The whole world seems to have seen that Newsweek is carrying a cover story about Kindle from Amazon ;-) The story is pretty positive.
One notable aspect is the tight coupling of the service for delivering ebooks and other materials and the device for presenting them. This is a model we are familiar with from iTunes, but no intermediate computer is required here. The Kindle can connect wirelessly (using an EVDO-based service).
Specifically, it's an extension of the familiar Amazon store (where, of course, Kindles will be sold). Amazon has designed the Kindle to operate totally independent of a computer: you can use it to go to the store, browse for books, check out your personalized recommendations, and read reader reviews and post new ones, tapping out the words on a thumb-friendly keyboard. Buying a book with a Kindle is a one-touch process. And once you buy, the Kindle does its neatest trick: it downloads the book and installs it in your library, ready to be devoured. "The vision is that you should be able to get any book—not just any book in print, but any book that's ever been in print—on this device in less than a minute," says Bezos. [Amazon: Reinventing the Book | Newsweek.com]
The article, by Steven Levy, also discusses adoption of ebooks in general terms. It spends some time discussing patterns of reading and wonders to what extent the Kindle will support or shape new expectations. I suppose that this type of discussion is inevitable, but this type of yes_it_is/no_it_isn't the shape of things to come exchange is a little tedious. Our expectations and behaviors are continually being reshaped.
See the discussion by David Rothman on Teleread ("Do publishers and readers really want Amazon or Google to be the ultimate controllers of interactivity?") and Richard MacManus on Read/WriteWeb ("And now it looks like Amazon has, finally, taken the always-nascent eBook industry to the next level.").
I look forward to seeing one and trying it out. Levy notes: "Though Bezos is reluctant to make the comparison, Amazon believes it has created the iPod of reading." Of course, one important difference from the iPod model is that folks transfer their CDs to the iPod as welling as buying materials through iTunes. We will not be able to transfer the books in our current personal collections to the Kindle in the same way.