Simple, but can he get it right?

When a long time ago I started digitizing my music, I was looking for a way to get it organized, carry it with me whenever I went and play what I wanted at the smallest whim.  Then along came the iPod, and I discovered another objective which turns out to be the killer one: random play – my own private radio made up of music I like.

As the faithful readers know, I have already figured a similar solution for my thousands of photos, and I am getting closer to a workable solution for my 750+ movie collection.

So far, I hadn’t thought about my 3000+ books, mostly because early ebooks readers were downright fugly, but now read this Newsweek interview with Jeff Bezos of Amazon.

I haven’t seen the product (nobody has, it’s not on sale yet), so we have to take Jeff’s word for a number of design objectives which he nails right on the head IMHO, but I’d certainly like to see how good is the actual implementation. This is what I would look for to consider it:

  • light – as in “light like a paperback” – enough to hold with a single hand
  • small – as in “small like a paperback” – enough to slip in a coat’s pocket
  • decent screen – I want to read about 2,500 11-point characters before I need to turn a page, but I’d also love resizable text because I’m not getting any younger
  • readable in full light
  • instant on
  • a search function, both at book and bookshelf level
  • enough storage to carry a decent stock of books (at about 1 MB apiece, a 16GB solid state device should carry 10,000+ books)
  • a screen protector that doesn’t get in the way when you’re reading and which you cannot lose
  • decent battery life, like a couple of day’s worth, and please allow for USB charging (oh, and automatic turning itself off after XX mins of inactivity
  • a smart solution to buy books (I expect a tight integrated package like the iPod + iTunes combo); off the air would be fantastic for those long hours in airport lounges
  • no DRM crap
  • no Windows

There’s going to be plenty of printed word talibans who are going to hate it even without trying it – Scoble has a small collection on his blog; and to be honest even I don’t know how I feel about it.

It would need to come in a sexy (like in Apple-sexy – unlike this hopefully early mockup) package, and then I’d love to give it a try.


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