New UK chapter for Amazon
Reading has become popular again this morning as Amazon officially launched its much hyped Kindle electronic book reader worldwide - meaning British bookworms can now get their hands on it for just over £200 (~$325), albeit by still having to order via Amazon US.
Boasting 3G connectivity, the Kindle has been hailed as something of a Messiah for the e-book market, having already made e-reading a trendy and popular pastime in the US, with over 200,000 English-language titles available on the device.
Of course, Kindle isn't the first e-reader available on the UK market, with Sony's Reader Pocket Edition and Touch Edition already on sale in Blighty and available through resellers like WH Smiths, but Amazon's offering certainly seems to be creating rather a lot of hype.
Just like the iPod before it, the Kindle is being touted as a revolution in digital content, with all the pros and cons that come along with that, including piracy, the issues of digital rights management (DRM) and proprietary control over content.
Unfortunately, Amazon seems to be following in Apple's footsteps when it comes to proprietary file formats for the Kindle, with most of its e-books unavailable for anything other than the Kindle, which means they won't work on any other e-reader. Boooo!
Of course, whilst some may be irritated by this fact, others will simply download their e-book content illegally, without any DRM protection, in PDF format. Downloading books is also really quick and easy for both pirates and non pirates alike, with file sizes typically not getting much above 3MB, unlike films which are typically 200 times the size.
Both Amazon and Sony's devices offer punters the potential to store hundreds, if not thousands of books, with Sony's Reader boasting a capacity for 350 books, whilst Amazon's Kindle can purportedly hold a whopping 1500. Add to that the simplicity of use and being able to read for days on end without even having to recharge it, and real-book publishers may have a problem. Or will they?