Source: WikipediaFor me, the Amazon Kindle has turned out to be the first useful eBook. I say this having used mine for a few months now. Yes, it has some drawbacks in its current packaging, mainly large navigational paddles that take some time to accommodate. But there are breakthroughs aplenty. It’s those breakthroughs that have me jonesing. And I’m not alone.

First of all, let me admit that the first time I saw an iPod, I responded with disdain, mainly unimpressed with the packaging. The flimsy plastic spinning wheel, the buttons, the odd size – it just didn’t work for me. What a fool I was. As they say, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

So here comes the Kindle, with similar first-version ergonomic failings but some killer applications:

  1. First, it is wirelessly connected all the time, and it’s fast! You can buy a book in seconds, and have it seconds later. In the morning, a newspaper and a political blog greet me over breakfast. I’ve never docked the thing. You should never need to. And it’s cellular wireless, so it works on trains, in cars, and in airports without a fee.
  2. Second, it is wirelessly connected all the time. This is such a great feature, it deserves another mention. What device in the future won’t be?
  3. Blogs are available on it. You subscribe to writers. You subscribe to authors. They get paid. That’s great!
  4. Books, blogs, and newspapers are easy to read on it.
  5. It’s small, and conceals my sick reading habits. As someone who has the annoying habit of keeping 3-5 books running simultaneously, now I can do that surreptitiously. I can have 4 books, two blogs (used to call them newspapers), and a magazine with me, and it looks like a little diary is all I’m carrying. My nightstand is eerily empty, but my habits haven’t changed, and I am still sifting through multiple books at a time.
  6. It’s a platform, and it does both visual and audio books. With Amazon‘s pending acquisition of, it seems like they’re pulling it all together.
  7. It’s near and dear to Jeff Bezos‘ heart. Like the iPod, which Steve Jobs felt passionate about, something that has the backing of the CEO and a vision like this will be funded and pursued through the bumps in the road.

For STM journal publishers, the Kindle fits because it supports off-cycle publishing or continuous publishing. For STM book publishers, the Kindle fits because it opens opportunities – for shorter books, for serialized books, and for monographs. For STM bloggers, the Kindle fits because it supports any publishing schedule and the monetization of blogs.

So, call me a Kindle junkie. I didn’t think I’d like it when I got it. I have a tainted history with these eBook devices. But the Kindle works. It saves me time, money, and space. It makes me read more, and I know more faster. I really like it.

But I can’t wait for Version 2 . . .

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.