Megan McArdle just purchased one and loves it! She makes me think my concerns about the controls might not be such a big deal after all:
All right, I've had the Kindle for a couple of weeks now. What do I think?
Love it. Best thing since sliced bread.
Yes, I have the same complaint everyone else does: it's easy to hit the "next page" button while you're handling it. Luckily, it's also easy to hit the "previous page" button; doing so has perhaps eaten up ten seconds over the last two weeks. Also, I feel like it could be slightly bigger.
1. E-ink. It's as easy on the eyes as a book. Actually easier, because you can resize the text.
2. Newspaper subscriptions. I take three: the Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. Yes, I could read them for free online. But that isn't like reading a newspaper; it's like reading a website. I read newspapers on the Kindle the way I read print ones, which is to say I at least scan each headline. This means I catch things I otherwise wouldn't have.
4. Portability. I am now never without a lot of reading material. Anyone who travels frequently should have one. But I carry mine with me everywhere, so I can whip it out whenever I have down time. It weighs practically nothing, and tucks in a smallish purse.
8. One handed reading. I like to read propped up on one arm, or hanging onto the pole in the train, or while drinking coffee outside; because I only need to hit a button to page forward, this is easier than doing it with a print book.
9. Space. My apartment is basically at book capacity. The Kindle means I'm not bringing more unstorable books into the house.
Cheap books. Forgot another benefit: cheap books. Kindle books typically trade from 20-50% less than print.
Follow the link for more.
Will Wilkonson loves his too. Tyler Cowen likes his for reading fiction, but not for non-fiction. Rob Bushway recommends getting one. Walt Mossberg and James Kendrick are less favorable in their assessments.
Here's a video showing more on how the Kindle works:
Lifehacker has an excellent write-up on how the Kindle can save you both time and money.
I'm sure if I bought one now, I could transfer my account and books over to another unit whenever a new version comes out. This would be a killer device for me if it could natively read PDF files (including graphics) for reading academic articles (and legal cases).
Like Megan, I live in a small space with a lot of books and my shelves are getting full. The idea of getting something like this is quite appealing in this regard. Also, the idea of one-handed reading on a crowded subway and always having a good selection of reading material on hand is also quite enticing.
If they'd make case books and study guides available for this, there's no question -- I'd buy one in a heartbeat. (And my back would thank me.)
I wonder -- would the Kindle do for my reading what my AlphaSmart Neo has done for my writing?
Should I buy a Kindle this summer or wait a bit before taking the plunge?