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Kindle: Owners Love 'em, Non-Owners Seem Jealous

He hate me I'm growing weary of reading articles like this one on Seeking Alpha.  Negative comments from actual Kindle owners are few and far between.  Sure, we all wish it cost less and it would have been nice if someone at Amazon had studied the ins and outs of user interface design, but hey, it's a first-generation product.  It will only get better down the road.

I admit that I too have yet to see my first Kindle in use in the read world.  Then again, I can't say I've been actively looking around for one.  I've also never seen a Sony Reader in use on a plane, subway or even a park bench.  What does that mean?  Well, as far as everyone who keeps comparing user bases between e-readers and iPods, stop, please!  The number of e-readers in use today is a rounding error in iPod-land.

Further, I'm convinced e-readers will never achieve the installed base levels of the iPod; the simple truth is more people prefer listening to music over reading a book.  Amazon and Sony would almost have to give the devices away to get anywhere close to iPod installed base levels.  With the benefit of zero insider information, I recently figured the Kindle installed base was between 5K and 10K, perhaps a bit more.  But that was before I noticed Stephen Windwalker has sold about 20K copies of the preview to his Complete User's Guide to the Kindle.  So while there are at least 20K Kindle owners out there, given the low price ($2.39) and popularity of Windwalker's preview, I tend to believe most Kindle owners bought it.  If so, that probably means the installed base is in the 20K's and a far cry from iPod levels.

Back to the Seeking Alpha article...  Why does it seem like every Kindle should come with a Rod Smart jersey?  (For those of you who slept through the XFL, Smart popularized the "He Hate Me" jersey shown at the top of this post.)  There's so much bitterness out there and it always seems to come from people who not only don't own a Kindle, but they've never even touched one!  All I'm saying is try one before you share your negative opinions.

I've only had my Kindle for a couple of weeks now and I wish I would have jumped on board earlier.  I still read books from dead trees; I've got a stack to get through, but I've considered buying some of them on the Kindle to cut down on some clutter.  I'm also still reading The Last Lecture from time to time on my Blackberry; the Mobipocket reader is extremely convenient and I'll probably always have one book queued up on my Blackberry for those grocery store checkout line moments.  IOW, I love my Kindle but I'm finding nice uses for all types of reading devices (e.g., Kindle, Blackberry, print).  It's too bad Kindle-bashers, most of which have never used one, would spend some time enjoying the benefits this great device offers.

Comments

Anthony S. Policastro

Hi Joe,
When I first used the Kindle, there were several things I would like to see changed, but the more I used it the more I loved it. I agree the Kindle will not replace the printed book any time soon, but I see it as device for students, travelers and those of us who have run out of bookshelves in our homes. It's an alternative reading device and a pretty good one at that for a first version.

There are about five different electronic book readers on the market currently, but none have the wireless download capability and this is what sets the Kindle apart from the others. See feedbooks.com for a list of readers and free down loadable books.

As for how many are out there...well, I did see a middle-aged woman reading a Kindle in one of the open lounge areas at the mall just yesterday and I was amazed. I have never seen anyone using a Sony eReader or any of the other devices.

Danny Lesandrini

Hi Joe, I'm Jay's brother, and when I told him I bought a Kindle, he told me I have to visit your site and post something. I agree completely with your sentiment on the subject. Love my Kindle and have never heard anyone who owns one say a bad word about it. People who see mine act like they're going to go out and buy one. Time will tell how many actually do, but I've already bought two of them ... one for me, and one for a college student-daughter of a friend of mine. (She's my book buddy, and now we can share titles ... it's really cool.)

Anyhow, I love the thing ... and I'll be watching your blog.

Joe Wikert

Hi Danny. Thanks for visiting my Publishing 2020 blog. Be sure to hit my Kindleville one as well. I've spent a good deal of the day stranded at an airport heading home and boy, was I glad I had my Kindle with me!

Lorrie Blackburn

I love my Kindle. The only flaw I see in the Kindle is that I can't share books with my friends/family like I've always done in the past. Here's a thought to pass on to Jeff Bezos and the powers-that-be at Amazon:

Set it up so that an e-book, once purchased, can be transferred back and forth from one Kindle to another. I understand that they don't want us to be able to create a copy of the book; instead, allow us to move it. That would allow book sharing, something we've always been able to do with the dead tree version. I could let my son read it, and when he was finished he could pass it on to his sister, who would return it to me when she was done. Still my book. Still only one copy floating around. But shareable, as all books should be.

Joe Wikert

Lorrie, what an outstanding idea! I'm not sure if anyone else has already suggested this but it's one of the best Kindle 2.0 suggestions I've heard so far.

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