What Would It Take?

kindle 2.0What would it take to get you to buy a Kindle?  Amazon’s ebook reader seems to be selling okay (not that we’ve seen any numbers), but there are a lot of people who haven’t taken to it, or any other e-book reader device.  And why should they?  Books work just fine, and buying them is cheaper than the electronic gadget.  Amazon boasts to have thousands of ebooks, but very, very few that would interest readers of this blog, namely manga.  What if Amazon tried to sweeten the deal?  Would you go for it?

Over at the Stomping on Yeti blog, Patrick takes a look at the Kindle and what it would take for him to buy one.  Comparing the Kindle to the iPod (a common comparison), he looks at how they are different and what it would be like if they were more similar.  Basically, he wants to be able to “rip” (ie download) the books he bought from Amazon.com into a Kindle just like you can rip mp3s from CDs.

While I think this is a good idea in theory, and could potentially push the e-book market forward, I agree with a lot of the commentators on the post that it could and would never happen.  Publishers, just like the RIAA, don’t want you to be able “rip” your books.  They want you to buy them again, at full MSRP.  Amazon would have to have a lot more clout than they presently have to make something like this work, just as Jobs and Apple did with the iPod to get the RIAA to bend to .99 a song.

kindle-dx-hero-top-right-05What would it take for me to buy a Kindle?  This proposal wouldn’t sway me much since I don’t buy manga from Amazon.com all that much.  I wouldn’t get much of a benefit from it.  Now, if I could “subscribe” to books on the Kindle, such as any manga on Amazon, that I could read them on the device as long as I paid the subscription fee with maybe an option to buy the print book at a discount, that might entice me more.  And, of course, manga titles would have to be available.  I find there are a lot of titles I just want to read, and not necessary buy and let take up room in my house.  But, that’s for another post.

What about you?  If you could get e-book copies of your existing library, would it be worth it to you to buy a Kindle?  Is that enough of an incentive for you to plop down $360-$480 for a reader?  Or would you need something else/more?  What would it take to make an e-reader worth it to you?

10 thoughts on “What Would It Take?”

  1. The Chronicle of Higher Education has a great article where the author read “Little Dorrit” using 4 methods: on her iPhone, on a Kindle, in paperback form, and as an audio book (http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i39/39b01601.htm). In the article, she says:

    “Kindle, shmindle. It does almost nothing that an iPhone can’t do better — and most important, the iPhone is always with me.”

    All that to say, I doubt I would buy a Kindle, or any other dedicated eReader, when we already have technology like the iPhone & the iTouch. Essentially, I want ONE portable device that can function as a cell-phone, eReader, iPod, etc. It’s much cheaper, and I’m much more likely to use it.

    Also, I wouldn’t pay $10 or more for books that I don’t fully own & can’t lend to friends or resell. I’d only pay $1 to $3 dollars for most eBooks; otherwise, I’d rather hunt down a cheap physical copy.

    1. For straight text books, I would say you and the author may be right. But for viewing manga, I can’t say a small screen is a good option. I’ve tried reading scans on my palm, and it just doesn’t work. I know comics can be reformatted to show one panel at a time, but will that work for free ranging panels or full page/double page spreads? I’m still skeptical on the iphone/itouch as a reader for manga. I need to see it before I believe it.

  2. I think the price needs to come way down. That’s a lot of money for something that is basically a transitional technology. I was sort of tempted to get a Kindle 2, but they came out with the deluxe just a few weeks later, and I know color will come along in a year or two.

  3. 1. What Brigid said.

    2. I would need to be convinced that I could enjoy reading manga on a Kindle. I’m depressed that I’d only be able to see one page at a time, and I am yet unsure of what the quality of my reading experience would be.

    3. I like your subscription idea (with a discount for the print copies). I think that would entice me more than purchasing items one-by-one that I would not be able to access in any other format.

  4. If you can’t transfer your own files to the device via a link cable, then there’s no way I would ever buy the device. Amazon’s Kindle requires you to email files to yourself in order for them to be converted and they charge you for wireless transfers. Sure, there’s a free usb option, but it still requires you to email the files first.

    I wouldn’t mind having a Sony eReader, though, if the price came down and they became widely available. The Kindle just seems crippled it’s a product.

    1. Actually, the Sony eReader is now available at Staples. I seem them in their ads every week. Next time I get to one, I’m definitely going to check it out. I do think the Sony eReader is a better product for getting several different file types on the device. It’s not a closed system like the Kindle, and for me, that’s better overall. One of the reasons I won’t touch Apple products. I don’t need Steve Jobs/Apple lackeys deciding what I can or can’t put on my phone or pda. I think I’m grown up enough to make that choice on my own now.

  5. I agree that the smaller screen is a problem for manga, and I don’t know of a good fix. The popularity of cellphone manga in Japan, though, gives me hope that there is a way!

    Sony eReaders are quite nice too (we have them at work), and make more sense now that Scribd & Google have officially entered the eBook market.

    To clarify, I’m not an Apple acolyte or anything (in fact, I’m a PC user & have only 1 Apple product, a first generation iPod nano). I wasn’t promoting a specific device so much as the idea of a single device that can do everything (with iTouch/iPhone being the most recognizable example). Sorry if it came off as a sales pitch.

    1. The Japanese have the advantage of larger screens though. We’re only just starting to catch up to that.

      I only just read about the Scribd deal, and we’ll see about the Google since they’ve got a note from the DOJ about their deal. They’ll probably wiggle through though. And having competition for Amazon and the Kindle can only be a good thing. Every new hardware and ebook seller means work for Amazon, and they can’t hold a monopoly on the market.

      I wasn’t directing my Apple rant at you. It was just something that’s been pent up in me for a while. It just feels like everything has to revolve around the iphone/itouch. “Is the Pre an iphone killer?” “Will the iphone kill the Kindle?” It’s not all about the iphone people! Sorry if I came off as ranting at you. I know I probably come off as a Kindle advocate, but that’s not really the case. It’s just that the Kindle is always in the news, so it’s easy to come up with things to write about it. No harm, no foul. 🙂

  6. For me to consider it I would have to first see manga on the screen and flip through a couple of pages to be fully satisfied. Then I would love to have my entire library or a substancial amount of it available in ebook format. As the revolution in streaming anime took off this year, I think ebook manga could seriously take off with a subscription service. The recent RINNE title VIZ is putting online each week is great, unfortunately I only enjoy reading it fullscreen. So I am very leery to see manga on the iphone, but the ereader or Kindle seems the best bet for portalbility. I too also hope for color, so I really don’t see myself getting a Kindle or ereader till the manga companies fully support, ie making available their ENTIRE available libraries. And I do not think the manga companies are ready to do that yet as the market adjusts during this current economic rollercoaster.

  7. I’ve already made my views on the Kindle clear elsewhere. In order for me to buy it, it would have to make it cheaper and easier to do something that I would actually do in my day-to-day life. The ability to carry around 500 books is not a significant plus because I have never needed to carry 500 books with me, in fact I can’t remember the last time I had to carry more than 1 book with me at a time. Electronic versions have no real positive features and have significant negative ones, again that I’ve gone into in detail elsewhere. At the moment, the Kindles and similar devices are just technojunk, they’re ways for people with too much money to spend it on things they really don’t need.

    Come on back when it fulfills an actual need.

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