Editor’s Note: This is part 8 of 8 of John’s Kindle Shakedown series, and you can also find it on his blog here. Thanks, much, John for allowing TeleRead to reprint your series and I, for one, hope to hear more from you in the future. PB
An invitation for feedback is included with the Kindle. As a conclusion to my Kindle shakedown series, I am sending this open letter to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com. The letter is also being emailed to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Jeff Bezos,
Thank you for making the Amazon Kindle available in Canada. I received one for Christmas. This lover of print was a bit skeptical, but after a three-month shakedown I am impressed. The Kindle is bookish, as you promised. The device disappears behind the story. Since the Kindle is new in Canada, it gets attention from others and I feel like an ambassador for the product. I would like to give you the feedback I have been sharing with others.At $259 CAD with wireless I tell people that the Kindle is a good deal. It is disappointing, however, that the wireless functions are limited in Canada to shopping at your store and browsing Wikipedia. I enjoy receiving the Globe and Mail wirelessly every morning but I miss the photos. I would also like to see Canadian magazines like The Walrus. I urge you to work out your Canadian wireless and content deals.
Other proprietary limitations are also a concern. The Kindle cannot be used to buy ebooks from other stores, so I am faced with having to buy multiple ereaders. After reading an ebook, I can view my highlights and notes alongside the ebook text using Amazon Kindle for the PC, but for research and writing I need to be able to easily copy-paste from all these sources, including the ebook text, to other files. The technology to provide this feature is simple, so I must assume the limitation is there to prevent people from copying ebooks.
A defining element of bookishness is the ability to share information, just as libraries lend books. Amazon has been a leader with Web 2.0 and openness. Remember when publishers were afraid about customers writing bad book reviews for others to read? You boldly replied that customers will buy more of the good books. I encourage you to have the same courage with ereader design. What the world needs is an open ereader, one that allows a reader to purchase ebooks from any store, borrow them from their local library, easily remix the content for research, and innovate with open source ereader applications.
Thanks again for the Kindle. I still prefer reading print some of the time, but ebooks will remain an important part of my reading mix.
John Miedema, a new Kindle reader