likely that when the paper first launched on the Kindle on December 26, somebody there must have known the Kindle 2 was coming out six weeks later. Miscommunication = embarrassment!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Make Your Kindle Smell Familiar

One of the complaints I hear most often from book lovers who don't want to try the Kindle is a tactile one. And while it's true the Kindle will probably never feel and smell exactly like a real book, the kind folks over at DuraSport Electronics have spent some serious research and development dollars to come up with an idea that promises to be the next best (and next big) thing--the first aerosol e-book enhancer.

Okay, so maybe Smell of Books is an April Fools Day prank. You've still got to admire the dedication that went into it. The product comes in five great scents (New Book Smell, Classic Musty Smell, Scent of Sensibility, Eau You Have Cats and Crunchy Bacon) and is advertised as compatible with almost 30 file types and over three dozen eReaders, including the not-yet-announced Kindle 3.

Perhaps not surprisingly, no sooner had Smell of Books been announced than it was receiving threatening letters from the Authors Guild: "While the Authors Guild supports efforts to improve the digital reading experience, we believe this product represents a significant threat to the development of aroma rights...Allowing unauthorized third parties to provide the 'scent' for a book substantially changes the underlying work to a degree that infringes upon the author’s copyright, not to mention artistic vision."

Hmmm. Something doesn't smell right!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kindle to the Stars

Here's a cool freebie that was recently mentioned on the Kindle 2.0 Blog--a set of star charts comprised of 14 PNG files and optimized for the Kindle. Created by Roban Hultman Kramer using PP3--Celestial Chart Generation software by Torsten Bronger, the images were designed to cover the entire sky, with significant overlap. As he explains on the page where the charts can be downloaded, "After my brother generously gave me an Amazon Kindle for my birthday, I started looking around the web for star charts that would be usable on it. The Kindle has an 600x800 pixel eInk display with four shades of gray. This means that most star charts meant for computer screens don't have enough contrast or are overly reliant on color, and most star charts meant to be printed require too high a resolution to be easily used on the Kindle. Compounding these problems is the Kindle's primitive image display interface, which doesn't allow scrolling of over-sized images."

After considering various planetarium programs for his charts, Roban found PP3 to be "perfect for this purpose." For more info, stargazers can check out this thread on the Amazon Kindle forum.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Kindle Comic: "Talk to Me"

Working on a creative project about the Kindle has resulted in all kinds of interesting side thoughts. The idea for this cartoon popped up at about the same time the whole text-to-speech fracas broke out. Of course, it's been pointed out many times since that the Kindle can't hold a candle to the intonations and dramatic heft of a real voice--at least not yet. But I thought it might be funny to turn the tables a bit, and my wife made it a reality. More soon!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kindle to Kindle: The Bottoms

This bottom view of the Kindle and the Kindle 2 together give a really good idea of what kind of an evolution in design took place between the two, and what an odd bird the original Kindle (bottom) really was. The K1 crowded five elements in, including the headphone jack, the USB connector, the charge indicator light, the power adapter jack and the volume controls. The new Kindle has only a charge indicator light and dual USB/power port, with the volume controls now on the upper right side and the headphone jack on the top.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

KC Book Review: "The Last Sonofabitch of Klepton" by Scott Bieser

If you're one of those who waited eight long years for a comic fable that would draw parallels between our world under the previous administration and Superman's doomed home planet of Krypton, then hang on to your non-renewable energy crystals. "The Last Sonofabitch of Klepton," a razor-sharp political satire by comic artist Scott Bieser ("The Probability Broach," "Roswell, Texas") has been released as a 34-page Kindle comic and is definitely worth a look.

The story is populated by thinly-veiled political figures like Gore-El, who recruits buddies Dorb-El and Nob-El to help him wrest power from King Dubb-Ya and Dict-Cha. Along the way Dubb-Ya wages woof against Terrierists and Gore-El concocts a scheme involving the faraway planet Earth and something called the O-Zone. In Bieser's world, both sides of the political spectrum get their due.

Granted, most of the main characters in "Klepton" have shuffled off the national stage since Bieser's story first appeared last year in strip form. There are also quite a few typos in the text, and for some reason three of the pages seem to be softer than the rest (Locations 4-5, Locations 11-2 and Locations 8-19), which can presumably be fixed. But this is mostly noticeable because of the crispness of the other pages, which seem to use all 16 of the Kindle's shades to great effect in sharply defined lines and wonderful gradient backgrounds that give added depth to many panels. And for just 99¢, this is the best way I've seen yet to check out how clean the device's graphics can look in the right hands.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kindle to Kindle: The On-Off Switch

The Kindle comparisons continue with a shot of the on-off switches. A lot of people still seem to be asking, "What's better about the Kindle 2?" Well as far as exterior design goes, this is at the top of my list. On the old Kindle (right), users deal with separate switches for Whispernet and power; this can be pretty unwieldy when the K1 is in its standard-issue cover. The original also requires users to push keyboard buttons to get the device to sleep.

The Kindle 2 (left) eliminates the Whispernet/Whispersync switch (it's now operable as a menu function) and moves the power switch to the top, where it also has a sleep mode enabling function and is much easier to get to. I'm not crazy about the decision to move the headphone jack from the bottom to the top, but I don't find myself using the headphones much anyway.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sony Vs. Kindle: The Text Ad Wars

Last week the Kindle 2.0 Blog ran a great capture of a text ad in which Sony's Canadian counterpart appeared to be trying to siphon potential Amazon Kindle customers by inviting them to "Re-kindle your love of reading."

Though the ad has since disappeared, a new ad from Sony Central had the #1 spot all week until Amazon finally placed the above. Note Sony wasting no time incorporating the 1/2 million free public domain books they added days ago via a new deal with Google.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kindle 2 vs. Sony PRS-700 on CNET

Here's a silly review from CNet in which the Kindle 2 just edges out the competition. But do you really want to take advice on an eReader from a company that can't even spell "readability" right? Calling Cap'n Typo!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Pesky Patent Problem for the Kindle

Discovery Communications has slapped Amazon with a lawsuit claiming that the Kindle violates a patent they filed nearly a decade ago, according to a story which appeared today on Ars Technica.

Discovery founder John S. Hendricks is named on the patent, which was filed on September 21, 1999 and anticipated many of the functions that would eventually appear on the Kindle. Titled "Electronic book security and copyright protection system," the patent's official date of issue shows November 20, 2007, a day after the original Kindle's debut.

Despite similarities ranging from wireless content delivery to page-turning buttons, bookmark options and what looks like a menu wheel, Discovery missed the mark on a few things in its prescient patent. A placemark pricelist in the patent shows full bookstore prices for all selections, plus different charges for method of delivery via cable ($2.95), phone ($4.95) or cellular ($8.95) on top of that. The "screen shots" also suggest touch screen technology and--gasp!--folders, an idea Amazon has steadfastly refused to implement despite the protestations of its Kindle customers.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cool Kindle 2 Drop Test Video

Some nice footage here of a Kindle 2 being dropped in slow motion. Check out how it flexes from one end to the other on impact as it absorbs the shock wave. It makes me feel a little bit better about not springing for that extended warranty.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kindle to Kindle: The Backs

People asking about the differences between the Kindle 1 and the Kindle 2 usually get a lot of good spec answers. This weekly series of photos will put the focus more on the aesthetics and design. The K2's sturdy metal back (right) has been getting a lot of attention, but the K1's character-covered rubber back had a great feel to it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kindler's Guide to the Galaxy

xkcd - A Webcomic - Kindle
I mentioned this cartoon yesterday so I figured I'd post it today. It's from XKCD, a thrice-weekly web comic of "romance, sarcasm, math and language." It's been up for a few weeks now but I've only just noticed the roll-over text on the comic in the original post, which reads: "I'm happy with my Kindle 2 so far, but if they cut off the Wikipedia browsing, I plan to show up drunk on Jeff Bezos's lawn and refuse to leave!" Nice!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Metal Etching on a Kindle 2

This is just the kind of thing Kindle Culture is all about. Following a theme established in a popular comic strip about the Kindle which compared the device to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Adafruit Industries etched the phrase "Don't Panic!" on the metal back plate of a Kindle 2. Awesome.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Celebrity Kindlers: Stephen Fry and Demi Moore

Celebrity Kindlers Stephen Fry and Demi Moore both gave the Kindle some love yesterday on Twitter in a string of tweets that went on throughout the day.

Fry announced the occasion of his first tweet from a Kindle, then gave tips to another user on how to use the "bare bones browser" and to get the job done. He reassured die-hard print fans that he would "no more throw out 'real' books cos I have a Kindle than I'll jettison pens cos I have a Mac," then commented on the advantage of not having to carry heavy books around before encouraging a Kindle newbie to "Plunge in and enjoy. You'll soon be swimming in the deep end."

Moore, known among Twitterers as mrskutcher, shared that she had just finished Sara Gruen's "Water for Elephants" and was starting in on Nancy Horan's "Loving Frank." She also acknowledged that she had "read more in two and a half weeks on my kindle than I have in the past 3 years" but that she hadn't really used the text-to-speech feature. "I prefer reading it myself," she said, "The access and ease of moving through the material is amazing."

The actress went on to give the Amazon website for those looking for a Kindle and even touted the device's positive impact on the publishing industry. "Book sales are on the rise because of Kindle!" she wrote, "and the actual book cost is less so it offsets the cost of the kindle overtime!"

My favorite part of this story is that it reflects what is going on among Kindle owners everywhere: a need to share the wonders of this device with those around them, even going a step further to assauge the fears of Kindlephobes who often haven't even seen one. This is the kind of brand enthusiasm that I think will keep the Kindle on top when more serious competition starts showing up later this year and throughout 2010.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kindle 2's UPC Reader

You've heard the Kindle 2 had even more bells and whistles than the first one, but did you know it comes with its own bar code reader? If you're buying a K2, make sure not to miss this little artistic flourish on the back of the box; the old UPC lines rendered as a serene, rolling hillside where someone is enjoying a good book, presumably on the Kindle, while enjoying the shade from a tree growing from a thick root/code line.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kindle Anticipation

Welcome to the "Kindle Culture" blog!