The big Kindle news in the last month or so has been Amazon's announcement that they now sell more Kindle books than printed books (and that doesn't include free stuff). Their details are a bit sketchy and my Internet Press Guild colleague Sharon Fisher thinks Amazon's may be playing a little fast and loose with the math, but even so, the Kindle format is clearly a winner.
I just bought a new house and normally, when I move, I move about 19,000 pounds of books with me. But over the last year or so, my wife and I have been reading books almost exclusively in Kindle format (or PDF, on the iPad). She reads on her Kindle 3. I bought an earlier Kindle 2 and hated it so much I returned it. I actually quite enjoy reading Kindle books on my iPhone (yes, I found a good use for an iPhone).
Although screen size (and the difference between backlit and gray-on-gray) are the main reading differences between the Kindle device and the iPhone (along with other Kindle readers), another difference is that the Kindle device will read most books to you, via audio, if you so desire.
Yes, there are some narrow-minded publishers who miss the obvious benefits of letting people consume their content in any form once they pay for it, but other than a small percentage of these dinosaurs, most publishers allow their books to be read by the Kindle's nearly adequate software.
See also: Five lessons Apple can learn from Amazon
Text to speech is not perfect in any implementation, and the Kindle's, while decent, isn't perfect. Even so, listening to a Kindle book while doing housework, moving and packing boxes, running GigE wires in the attic, and even driving can be a pleasant and productive experience.
The only problem is that the Kindle is a big device. It doesn't easily attach to a belt or sit in a shirt pocket. It's really meant to be seen and not heard.
This is where Amazon needs to produce a Kindle Nano. This device would be designed primarily for audio consumption of Kindle material. After all, given that the Kindle has Whispersync, you could start reading your book on your iPhone, continue for a while in audio mode only on your Kindle Nano, and then read your Kindle by the pool over the weekend.
Amazon is already perfectly suited for this. They own Audible, which provides a popular audio book program for consumers. Audible is another favorite of my wife, and she listens to novel after novel on it.
So the obvious question is this: if she can read King of Thrones on her Kindle, why can't she have a pocket-size Kindle Nano, and keep "reading it" audibly during the times she needs to keep her hands free for other activities? Denise tells me that if Amazon makes an audio-only Kindle, it needs a better audio pause and a replay-the-last-30-seconds button.
Why can't we all have a Kindle Nano?
Jeff, buddy, I know you're out there. Give us our Kindle Nano. Don't worry, we'll buy it. You know we will.
Oh, and this time I'm not moving as many books. After all, I have an entire library in Amazon's cloud.
Yes, I know Nano is the Apple name. But it does paint an interesting picture, doesn't it? What do you think? Would you "read" your Kindle books on an audio-only Kindle? TalkBack below.