Today is the one-year anniversary of Shirley giving me a Kindle as an early birthday present, as I was planning for a business trip to Brazil. I loved it then, and I love it even more now.
A lot of my initial reactions have held up; the screen is wonderful, the buttons and keyboard are fine (although the buttons on the side are too large), the cover is nice. I still like the user interface.
But I've learned a few things over time which make me like it even more. First there's the "instant gratification" factor, you can buy any book you've heard about *now*. The iPod has this (for music), and AppleTV (for video), and the iPhone (for apps); it seems to be an important component of a good user experience. Second there's the capability to change the font size; this is huge for me, it means I don't have to carry reading glasses into dark restaurants :) And third I love the ability to lookup the definition of any word at any time, and to search for anything in any book. Overall the device just works; it is an eminently suitable replacement for books.
I find it amazing that in one year it has become so accepted that it isn't even a novelty; when I first had it all sorts of people would comment on it, now, nobody does, everyone has seen one. Airplane flight attendants know what it is and don't ask you to turn it off. Etc. In a conversation over dinner last night, three out of four friends had one. We literally had a conversation that while we have houses filled with books, our kids are not even going to have bookcases. It is like our parents had racks of records, but we don't, at least not anymore :) Remember having tons of VHS tapes? And tons of cassettes? And tons of CDs? And tons of DVDs? All unnecessary, all old technology. Digital information does not need to be stored on physical media anymore, and at some level, books are just digital information.
Anyway I'm delighted with my Kindle, it was an inspired present, and I can't wait to see what the future of eBooks will look like... (oh yeah, I do still an original iPod...)