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Books Handhelds

Amazon Expands Kindle To the PC 149

Posted by timothy
from the begun-this-price-war-has dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Windows users will be able to use a new Kindle Books application to purchase, download and read e-book titles from Amazon's Kindle Store service. The PC application will be offered as a free download and will support Windows 7, Vista and XP systems. The news comes as Amazon is suddenly finding itself with a fresh crop of competitors in the e-book reader market. Earlier this week hardware vendor Spring Design entered the market with its Alex device, while publisher/retailer Barnes and Noble presented an even more serious challenge to Kindle when it unveiled its Nook reader device." Worth noting, if you're in the market for any such device: the base Kindle's price is now down to $259.
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Amazon Expands Kindle To the PC

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  • I find this post interesting considering the current slashdot poll is about linear footage of shelved books in your home.

    http://slashdot.org/pollBooth.pl?qid=1871&aid=-1 [slashdot.org]

    And another article discussing the loss of available "internet"

    http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/09/10/24/2347248/What-If-They-Turned-Off-the-Internet?art_pos=11 [slashdot.org]

    • You mean there is a LEGITIMATE way to get books? Interesting. I never got past torrents, newsgroups, and other means of P2P. Hell, I didn't realize they actually SOLD ebooks! I might try it, some day, maybe. If the P2P networks ever run out of books, I KNOW I will!

  • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @01:25PM (#29866007) Journal
    Don't care for the DRM. I could really use a book reader though, and the Android version once liberated may have interesting other applications.
    • by MrBigInThePants (624986) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @02:21PM (#29866479)

      I totally agree. I don't know what the love affair with amazon is (well, maybe advertising revenue) but I would suggest that they have shown on several counts that their reader is a BIG risk and that other readers are far better. Triply so if you do not live in the US.

      1984 being recalled?
      DRM?
      Not supporting other ebook types so you can purchase where you want?
      Charging a 40% premium in the UK?

      Yeah. You can keep your reader amazon, I am just not that stupid. Even Sony is coming to the table with something better and they INVENTED this game. :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fooslacker (961470)
        I actually love my Kindle but it's about the device itself. I would much prefer one that was actually open. I am currently waiting to lay hands on a nook to see if it's a viable replacement but from everything I've read so far it is lacking in the actual reading experience and battery departments. My hope is that the Nook and competitors actually force Amazon into a more open position but I may be dreaming.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by boilednut (1245008) *
          Below are some pros/cons of Nook relative to Kindle.
          Note: I am a very pleased Kindle owner, and I make no pretense of being completely unbiased.

          Pros
          • Android OS.
          • Color Touch Display.
          • Native support for more eBook formats -- including PDF.
          • LendMe feature.
          • Wi-Fi support.
          • Memory expansion to 16GB with MicroSD card.

          Caveats: The LendMe feature will only allow a book to be lent one time only -- for at most two weeks; and, according to some souces (http://reviews.cnet.com/e-book-readers/barnes-noble-nook/45 [cnet.com]

      • I just looked at the UK Amazon site.

        They list it at £199. According to Google, this is $324.569 and some zeroes. A more realistic comparison is $400 if the exchange rate was actually set at the true relative value of £ and $.

        For this, we get a "cut down" version and a much smaller choice of books.

        If the application is free (unlikely), I might consider it for my laptop. For now, the Nook sounds interesting but the Sony one is actually here and a lot cheaper than the Kindle. I just have

        • "Kindle for PC is also a great way for people around the world to read the most popular books of today even if they don't yet have a Kindle."

          The PC application will be offered as a free download and will support Windows 7, Vista and XP systems.

          It's free, because it doesn't cost Amazon anything to deliver a book to your computer (unlike the wireless service they use). But the price for the ebook includes the cost to deliver it (that's not included in the price of the Kindle)

        • by Fred_A (10934)

          I just looked at the UK Amazon site.

          They list it at £199. According to Google, this is $324.569 and some zeroes. A more realistic comparison is $400 if the exchange rate was actually set at the true relative value of £ and $.

          I just checked this in France and the Amazon home page lists the kindle as being available on "amazon.com". So apparently it's priced at $259 + tax which should add up to $309.80 (+ shipping). So until they sell it on their local pages with the "usual" exchange rate ($1 for a bit more than a euro), I suppose it's some sortof a good deal for people who want one.

          There doesn't seem to be much localised content (although Le Monde [lemonde.fr] seems to be available) which may or may not be a problem for the early adopters he

  • by rinoid (451982) * on Sunday October 25, 2009 @01:26PM (#29866025)

    Now you can use your DRM-laden "books" from Amazon on your Windows computer!

    Why do so many fawn over Kindle and other like devices with DRM in text, IN TEXT!@, after spending years railing (often against the wrong targets) against DRM in music?

    -- maybe this will mean a more useful crack for said DRM --

    • by causality (777677) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @01:42PM (#29866175)

      Now you can use your DRM-laden "books" from Amazon on your Windows computer!

      Why do so many fawn over Kindle and other like devices with DRM in text, IN TEXT!@, after spending years railing (often against the wrong targets) against DRM in music?

      -- maybe this will mean a more useful crack for said DRM --

      No shit. To anyone in marketing who might be reading this, I'll fill you in. How to make sure I never, ever buy your product for any reason:

      • Use any sort of DRM scheme.
      • Unilaterally and remotely exercise control over the hardware that I have paid for, such as when the book 1984 was forcibly removed from Kindles after its purchase in order to shift some of the cost of the publisher's mistakes onto the end-users.
      • Use a proprietary or encumbered file format when a widely-supported standard file format is available.
      • Attempt to track/data-mine my activities so you can send me unsolicited advertisements for items I will make it a point to never buy if you somehow manage to successfully send me the unsolicited advertisements.

      This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

      • Now if only there was a way to open the eyes of the masses who don't consider any of the above. This goes beyond saying "they don't care" -- it simply never occurs to ask the question, or think about it. at all.

        If we can find an effective way to do that, then DRM'd sales will take a hit. Until then... people will buy it out of ignorance.

        If I weren't aware of the DRM, and ebook prices were cheaper than paperback equivs, I'd buy a kindle - it's an impressive-looking device that -- by all reports -- works well at what it's designed for. For most people, that's all that matters.

        • by Amarok.Org (514102) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @02:27PM (#29866521)

          There's another option entirely - we know the limitations and are OK with it.

          I own a Kindle, and was well aware of the DRM restrictions before I bought it. Sure, there are lots of people who have plenty of perfectly legitimate gripes about the DRM, and it *will* restrict them from doing things that they want to do. So they don't purchase it... fine. No problem.

          I like the Kindle, and the DRM doesn't prevent me from doing anything I want to do. I wanted an easy way to buy and carry books with me when I travel, and the Kindle does that for me. I don't tend to re-read books when I'm done with them, so if the Kindle service suddenly died, I wouldn't be too broken up about it. Sure there was the initial investment in the reader - but at least for me, the cost was reasonably trivial. I mean, I spend more on bar tabs in a month than I did on the Kindle. The fact that the books I purchase and read are a bit cheaper in electronic version, I've probably saved 25% of the cost of the reader in the few months I've owned it. After a year, it's a break even proposition if you're only looking at the total costs. But for that initial investment, I got the convenience of the reader and the opportunity to read a whole lot more than I would have otherwise. Win-win, in my book.

          • by causality (777677) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @03:11PM (#29866805)

            There's another option entirely - we know the limitations and are OK with it.

            I own a Kindle, and was well aware of the DRM restrictions before I bought it. Sure, there are lots of people who have plenty of perfectly legitimate gripes about the DRM, and it *will* restrict them from doing things that they want to do. So they don't purchase it... fine. No problem.

            I like the Kindle, and the DRM doesn't prevent me from doing anything I want to do. I wanted an easy way to buy and carry books with me when I travel, and the Kindle does that for me. I don't tend to re-read books when I'm done with them, so if the Kindle service suddenly died, I wouldn't be too broken up about it. Sure there was the initial investment in the reader - but at least for me, the cost was reasonably trivial. I mean, I spend more on bar tabs in a month than I did on the Kindle. The fact that the books I purchase and read are a bit cheaper in electronic version, I've probably saved 25% of the cost of the reader in the few months I've owned it. After a year, it's a break even proposition if you're only looking at the total costs. But for that initial investment, I got the convenience of the reader and the opportunity to read a whole lot more than I would have otherwise. Win-win, in my book.

            I just want DRM to die. It's a failed concept, and like all failed concepts it deserves to die. It's also a particularly asinine one, based on the automatic assumption that the person who is buying from you wants to infringe your copyrights even though that person has given no such indication. Only sociopathic assholes celebrate the idea of "guilty until proven innocent," and that's even if their customers are willing to put up with it.

            I don't want my dollars to support a DRM scheme even if that DRM scheme is perfect in every way and never interferes with anything I could ever want to do with the device. There are both abstract and pragmatic reasons for that. I thought I'd focus on the pragmatic reasons since most people seem unable to care about much else. In a way, the reasoning here is similar to why you don't give broad, sweeping, unnecessary powers to a government and then complain when they are abused. The mild/agreeable DRM schemes are like the nicer politicians who probably won't abuse the power. There is no guarantee that their successors will be so benevolent.

            So yes, Amazon might be using an agreeable DRM scheme right now. They do, after all, want to establish marketshare and get this to catch on, and right now Kindles are far from ubiquitous. It's in their interests to play nice right now. They have enough business sense to understand that pissing off their (relatively) early adopters will doom this product. However, they have not signed any written agreements stating that they will perpetually be this way into the future. In fact, it's a safe assumption that they reserve the right to change their system or its software at any time, and probably without notice (this is standard fare for commercial EULAs). Strictly in terms of business decisions, the bigger and more widespread the Kindle becomes, the more tempting it will be for them to add restrictions. This is not in my interests.

            Additionally, this company has already demonstrated with the 1984 deal that they have no qualms about allowing a publisher's mistake to become the customer's problem. I'm a philosopher, so I did not actually need to see a demonstration; just that they had the technical and legal ability to do this was enough for me, for that guarantees it was only a matter of time. In other words, you don't carefully design technical (remote control) and legal (EULAs/agreements) powers like that for the hell of it. You do it because you intend to use them. This is not in my interests either.

            I'll say this much about my abstract reasons: my freedom and autonomy are extremely precious to me. They are certainly more precious to me than saving a few bucks. I won't tra

            • by Nyeerrmm (940927)

              Thats a valid view, but voting with your wallet has one big flaw that I see. I don't think the failure of the Kindle would have told publishers that DRM for e-books is a loser -- it would have told them that e-books are losers. And like the poster you're responding to, I find e-books very convenient.

              Personally, I'm hoping that competition and publisher discomfort with a dominant distributor will eventually bring an end to DRM here, just as it did for digital music.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by causality (777677)

                Thats a valid view, but voting with your wallet has one big flaw that I see. I don't think the failure of the Kindle would have told publishers that DRM for e-books is a loser -- it would have told them that e-books are losers. And like the poster you're responding to, I find e-books very convenient.

                If they did a little market research they would learn the reason for any wallet-voting, though I acknowledge that for political reasons there may be little incentive for them to do so. For that reason, perhaps

                • by GryMor (88799)

                  The existence of DRM on the content is dictated by the publishers, not the hardware. If you want to vote with your wallet, you are going to have to do it by chosing to only buy e-books that don't have DRM (say, from Baen)

            • by Dog-Cow (21281)

              Amazon did actually have qualms about allowing a publisher's mistake to become the customer's problem. Yes, their initial reaction was poor, but they did actually replace every copy that they had removed. That doesn't sound "qualmless" [sic] to me.

        • by fafaforza (248976)

          I don't see what the big deal with DRM is, and why people get so passionate about it. You'll spend $12 to go see a movie in a sticky theater and obnoxious people. You won't get to save a copy of said movie, and you'll be fine with it.

          But paying $10 for a book that will likely provide you with hours more entertainment than the movie, with some possibility that in 30 years Amazon won't exist and your books might not be usable, somehow seems like a crime.

          What does everyone suggest as a replacement for DRM?

          • by causality (777677) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @03:31PM (#29866937)

            What does everyone suggest as a replacement for DRM? Do you honestly believe that people can be trusted on an "honor system" to purchase books honestly when they could download them for free in seconds? If there was a place to download all the latest releases, nicely formatted, in the correct format and all, I know that I'd probably download them for free more often than pay.

            If DRM actually stopped piracy then you'd have a point. It doesn't. The pirates just see it as a challenge, something they can use to prove their "eliteness" by breaking the DRM scheme. The result is that paying customers bear any inconvenience caused by DRM while people who pirate do not. This has proven to be the case with music, movies, and video games. There is absolutely no reason to think e-books will be different (if anything they are easier to pirate as they are smaller than movies and games). The consistent, predictable creation of situations where the pirate has a better, more usable, less restricted product than the paying customer should tell you something about the effectiveness of DRM.

            Imagine if you were a writer, trying to make a living at it, as hard as it is already, and you had no control over what you created. It wouldn't sit well with you either.

            While I appreciate the emotional appeal, the assumption of what I would do in a hypothetical situation, and the assumption that all writers unanimously feel the same way about this topic, this isn't valid reasoning.

            • by causality (777677) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @03:52PM (#29867057)
              I do want to add one more thing about DRM. Beware politician's logic, which goes "we must do something. This is something, so it must be done!"
            • by sopssa (1498795) *

              DRM isn't there to stop piracy completely. It's there to make it much-too-work for the ordinary user, so they would rather buy the real product than waste time to try to get it to work.

              Slashdot is full of technically-capable people so it's not surprise DRM stuff always comes up here, but in the "real world" nobody really cares that much about the underlying technology or philosophy. It still works like they would except it to.

              • by causality (777677)

                DRM isn't there to stop piracy completely. It's there to make it much-too-work for the ordinary user, so they would rather buy the real product than waste time to try to get it to work.

                Slashdot is full of technically-capable people so it's not surprise DRM stuff always comes up here, but in the "real world" nobody really cares that much about the underlying technology or philosophy. It still works like they would except it to.

                I don't believe you have thought this through, so I'll explain why that doesn't work.

                The "too much work" only needs to be done once, by the pirates. They have plenty of motivation to do this, not the least of which is that their status in that community is based on what they can crack and how quickly they can crack it. Then infinite perfect copies of the cracked/DRM-free item can easily be distributed worldwide. The ordinary user needs no more work or expertise than what is necessary to run a BitTorre

                • by sopssa (1498795) *

                  I know that, but for ordinary men/women it still means knowing a lot about it, going to some "shady" websites and doing some tricks to get it to work (and realizing it's illegal). That would be different if every person could just copy and share things like they normally do, without any tricks.

                  Technically-capable and most of young people of course know the ways around things and probably dont even care that it's not exactly legal. But DRM stops the other people from doing such.

                  • by fafaforza (248976)

                    Agreed. Most people can't be bothered to figure out the difference between BBeB/ePub/etc, let alone decrypting books or downloading them from trackers.

                    If it were as simple as right clicking on a file and selecting "Email to", ebook piracy would be more prevalent.

                    If you don't agree with DRM, buy printed books, or read out of copyright classics, of which there are thousands.

                • If you ask me, DRM isn't even there to prevent the torrent style book piracy. Its to prevent the rampant sharing amongst friends. Makes the argument quite different in the end. You may bring forward the idea that you would lend the book to a friend in the first place. But if you could just copy it over, your book recommendation that may lead to a few sales would instead turn into a whole group of people sharing off of one purchase.

                • by Imsdal (930595)

                  The "too much work" only needs to be done once, by the pirates.

                  Patently untrue. The Wii, for instance, is hacked, and you all can take it from good authority (namely me) that it's quite possible to download pirated stuff through your favorite torrent site. Yet I don't think anyone else of the 20+ people I know IRL who have a Wii are using homebrew. It's still too complicated, and if you think it isn't, you have lost contact with reality.

                  For the Wii, the effort Nintendo has put into DRM and making copying difficult has paid off. You may all wish this isn't true, but w

          • You'll spend $12 to go see a movie in a sticky theater and obnoxious people. You won't get to save a copy of said movie, and you'll be fine with it. But paying $10 for a book that will likely provide you with hours more entertainment than the movie, with some possibility that in 30 years Amazon won't exist and your books might not be usable, somehow seems like a crime.

            That's because you go to the movie paying to see it one time on the big screen with the awesome sound system AND you pay to see it when it's brand new. That's why after it's been out for awhile it goes to the cheap theaters that don't charge as much - because it's not new anymore.

            When you buy a book / movie / game, as long as you take care of it, it should last forever. If a company has the ability to revoke your ability to use the product you purchased at any time (whether through bankruptcy or because t

            • by fafaforza (248976)

              There are plenty of reasons for renting (or leasing) which may include not wanting to live in the same place for a long time. Every time you buy or sell a home, you're looking at fairly significant fees, taxes, etc. Even if you own a house outright, you're still subject to various taxes, so you could still lose your property.

              Having a company like Amazon or Sony go bankrupt is somewhat far fetched. But even if something like that happened, there are enough users of the service that the outrage created wou

            • by Imsdal (930595)

              and as anyone with even the smallest amount of financial intelligence can tell you, renting is throwing your money down the drain

              Huh? Are you kidding? Do you buy a car when you go on vacation or do you rent it? (But I get a feeling you think that going on vacation is a waste of money in the first place.)

              I see no problems with "renting" books, just as long as you know that's what you are doing. I have read about 1000 books in my life. Number of books I have read twice: 1. Number of books I enjoyed rereading: 0. This may be extreme, but I really doubt that most people reread more than 10% of all the books they buy. Renting them shoul

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by couchslug (175151)

            "You'll spend $12 to go see a movie in a sticky theater and obnoxious people. "

            I don't.
            I haven't been to a movie in a theater since the 1980s and don't miss sharing space with a waterfall of loud, annoying retards. That shit is why home entertainment systems were invented.

            • by HAKdragon (193605)
              ..don't miss sharing space with a waterfall of loud, annoying retards.

              Yet, you come to slashdot...
          • by retchdog (1319261)

            First, I think the anti-DRM people probably go to the cinema less often than "normals".

            Also, DRM seems more unfair on a gut level. Why can't you take the cinema home with you? Well, it's a huge screen. Duh. Why does the book go away after a while? Because it's rigged to die.

          • Its very simple. we can choose either to have DRM, or to retain control of our infromation. We can't have both and the middle ground between the two is shrinking as software becomes more crucial to different areas of commerce.

            See The Right to Read [gnu.org] by RMS.

            • by fafaforza (248976)

              But so far, you can still buy a printed book and keep it for ever. If you look at it from a publisher's point of view, if they can't comfortably release a book as a computer file without it easily being copied and shared, then they simply won't pursue the technology, and everyone will suffer because the portable reader will lose its usefulness.

              • But so far, you can still buy a printed book and keep it for ever. If you look at it from a publisher's point of view, if they can't comfortably release a book as a computer file without it easily being copied and shared, then they simply won't pursue the technology, and everyone will suffer because the portable reader will lose its usefulness.

                Lots of stuff gets sold as "computer files" without significant technical restrictions on copying and sharing. CDs for example.

    • by maxume (22995)

      Part of it is that there is a rather wide demographic (meaning that it probably isn't the same people doing it).

      Another part of it is that many sane people are not offended by hardware the supports DRM, even though they never purchase media encumbered by said DRM.

    • by Nyeerrmm (940927) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @03:14PM (#29866825)

      As someone who never bought a DRM-laden piece of music, but buys plenty of stuff for my Kindle (but was never one to rant much about it), the reason is simply one of practicality.

      I'm in grad school, have a small room, move a lot, and tend to fulfill some of those 'digital nomad' stereotypes, so the benefits of e-books are pretty strong for me -- however, there is no way to purchase DRM-free e-books without extremely limiting my choices. I figure that by purchasing and using the device, as its useful for me and I feel informed what the DRM implies, I can help to show that there is a market, and that more competition will force more openness, as it did in the music industry.

      Music had two critical differences to me. One was that I could purchase a CD and rip it with little effort (I still prefer to purchase music by album, so single-serve songs meant little to me) -- this made it easy to get most of the benefits without the DRM (plus ripping to FLAC). The second is repeatability and cost/length: buying a new copy of an album every year just to relisten to is absurd, while if I were to decide to reread a book 5 years from now, it doesn't seem as ridiculous to rebuy it, thus making the DRM-associated risk less.

      That said, first DRM-free e-book store that appears with a comparable selection, I'll jump to immediately, just as I started using the Amazon MP3 store as soon as it appeared.

    • by Dare nMc (468959)

      $$$$
      I think Amazons use of DRM will help/was designed to break the overhead, where as Apples, and Sonys is clearly to prop up the failed models longer.
      Amazon has a reasonable, we'll publish your book directly for a flat percentage, no matter what price you want ($.99 - $200) Very easy, very cost affective.
      Granted Apple kinda sorta, stepped into this, but never gave the same efforts to independents. And never for the kinda price/format flexibility that amazon is going for with their Digital Text Platform [amazon.com]
      (al

  • Worth noting, if you're in the market for any such device: the base Kindle's price is now down to $259.

    If it had internet access like it apparently does in the states, I'd seriously consider it. As it is, a netbook will ultimately be the better investment.

    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      Or Courier [gizmodo.com]. By the look of it, it could be great, and it's not just for ebook reading but more general tablet pc.

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      There is an international version with 3g connectivity:
      http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Reading-Display-International-Generation/dp/B0015T963C [amazon.com]

      But believe me, I owned a kindle 2 roughly six months ago - there is no overlap with a netbook yet. Other than wikipedia (where the 6" screen sucked worse than an iPhone, now, I can't speak for the DX with a 9.7" screen size), you don't want to begin to browse with this, it is painful, even on wifi. The browser is primitive and nearly useless.

      It can purchase and read

    • As it is, a netbook will ultimately be the better investment.

      Not sure if that is true. A Kindle will continue to read books for quite a while, while a netbook will go obsolete pretty quickly whenever Intel/AMD come out with a CPU that is more power efficient and a lot faster. Sure, when they make color E-ink screens the appeal of a last-gen Kindle will go away, but chances are you can continue to read new books on it, while netbook remixes of different OSes will eventually be so slow as to be unusable on your hardware and security risks prevent you from using older

    • by fafaforza (248976)

      So which netbook fits in the back pocket of a pair of jeans, weights nothing, and lasts for weeks between charges?

  • Cross platform? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @01:27PM (#29866041)

    Would it have killed them to use a cross platform library and provide support for OS X and Linux as well? It's not like this is a legacy app or anything.

    • by longhunt (1641141)
      I bet they have had something like this in-house since the beginning. They probably just cleaned up the interface so they could offer it to the public. Hopefully we can use Wine, or something.
      • I bet they have had something like this in-house since the beginning. They probably just cleaned up the interface so they could offer it to the public. Hopefully we can use Wine, or something.

        I had the same thought -- but it does seem a bit ludicrous, doesn't it? I mean, we *know* they have a Linux program that can read the kindle format, and have since the beginning... because they shipped it on the Kindle.

    • by donutello (88309) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @04:11PM (#29867161) Homepage

      According to an Amazon spokesperson [fastcompany.com].

      • Given that the iPhone is OS X, they already have an OS X version, albeit one that targets a somewhat different set of libraries.

        Creating a desktop OS X version should pretty much be a matter of a 10% change in a few key UI pieces and swapping out CocoaTouch stuff for plain ol' Cocoa.

    • by rssrss (686344)

      Yes, the thing they are most worried about is Apple. They don't want an opening to that world.

  • http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000426311 [amazon.com] Not much there but there is an official mention of it unlike the article slashdot links to
  • by TDyl (862130)
    Why can't PC users just have access to PDF's? We already have a damn good reader/creator (Foxit) that has a much smaller footprint than any Adobe product.
    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      Does it use some Adobe product? It's Amazon, not Adobe.

      • by TDyl (862130)
        Yes, I am aware of that, but PDF's are cross-platform and wouldn't need extra software (or hardware) to read; they can also be password locked which could enable a form of DRM - as a customer orders a PDF the file is created with a password unlock unique to him/her: I know that may open up just sharing the unlocked PDF online but that would be a problem that most industries face as they offer digital content.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by maxume (22995)

      PDF is an awful ebook format (a big problem is that it specifies exact layout, meaning that users who choose to use a large font will have to deal with scrolling each page instead of flipping pages or scrolling a river, and so forth).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by longhunt (1641141)
        At work I get all of my project manuals and specification manuals in .pdf. Its the most miserable format ever for book-length documents. I hate trying to hunt through an 800 page manual one screen at a time to find the one paragraph I need that no one bothered to bookmark.
        • Ignoring the AC sibling posts, I would tend to agree. One of the biggest failures of the typical PDF is that there are no thumbnail views of the pages - you have to render every single page, every time you shift it. So if you happen to view the pages in continuous format you get to render two pages, and if your monitor is big enough to see side by sid eand continuous, it's four. Try and get a thumbnail view in a side pane and you have to sit around while it re-renders the whole book.

          I deal with large PDF se

      • by TDyl (862130)
        Um, how hard is it to set your zoom level and use a wheel-mouse or similar to move from top to bottom of a page and from page to page? Those with sight related-problems already have screen readers and other forms of software of that ilk. Disclaimer: I have both eyes that still work, I appreciate the PDF format and the thought of paying hundreds for an e-book reader is an anathema to me - I'd much rather have the books themselves, but if Captain Beatty is going to burn all my books then I guess I will have
        • by maxume (22995)

          It isn't hard at all. But it is easier and smoother and nicer to use an actual ebook format that reflows nicely (try reading the same material in a decently formatted pdf and in a decently formatted MS Reader book and you will understand what I am talking about).

          • by TDyl (862130)
            I shall have to try if I can find someone to lend me an e-book reader before I would even consider buying one.
            • by maxume (22995)

              You can download MS Reader (for Windows) for free. I'm not talking about the comparison just on physical devices, I'm talking about on a computer screen.

    • by fafaforza (248976)

      There's already a secure PDF format which publishers could use. Why you'd want to read a book on an LCD or CRT I have no idea, though.

      • by TDyl (862130)
        It was to do with the subject of TFA whereby amazon will be making their products available to PC-using readers.
      • by causality (777677)

        There's already a secure PDF format which publishers could use. Why you'd want to read a book on an LCD or CRT I have no idea, though.

        Real question: what's so terrible about a good LCD screen? I frequently hear people complain about the idea of reading books on an LCD screen, yet I have done this myself and didn't think it was bad at all.

        The CRTs I think I can understand. I'm one of those people who can detect the flicker even at reasonably high refresh rates, so they will eventually tire my eyes if I don't make it a point to look away from the screen from time to time. Even at the very best refresh rates, the scanned CRT is not re

        • by sopssa (1498795) *

          I dont really have a problem reading from LCD screen, I kind of prefer it to normal paper actually. I think the parent meant sitting on a computer and reading from that, which isn't really as comfortable as laying in a bed or sofa. Yeah I do sit on computer pretty much all the day anyway, but it's not nice to concentrate on a book that way. Laptop either doesn't have the same comfort, even if you can take it with you to bed.

          Personally I'm waiting for Courier Tablet [gizmodo.com], which seems just perfect for reading eboo

        • by ErikZ (55491) *

          A good LCD screen doesn't stand up to sunlight and uses too much power.

        • by AndersOSU (873247)

          I don't have a huge problem with reading from LCDs, but it is easier on the eyes to use reflected light than back light.

  • by future assassin (639396) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @01:38PM (#29866143) Homepage
    print screen button or copy and paste?
  • And the race begins (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AuMatar (183847) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @01:46PM (#29866227)

    Major geek cred for the first person to write a script that automatically pages through the book and takes a screenshot of each page, crops out the non-text, and runs OCR on it. No reason to even bother removing the DRM on this one.

  • Why Windows XP? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772)

    As a MacOS and Linux user, I feel really left out put off by this move, why support only Vista and XP...?

    • by hey (83763)

      Could it be market share?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      As a MacOS and Linux user, I feel really left out put off by this move, why support only Vista and XP...?

      If you're a Mac user then you're supposed to already be using the free Kindle reader on your iPhone/iTouch.

      What??? You don't have one of those??? Don't you know that you are supposed to own at least one of every toy that Steve Jobs sells. Just what kind of Mac user are you anyway???

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by swanzilla (1458281)

        What??? You don't have one of those??? Don't you know that you are supposed to own at least one of every toy* that Steve Jobs sells. Just what kind of Mac user are you anyway???

        * Apple TV excluded.

        • What??? You don't have one of those??? Don't you know that you are supposed to own at least one of every toy* that Steve Jobs sells. Just what kind of Mac user are you anyway???

          * Apple TV excluded.

          * Apple mice excluded as well.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I'd guess they figure the Apple crowd overlaps the gadget crowd sufficiently that most potential users have/will buy a Kindle, while the Linux crowd is unlikely to buy [as many] eBooks (but may buy their device since it runs Linux and has hack value.) Whether those are accurate assumptions or not, they seem like the kind of things you might make a decision like this on. Or perhaps the fact that Windows has the vast majority of the market share. One wonders if it will run under Wine...

  • It's certainly more than past time for this if Amazon is trying to expand their market. Unless the Kindle is total profit (not likely), you want to be selling to as many markets as possible. Besides, for people who read a lot, they'll probably buy a Kindle anyway since it's a lot easier to carry and use for reading than a PC.
  • eBook readers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SkOink (212592) on Sunday October 25, 2009 @02:07PM (#29866369) Homepage

    Are there any eBook readers that are good with 8.5"x11" PDFs yet? I'd love having something to read scientific papers on, but I don't think a full page of 10-pt font would be very legible when reduced by a factor of two for a Kindle screen.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by BStocknd (762377)
      There's the Kindle DX [amazon.com], which sports native PDF support and a 9.7" screen, but I haven't tried it myself. There are also a number of 3rd party products, including iRex who makes some with larger screens, but they're pretty pricey. The Kindle DX might be worth a shot if you want to spend the $489 to try it out.. might want to double check the return policy first though.
      • by fluffy99 (870997)

        AT that point, you could just buy a netbook. I think Amazon finally understands this and is offering a software solution to run on the PC. Perhaps they will eventually get out of the hardware end of this.

  • MIsleading (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437)

    It's not for the PC. It's for Windows only. I don't see any other OSes there.

    Also, I already have a better "Kindle" on my PC. It's called a "PDF reader". ^^

    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      Windows is 94+% of PC desktop marketshare. Do you complain when games are "PC games" but only support Windows too?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by AeneaTech (1308711)

        To be quite honest, I find it weird that people use 'PC' as a synonym for 'PC running Windows', why not just say 'Windows'? as in: Windows games, Kindle on Windows, Windows only, etc.

        • A personal computer (PC) is any general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and original sales price make it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end user, with no intervening computer operator.

          As someone who got their first computer in the 80s and saw the home computer market bloom into a personal computer market, it is odd that some people choose to define PC as being a Microsoft based device. When if you take the literal definition of personal computer, it would include Macs and possibly Linux only systems as well.

          • by honkycat (249849)

            I dunno, considering the importance/popularity of the IBM PC, the origins of the convention seem clear. Once the clones took over, you couldn't call it Mac vs IBM any more, and you need a name for that class of computer... Really, I can't remember the last time (if ever) I saw "PC" used to mean "personal computer" generally.

        • I find it weird that people use 'PC' as a synonym for 'PC running Windows'

          When working at Lucent (now Alcatel), colleagues referred to either a "PC" or a "workstation" meaning respectively a Windows-PC or a Solaris machine. Took some getting used to.

    • It's not for the PC. It's for Windows only. I don't see any other OSes there.

      Also, I already have a better "Kindle" on my PC. It's called a "PDF reader". ^^

      Blame Apple's now ubiquitous "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" commercials for the results of this oversimplification. Those ads were intended to position Apple as the only provider of alternatives to "PCs" with the assumption writ large all PCs are Microsoft machines. Now that they've succeeded beyond their wildest dreams Apple will be forced to wear "Mac"

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