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April 14, 2009

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Jim Milles

I'm sold on the Kindle too. I bought the first version of the Sony eReader, but gave up on it after a couple of weeks. The selection of titles was poor, there was no native sync software for Mac OS, and screen refresh was too slow. The Kindle store has an excellent and growing selection of titles, and wireless downloading of content is a delight.

PDF works fine on the Kindle, but for law journal articles, I prefer to download them from Westlaw in Word format and mail them to my Kindle. Westlaw's Word conversion preserves the footnotes as hypertext links, and it's remarkably easy to click back and forth between text and footnote. I mail them from Westlaw to myself first, rather than directly to the Kindle, so that I can change the filenames from the WL Document number to something more useful--author's last name and a short title.

Color displays would be nice, but I imagine it will be a couple of years before the technology is cheap enough to be within reach. $359 for the Kindle 2 is high enough; I wouldn't be willing to pay more than that for color. I also imagine color will drain the battery quickly, and video even more so. If you turn off the wireless on the Kindle 2 when you're not using it, you can run it for a week or two of reading without charging it.

The biggest obstacle, I think, is DRM. You can't borrow a book on the Kindle, nor can you lend a copy to a friend. Fortunately, DRM has pretty much gone away in music since Apple and Amazon saw the light; I believe it's only a matter of time before the same will have to happen with ebooks as well.

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