I completely disagree with the fawning comments that this is good commentary. This is the same-old same-old tech-geek-writes-about-kindle-when-who-knows-when-he-last-read-a-book. Right down to the reading a physical book is very satisfying piece of nonsense. He thinks:
"The most revolutionary thing about the product is the ability to wirelessly get almost any book and many newspaper and other subscriptions in a matter of seconds."
That may or may not be revolutionary; it certainly _is not true_ and that's my biggest complaint about the kindle -- the sheer inadequacy of what is available for it, particularly on day-of-release (there's an unpredictable lag time for nearly everything I want to buy on the kindle and as a person with Prime shipping, it makes me cranky).
I do agree that the textbook route is a great way to go, and have been hoping Bezos would do this if only to save the backs of our children from total destruction. I'm not so much worried about the college "kids" (who are mostly legal adults anyway); I'm worried about the tweeners and teens laden down with backpacks that weigh 20-50% what they do. Evil.
You can really tell this guy is not the target audience for the kindle.
"I don’t see Kindles around in the real world, and I’ve never heard anyone express the desire to own one"
LibraryThings users are buying these suckers at good clip. At least one of the smart bitches has one. I have one. M. in my book group bought one. L. in my book group is lusting after one. And only about 7-8 people _show up_ to that book group reliably.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, and writers like this will keep failing to hear it. Books are NOT like music. The universe of CDs is comparatively small (even with the ramping up of the small/one-off labels). The universe of books is massive by comparison -- a few orders of magnitude bigger. While most CDs are sold to a small fraction of the total number of people who buy CDs in the course of a year, the difference is way more dramatic with books -- a tiny fraction of the people-who-buy-at-least-one-book-a-year buy (and read) the vast majority of books bought in the course of a year. The kindle is aimed squarely at that population. IMO. I haven't worked for Amazon in almost 10 years so I have no inside track any more.
The interesting difference is that several months ago, people like this author were openly mocking the kindle and predicting its imminent demise. Not so much any more.