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.