Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Kindle Love/Hate Relationship

Stephen King may love his Kindle, but I'm beginning to have doubts.

I Love the Kindle!
I love being able to read books on my iPad and Droid smartphone.  The convenience is terrific, and the technology works well.  And with the ability to tell the devices what font size I want, it makes reading pretty comfy!

I Also Hate the Kindle!
My wife wants to read one of the books I just read, but I have no way of sharing it with her unless I change her device registration to my account.  If she has her own account, with her own settings and preferences, doing so will make her very unhappy.  Also, a friend just asked me if I have a good book she can read while traveling cross country later this week.  Same problem: there's no way to share a book!

If Amazon wants this technology to become pervasive, rather than just a novelty, it's going to have to find a way to let people share a book among family members or give a book away.  Here a couple ways they might be able to accomplish that:
  • Let people identify family members by linking to those who have the same home address.
  • Let people transfer their book for a small fee, maybe half of the purchase with a maximum of $3.00
Those solutions seem pretty easy and sensible.  People share printed books all the time, so this isn't really a potential revenue loss if strategically managed.  And coming up with a reasonable solution can make this technology truly pervasive.

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