Can someone please get to the ebook reader before Apple

Amazon's KindleI’m quite excited about the fact that Amazon has brought out a new ebook reader that it calls the Kindle. I haven’t seen one in the real world but I am assuming with the effort they’ve put behind it that the screen technology is what it claims to be – easy to read without straining your eyes.

I believe ebooks are the inevitable future. It’s just another step along the digital revolution. But – and what a but – have you seen the state of the “Kindle”? It looks like a prototype. A prototype designed by 18-year-old students back in the 1980s. Here is good technology and big demand with crappy design – i.e. the perfect opportunity for Apple.

The problem is that if Apple gets to it fast then the control-freak company will insist in tying in content providers into its new format, will do deals with big bookshops and newspapers and will screw up the huge leap that a quality ebook reader will provide society.

Amazon’s Kindle downloads content over wireless – which is terrific – another example of why wireless networks are changing the way we function as a society, It is too pricey at the moment – $399 – and the content is too expensive. But all that will change if this takes off. And that’s the big question – are people ready for an ebook reader? I would say yes. With better design. Mobile phones are too fiddly; laptops too over-spec’d and slow.

I also like Amazon’s system for people to upload books into its system. It looks easy and appears to work. I have the ebook rights to my book so when I get back from a Thanksgiving lunch I am going to in five minutes, I will try to upload my book and see what happens. I also have US rights to my book by the way. My publishers have let me down with that one. As soon as my workload lifts I will spend some time getting the book into the States and pushing it.

It will be a great day when I see my book being read on a well-designed non-Apple ebook reader. I just wonder how long that will be.