Is the Amazon Kindle going to be a monthly fee nightmare?

Summary:The internet is all a buzz about the Amazon Kindle that was just officially announced. The Amazon Kindle product page is live and you can place your order now for this US$399 ebook reader. As I scrolled down through the product page I couldn't help but start adding up how high the monthly fees for this thing could possibly be. There are monthly subscriptions for newspapers from US$9.99 to US$14.99, magazines at US$1.99 and US$2.99, blogs (yes free blogs) for US$0.99 each per month, and Word document and photo email attachment support for US$0.10 each. I think the device hardware is a bit steep to start with, but you could easily be paying a monthly subscription cost that dwarfs the hardware cost over a rather short period of time.

Is the Amazon Kindle going to be a monthly fee nightmare?
The internet is all a buzz about the Amazon Kindle that was just officially announced. The Amazon Kindle product page is live and you can place your order now for this US$399 ebook reader. As I scrolled down through the product page I couldn't help but start adding up how high the monthly fees for this thing could possibly be. There are monthly subscriptions for newspapers from US$9.99 to US$14.99, magazines at US$1.99 and US$2.99, blogs (yes free blogs) for US$0.99 each per month, and Word document and photo email attachment support for US$0.10 each. I think the device hardware is a bit steep to start with, but you could easily be paying a monthly subscription cost that dwarfs the hardware cost over a rather short period of time.

I actually had the chance to play with a Kindle a couple of months ago and as an avid ebook reader I liked what I saw for the most part. However, I most likely won't be buying one for myself since I can read ebooks on my S60 and Windows Mobile devices with Mobipocket and a good backlight for bedtime reading, surf the internet via WiFi or cellular data connection, send and receive emails and attachments at no cost, subscribe to and read hundreds of blogs for free, add unlimited external storage for storing as many books and files as I like, and so much more. Granted, the Amazon Kindle has a long battery life and a great viewable display for well-lit conditions. While Sprint's EV-DO network is very fast, I think this wireless technology may limit sales a bit because there are still lots of people in geographic locations around the U.S. who can't access this network. Maybe WiFi would have been better with support for T-Mobile or Boingo so people could download books at the airport or local Starbucks.

UPDATE: People have made some good comments on this post and I read some great thoughts from Marc Orchant over at blognation USA that then prompted me to go order one for myself. Unfortunately, Amazon ran out of stock (no one knows how many were actually in stock) within 5.5 hours so I would have to wait until past 29 November to get one. I figured if I do get one I'll just use it for ebooks and not try to make it an all-in-one device (yes, this is difficult for us super mobile geeks as we try to reduce the number of devices we carry). That way, I won't have any monthly fees and the Kindle WILL NOT be a nightmare for standard ebook reading. Actually, it could be an ebook dream with reasonably priced books and a nice viewing experience.

I have a trip to Amsterdam in a week and should have ordered one right away to take on this long 10 hour flight. I'll have to load up the HTC Advantage with some books (also downloadable wirelessly from FictionWise) for the trip and may still pick up a Kindle for my Christmas present.

Topics: Browser, Amazon, Hardware, Mobility

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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