The long awaited Amazon e-reader went on sale last week on Nov 19th. 5 days later all inventory was completely sold out. I read many of the reviews of the device on the Amazon site, but many of those doing the reviewing clearly had not seen the device -- they were complaining about features not being there that were. Thus we learn one of the challenges with wiki-like social systems -- not everyone contributing content is qualified to do so. Back to the main line of discussion though -- the Amazon Kindle sold out in just 5 days and is not due to be back in stock until Dec 3 -- about 7 days from now. Guess that makes the Kindle the "must have" device of the season.
Among the plusses of the kindle -- many reviews have noted that it is very easy to use. This may mean that we are getting close to a viable e-reader. The EVDO network (wireless-like networking capability) is a big plus, as is the ability to easily expand memory with chips. It's also possible to subscribe to major newspapers -- Times, Washington Post, etc. -- which is a nice feature.
Negative views of the kindle were most often linked to price -- but $400 seems comparable to me, and includes the cost of the EVDO network. There have been complaints about the charges for "free content" dowloading -- used to defray the network transmission costs. However, my understanding is that these can be bypassed by connecting the device to a laptop (I know, I know, kind of defeats the purpose). People have also complained about the fees to access blogs ($2/mo) and newspapers ($15/mo). We will see how this plays out. Technology costs are always dropping, so the costs may go down in time. In a first offering of a product like this you would probably expect prices to be a bit high at first .
Even with the high price, the device sold out in five days -- clearly exceeding Amazon's expectations for sales of the device. Perhaps the day of the e-reader and e-reading has arrived? Or maybe it will take the next device to enter the market. Rumor has it Apple is going to release something in 2008. Who knows...