Kindle 2 – Audiobook Controversy, Review

I’ve had quite a few folks ask me what I think of the Kindle 2, because I’m a huge advocate of the Kindle. Thanks to a friend, I’ve had an opportunity to use one. As a previous Kindle user…well, frankly, I don’t like it. I think the 4-way navigation is slower and more annoying than my Kindle’s scrollbar navi. The Prev/Next buttons were intentionally made harder to press because of all the whiners who kept complaining about them, and they’re so damn hard to press now that I feel like I’m going to bruise my finger to get through a book. (Amazon – You could have solved the problem just by making the buttons smaller, as you did…you didn’t need to bump up the force sensor to max, too.) They didn’t improve the software in any particularly helpful way. Yeah, text to speech is nice, but I can’t ever see myself or any common consumer using it for very long. What Kindle desperately needs is folders, and Kindle users have been screaming for them since the beta period. Kindle also desperately needs to promote its browsing capability. They need to get textbook manufacturers on their e-bandwagon. And really, they need to stop using Apple’s walled garden model. It’s particularly stupid since THEY…yes, Amazon…managed to kill Apple’s music store by offering DRM-free content. They need to innovate a way to resolve content provider’s DRM concerns but yet still allow a post-purchase marketplace for re-sale and lend/borrow. The technology is out there to bridge the gap until content providers latch onto the DRM-free bandwagon.

Then, there’s the Authors’ Guild controversy over the Text-to-Speech. The controversy is stupid, and I can’t sum up why anywhere near as well as these folks, so here’s some links:
Engadget’s Interview with Paul Aiken, Executive Director of the Author’s Guild – Paul Aiken’s circular and terrible logic really speaks for itself.
Wil Wheaton vs. Text 2 speech – I adore Wil, and stuff like this is why.
Neil Gaiman’s Excellent Summary

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