Amazon’s New eBook Reader is Out

kindle3.jpgThe Kindle, Amazon’s new eBook reader, is just now hitting the streets. The promo video below overviews its basic features, including the Kindle’s “paper-like” screen, ergonomic design, and free wireless access to content. As you’ll see, the $399 reader, which holds 200 books, promises to succeed where other digital readers have failed — to offer a satisfying reading experience and unlock the potentially large digital books market.

Not surprisingly, Amazon is backing the Kindle’s launch with a fair amount of marketing. Videos on the Amazon site feature Toni Morrison, a Nobel Prize Winner, talking up the Kindle. Then, there are these comments by Michael Lewis, a bestselling author, “It’s so simple you could be a moron and it works.” “It takes no intelligence at all. Anybody who can read a book can function with this thing.” “It’s easier on the eye than the printed word.” “[A]fter about — I’m telling you! — 5 minutes, you cease to think, ‘I’m looking at a screen.’ It’s not like looking at a computer screen.”

A notable downside to the Kindle (one that’s pointed out by ZDNet) is the cost to access content. Books usually go for $9.99 or less, which is perfectly reasonable. But you’ll pay $9.99 to $14.99 per month for newspaper subscriptions, $1.99 to $2.99 for monthly magazine subscriptions, and 99 cents per month to subscribe to individual blogs. This is all pretty illogical, given that most of this content is otherwise free on the web.

If you get your hands on the Kindle, definitely let us know what you think.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.