E-book readers: lousy gifts?

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Amazon is pushing its Kindle e-book reader as the ideal holiday gift this season. Is it?

Guest: Mike Elgan, Computerworld

9 Responses to “E-book readers: lousy gifts?”

  1. Steve Rusk says:

    The iPod podcast is not about the e-reader topic. It is labeled e-book but it is yesterdays gang topic.



  2. Steve Rusk says:

    The current podcast is not about ebooks it is about gangs that is a duplicate of the yesterday.

    Sorry if you got this twice your site seems a bit slow/nonreactive today.



  3. Philo Kramer says:


    Never miss your podcasts.

    Although titled “book readers: lousy gifts?” I received a repeat of yesterday’s podcast “gang…”

    You ask very pointed questions. It’s rare that tech is covered with serious journalism.


  4. Don says:

    You have got to stop finding people to trash talk e-readers. While I agree that we are in the process of changing how people read, the current technology is by far superior to any prior attempts. I am a proud owner and user of a Kindle DX. Let me share my experience and thoughts of the alternatives.

    Let’s start with using the PC. My first work PC was an IBM with two 5.25 inch floppy drives and no hard drive attached to green screen monitor. It was fatiguing to read short documents in the word processor. As PCs improved so did the experience. However, it is still fatiguing to read for long periods of time. Additionally, the PC requires the reader to assume specific positions. Even with my netbook, I cannot read comfortably in bed.

    Mobile devices do allow for more natural positions for reading. However, they are not greatest. I tried e-readers on my Palm IIIx, Palm V, and finally on my Palm Tungsten T3. All were very dissatisfying; I did not complete a single novel using those devices. I have seen the Kindle reader for iPhone/iPod Touch. While the fonts are much better than my previous attempts, I doubt that I would finish a novel using it.

    My Kindle DX is perfect for both my professional and personal life. I have it loaded with tech manuals that I need as occasional reference. I recently took a course at a local university and the text was available on the Kindle; no back strain for me. I can read for long stretches without experiencing the same fatigue. I have completed a number of books solely read on the Kindle.

    Will there be something better in the future? Will Apple’s entry into the space change things? Yes and yes. However, that is no excuse to not adopt the current technology. Technology is constantly changing and evolving. It is better to be active in the progress rather than to wake as a Technology Rip Van Winkle.

  5. Bob Kunze says:

    Ebook reader podcast is actually dup of twitter / gang podcast.

    No need to post this, just re post the correct file.

    Thanks for the interesting podcasts.

  6. Jon Gordon says:

    Sorry for the audio mishap. Should be fixed now…


  7. Adam Shields says:

    Seems like a complaint that would be applied equally to almost any electronic device. There are always new technologies coming out. Many people like to choose their own tech. Not sure the point of those issues.

    I am so tired of tech columnists complaining that ebook readers only do one thing well. If I only want something to do one thing really well then why would I want something that does several things less well. I kept a pda for a few years after smart phones started appearing because early smart phones were less combined than having two devices. I have since had smart phones. But people who want something to to do really well will be attracted to the single use device. How many professional photographers do you know that rely primarily on their iphone? Early ebook adopters are people who really like reading. I read at least 60 to 80 books a year. I read Anna Karenina on a palm IIIxe. So I understand reading on a bad screen. I put up with it. But now that I have had a good screen I will not go back except for occasional use.

  8. Don says:

    Check out this alternate view: 7 Reasons Why eReaders Make Great Gifts This Year by Lance Ulanoff

  9. Tom Westheimer says:

    I was about to get a Kindle for my wife until a friend showed me how they use the Ipod Touch (BTW I personally dislike Apple and especially Itunes 🙂 but the Touch for reading works very well. One of the best aspects is the back lighting and the ability to use other readers, watch videos, use it as a VOIP phone, listen to Future Tense etc

    It is very readable and at night when reading in bed is far better than the Kindle.

    One very negative thing about the Kindle is the inability to share/loan books with family and friends which I believe B&N is addressing.