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Virtual Book Sales Surpass Physical Books
The Journal of Commerce ^ | Dec 29 2009 | Thomas L Gallagher

Posted on 12/30/2009 8:42:01 AM PST by Milhous

Amazon's Kindle Reader cuts book shipping

Book sales in the United States surged during the holiday season, but in a dramatic shift for the shipping world, retailer Amazon.com said this week sales of e-books for the first time surpassed sales of physical books. 
 
Amazon’s peak in e-book sales occurred on Christmas day as gift recipients used their new Kindle reading devices to make purchases from among the 390,000 books available in Amazon’s Kindle Store.

The Kindle electronic reader, which allows users to download books and other media from a variety of sources, was “the most gifted item ever in our history,” said Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

Overall retail spending the first of November through Dec. 24 increased 3.6 percent compared with last year, according to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse survey, which tracks cash as well as credit purchases. The online portion of sales jumped 15.5 percent compared with last year to account for 10 percent of all retail sales, the survey said.

Another retailer industry watcher said online spending in the United States grew 10 percent in November over a year ago. The comScore research firm said online sales reached $12.3 billion in November, and the group said visits to the Web site of Wal-Mart grew 62 percent and visits to the Target site grew 43 percent over last year.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: amazondotcomkindle; digitalrevolution; ebooks; ereader; goodbyeaxmen; kindle; newmedia; paperfree; paperless; savetheforests; sony; sonyereader
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1 posted on 12/30/2009 8:42:03 AM PST by Milhous
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To: abb; RayChuang88

ping


2 posted on 12/30/2009 8:44:25 AM PST by Milhous (Confusion to our enemies.)
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To: Milhous

I have to hold a book and turn the pages.


3 posted on 12/30/2009 8:46:56 AM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Milhous
As a bibliophile let me be the first to wish Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos a special place in hell!

After making him millions he shoves it to the very industry that made him rich.

What do you say to the thousands who make their living printing, publishing, and selling hard copy books Jeff?

Let them eat cake?

4 posted on 12/30/2009 8:49:49 AM PST by Pietro
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To: Milhous

I’ll take dead-tree books any day of the week.

Black-on-white (not dark grey on light grey), no battery or charger, even the simplicity of having two books open on the table at once—and what about the hassle of my particular Kindle dying, or Amazon Inc. dying?

Then what?


5 posted on 12/30/2009 8:53:56 AM PST by Petronski (In Germany they came first for the Communists, And I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist...)
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To: Milhous
I found Atlas shrugged and 1984 online for free as both books on Cd and text versions.

BTW - my wife and I saw this on our way from Florida to South Carolina to visit our daughter and her family:

Ironically, we were listening to CD #3 of Atlas Shrugged at the time.

6 posted on 12/30/2009 8:55:07 AM PST by N. Theknow (Kennedys: Can't fly, can't ski, can't drive, can't skipper a boat, but they know what's best.)
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To: Milhous

FOR ONE DAY ONLY !!!!!

People who got ‘readers’ like Kindle for Christmas were plugging in and getting downloads.

How much of this means that the government will be able to tell who reads what in the future? If I want a book- I go to the book store and pay cash. No government official knows what I read, when, or why.


7 posted on 12/30/2009 8:58:48 AM PST by ridesthemiles
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To: Milhous
This is a very misleading headline. Who is surprised that virtual book sales surpassed physical book sales on Christmas Day? Christmas Day has to be one of the slowest book-buying days of the year. And when one factors in the fact that some people got Kindles as gifts (not nearly as many as Amazon would have liked, btw) and were anxious to stock them up, it actually makes sense that virtual sales would be higher than physical sales for that single day.

But as someone who is in the industry, I can tell you for a fact that on most days, virtual sales account for less than 10% of all sales. And people in the industry have been telling us for about 15 years now that the book is dead.

When you hear such rhetoric, think of Mark Twain's famous quote.
8 posted on 12/30/2009 9:01:24 AM PST by Antoninus (The RNC's dream ticket: Romney / Scozzafava 2012)
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To: Milhous

I was one of those “gifted” with a Kindle for Christmas. I like real books and did not think I would like the electronic format, but I now believe there is a place for both. I will still buy some books in hard cover — serious, meaningful books that I will probably read more than once and will lend to others (and sometimes get back). But I also like non-serious books — mysteries, thrillers, humor, social commentary. They were books I usually bought in paperback format, then lent out (usually hoping I wouldn’t get them back). Kindle is perfect for those. It is also perfect for traveling. It has its place in the world of books.


9 posted on 12/30/2009 9:03:24 AM PST by blau993 (Fight Gerbil Swarming)
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To: ridesthemiles

excellent strategy ... until cash is replaced with an electronic payment device and/or we are all chipped


10 posted on 12/30/2009 9:03:24 AM PST by RGirard ("If you read just one book this year ... " by An American Man)
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To: Pietro
What do you say to the thousands who make their living printing, publishing, and selling hard copy books Jeff?

What did they say to the scribners when movable type was introduced? Or, to the lithographers when copiers were made? Or, to the radio stars when videos were made?

I notice there isn't much call for buggy whips these days, either.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy books, and will read books until I can no longer read. I also enjoy the Kindle. Both will have a place in this world for a time to come.

11 posted on 12/30/2009 9:06:40 AM PST by IYAS9YAS (The townhalls were going great until the oPods showed up.)
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To: Red_Devil 232

Does the Kindle format allow one to print the book on paper in the home printer? ...


12 posted on 12/30/2009 9:07:38 AM PST by MHGinTN (Obots, believing they cannot be deceived, it is impossible to convince them when they are deceived.)
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To: RGirard; All

Do not accept the chip

Your future depends on it.


13 posted on 12/30/2009 9:07:39 AM PST by geologist (The only answer to the troubles of this life is Jesus. A decision we all must make.)
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To: Petronski
Your complaint sounds familiar somehow, old girl
14 posted on 12/30/2009 9:10:20 AM PST by MHGinTN (Obots, believing they cannot be deceived, it is impossible to convince them when they are deceived.)
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To: MHGinTN

No it doesnt. But, as a voracious reader I can tell you that the Kindle is wonderful. My purchases of books has remained about the same, and I still buy some real books. But, the virtual aspect of the books, the ability to download on the spur of the moment, and the ability to take my entire library with me on the road is just amazing. The ability to increase or decrease the type face is easily the best part of the kindle. I got the big one, and I love it.


15 posted on 12/30/2009 9:14:13 AM PST by Vermont Lt (I have lived here all my life, and now is the first time I am ashamed of my country)
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To: Milhous

bump


16 posted on 12/30/2009 9:19:42 AM PST by VOA
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To: Milhous

don’t flame me...
I have a Sony 505 eReader and I absolutely love it. The Sony library can link to the Google Public Domain library (500,000 free titles). I read lots of classics from there and buy my new releases from the Sony store. I just bought Sarah Palin’s new book for $9.99. Don’t expect to save a bunch of money on new releases, but for the convenience, it’s great. My Mom has a Kindle so we just swap eBook readers when we want to share books.

The Sony is different from the Kindle and Nook because there is no cell device to connect you to the bookstore. Sony can’t control your contents like the debacle with Amazon and “1984”. You manage the contents just like an iPod. The software looks like iTunes.

True, it is classic to pick up a physical book, but managing/donating piles of read books became a job. So I’m a convert. The device is effortless, service is seamless, and no more lugging books.


17 posted on 12/30/2009 9:19:42 AM PST by kdot
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To: Milhous

Don’t actually want a Kindle, but I like using ebooks, where I can search and annotate...most of my reading seems to be research oriented history reading. I have seven bookcases full of books, but quite a number also in digital format. There are days when I have to find places for new books that I wish the entire collection was digital...It sure would be a lot easier when it was time to move it around...


18 posted on 12/30/2009 9:22:01 AM PST by Knitting A Conundrum (Without the Constitution, there is no America!)
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To: MHGinTN

I have Kindle for PC (free download) and noted that it doesn’t have a command for print.


19 posted on 12/30/2009 9:26:01 AM PST by SonOfDarkSkies (Al Qaeda only hijacked commercial aircraft...Obama hijacked the White House!)
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To: kdot

Our granddaughter is a voracious reader, so we got her sony for Christmas. Tried to get her books on Christmas and the server had crashed, so we will get her some in a couple of weeks when she comes back. Glad to hear it is as good as we thought it was.


20 posted on 12/30/2009 9:26:45 AM PST by Grammy (Politics. .......( poli ) many ( tics ) blood suckers)
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To: Antoninus

I wonder when the price of a Kindle will be more like that of a printer...which they virtually give away..in order to sell you toner..


21 posted on 12/30/2009 9:27:14 AM PST by ken5050 (Save the Earth..It's the only planet with chocolate!!!)
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To: kdot


don’t flame me...
I have a Sony 505 eReader and I absolutely love it.

No flames here.

When finishing off my 200-plus page thesis...along with six copies
for my thesis committee and submission to the university library...
I asked my long-suffering advisor “Shouldn’t this be replaced with
digital formats in order to save the trees?”

She, as an old-school academician said in so many words
“This is the traditional method!”

And she was the campus professor in charge of the campus chapter of
The Sierra Club.

Believe it....OR NOT!!!


22 posted on 12/30/2009 9:27:47 AM PST by VOA
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To: IYAS9YAS
Ah yes; buggy whips!!! Surely you could have congered a less threadbare cliche.

Another art bites the dust, but hey, that's progress.

And in our rush to be even more insubstantial than we already are another touchstone is erased, thread by thread; the memory hole expands.

This is not progess my FRiend, but a loss of something precious, brought about by a betrayer.

23 posted on 12/30/2009 9:28:14 AM PST by Pietro
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To: Red_Devil 232
I prefer to hold a hardcopy also. But since downloaded books are so much cheaper ($9.00), I might buy hardcopy editions of only those I consider collectible.

BTW, I have Kindle for PC on both my PC and laptop (it is a free download) and read one (free) book. It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be.

24 posted on 12/30/2009 9:31:52 AM PST by SonOfDarkSkies (Al Qaeda only hijacked commercial aircraft...Obama hijacked the White House!)
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To: Pietro

The ministry of truth approves of teh e-book. Stroke of a key and the new history is in place.


25 posted on 12/30/2009 9:35:45 AM PST by listenhillary (I believe AGW is real now. It was caused by scientists and greenies LYING!)
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To: Pietro
What do you say to the thousands who make their living printing, publishing, and selling hard copy books Jeff?

I wouldn't trade my Kindle for a new pickup truck. It's an amazingly convenient device. I can now carry 60 reference books in my case in addition to a couple dozen more books on topics I am interested in.

I'm really sorry that offends you, but physical books take up an enormous amount of space.

When I moved from Georgia to Pennsylvania, I took all of my old reference books (DOS, Windows 3.1, C Language, et al) to a dump. There were 2400 pounds of them.

Additionally, there are a lot of struggling authors who are self-publishing on Amazon who give away their work. Some of them are rated really well. That author might actually have a chance to get published next time.

Embrace the future.

I know I had to when they started shipping jobs offshore to 'virtual' employees.

26 posted on 12/30/2009 9:42:46 AM PST by Glenn (iamtheresistance.org)
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To: Milhous

Well, people will do what they want to do. Personally, I have no interest in Kindle.

I do wonder whether Amazon is smart pushing Kindle as hard as they do. They have a real lock on buying things on the net—not only books but a lot of other stuff that is well priced. That business model has done very well for them.

Will they be able to guard their backs if the new ebooks really take off? Will they be able to keep the lion’s share of that business if Google or Microsoft step in and compete with them head to head? Frankly, I think this is very, very risky for them. Yet whenever you visit Amazon, the first thing that hits you in the face is Kindle, like it or not. They are really pushing it.


27 posted on 12/30/2009 9:42:54 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Pietro
What do you say to the thousands who make their living printing, publishing, and selling hard copy books Jeff?

The same thing you say to people who made 8 track tapes or CRT TV's. People are going to exercise their freedom to choose how they want to spend their money as new options become available.

28 posted on 12/30/2009 9:46:48 AM PST by Random Access
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To: Red_Devil 232
I have to hold a book and turn the pages.

I don't HAVE to, but I much prefer it. I bought a book from amazon on 12/26 for $11.48 + $3.99 S&H . Then, in a separate transaction offered only after completion of the order, I paid $3.19 to have it available to me online via the "amazon reader". It says you can make annotations and stuff in the offer, but when I brought it up these features were "not available at this time".

I read most of the book this way, then the hard copy came yesterday, 12/29. When I picked it up and flipped through it, I felt like I was really seeing it for the first time. It's like coming up for air, or something. The "amazon reader" is nothing more than a pdf viewer, really, so I suppose page flipping is much more convenient in Kindle, but I don't think you can beat a real book.


29 posted on 12/30/2009 9:51:14 AM PST by dr_lew
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To: Antoninus
The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated - Mark Twain
My sluggish brain initially mashuped Twain and Fields
I would rather be living in Philadelphia.
until I kick started the old neurons. LOL.
30 posted on 12/30/2009 9:52:39 AM PST by Milhous (Confusion to our enemies.)
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To: Red_Devil 232

I have to hold a book and turn the pages.**

Something so comforting about that, isn’t there? LOL

I, too, am ambivilent about the readers. I like the concept, and I read a lot of stuff on my computer, so I don’t know why exactly.

Habit? Turning into an old fogey? OTOH, it would sure clear up an awful lot of closet and attic space, considering I prob have more books than the local library! LOL


31 posted on 12/30/2009 9:54:00 AM PST by gardengirl
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To: Milhous

Various sources and administrators at a lot of schools including the one I’m at keep pushing us to move to e-books for our students wherever possible. When I looked into it I found little difference between the e-book and the physical text as far as price. The specialized texts are just as expensive regardless of format and one other consideration is that I couldn’t find “used” e-books so you pretty much pay full price everytime. I want the physical book where I can flip pages and compare page 122 to page 355 by simply flipping back and forth. The e-books will have to be a lot cheaper on Amazon to pull anyone with a brain away from the used paper versions.


32 posted on 12/30/2009 9:56:43 AM PST by RJS1950 (The democrats are the "enemies foreign and domestic" cited in the federal oath)
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To: gardengirl

Couple problems with kindle besides the aforementioned power issues.

1. Property rights. Kindle has in the past removed books due to unresolved copyright issues, not only from their store but from people’s downloads. I find that stance extremely intrusive.

2. The monitoring issue, again they can see what people are readiing. I have a problem with that.

3. The corruption issue. How can you be sure that the kindle book is accurate and that they haven’t made ‘changes’ to the book?

4. Resale and gifts. Can’t do either with the Kindle, which is why the price is lower.

I see the benefit in not having to lug books around, but this is called a ‘laptop’. Everything I needed for school was on here.


33 posted on 12/30/2009 10:03:17 AM PST by BenKenobi
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To: Glenn
"Embrace the future."

Guess I'm the Luddite here, but everyday some thing that is real and true is lost and I have no interest in being a "virtual' anything.

It trips us up, this "convenience". I guess I see this as a metaphore for our disappearing humanity, the coursening continues apace.

Its not the Kindle itself, per se, perhaps its the over-abundance, the too convenient that troubles me. Maybe somethings shouldn't be convenient, perhaps there's a value in difficulty. When everything is ready to hand why bother reaching out for anything?

We now have commercials on TV advising children to go outside and play. Let me repeat; We now have commercials on TV advising children to go outside and play.

Look outside.........

Where are the children?

34 posted on 12/30/2009 10:22:15 AM PST by Pietro
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To: Grammy

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/index.php

This is a really good forum for eBook readers. There are separate forums for each of the vendors. Plus, they have a nice collection of eBooks that people have uploaded and are available for free. Between this site and the Google domain, the majority of my books were free.

Have fun!


35 posted on 12/30/2009 10:22:15 AM PST by kdot
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To: All

I have downloaded the free app from Amazon to my iPhone, and my kindle sits collecting dust.

Reading on the iPhone is better for me. I can read in the dark at night, not disturbing my husband. I can read in the checkout line at the supermarket, while waiting the Docs, etc.

Hardcover books for “keepers”, and the iPhone for escapist reading. Love the change, and the ease of finding the exact “penny terrible” that catches my interest.

Read through the entire Stephanie Plum series, and am now working my way through the Jack Reacher series. We live in a rural area, and the nearest bookstore is over an hour away. eReader and Amazon are wonderful.


36 posted on 12/30/2009 10:36:41 AM PST by jacquej
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To: Pietro
Another art bites the dust, but hey, that's progress.

I'm sorry, I thought the art was in the story itself, not the medium. You could bind the latest version of the Healthcare bill or Cap and Trade in leather with - forgive me, I'm not a bibliophile, so I don't know the proper terms - fancy paper and gilded edges, and they would still not be art. I'm just as happy reading the classics in paperback as I am with them in leather bindings.

Paper from wood pulp is only the most current version of the medium on which the printed word is produced. Would you prefer we revert to hemp or animal skins?

37 posted on 12/30/2009 10:40:14 AM PST by IYAS9YAS (The townhalls were going great until the oPods showed up.)
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To: BenKenobi

I hear you loud and clear on all points. :) As much as I like to read, I have to wonder how long the batteries would last.

I write gardening articles for the local paper, and dabble with a lot of fiction/children’s stories. No matter how many times I read and re-read them on my puter, they don’t seem “real” until I get my hands on a print copy. LOL

BTW, have a MacBook Pro. I absolutely ADORE my Mac! Wasn’t sure I’d like a laptop at first, either, but mine will have to be pried out of my cold, dead hands. :)


38 posted on 12/30/2009 10:43:49 AM PST by gardengirl
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To: kdot

Couple more thing I love about eBook readers:
* can read outside in the sun
* not backlit so no eyestrain
* battery lasts a long time between charges
* uses regular book lights for night reading
* Kindle and Nook don’t require a computer which is great for some users
* made a nice retirement present for my brother
* bookmarks, multiple text sizes

but I’m not selling or trying to convince - just a happy customer.


39 posted on 12/30/2009 10:45:03 AM PST by kdot
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To: Red_Devil 232

I’ve heard some college textbook manufacturers making their products available for university use. Are these “e”books similarly priced to the paper versions? Can the “e” variety be resold as used books can be? How about for popular recreational titles?


40 posted on 12/30/2009 10:52:26 AM PST by Sgt_Schultze (A half-truth is a complete lie)
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To: IYAS9YAS
When I was a young man I mixed mortar and carried bricks and built scaffolding for a manic German named Norman who would proffer:

Mikey, Mikey, I buy you books and you tear out the pages........

41 posted on 12/30/2009 11:02:37 AM PST by Pietro
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To: kdot

Thanks. We will get her hooked up.


42 posted on 12/30/2009 11:02:42 AM PST by Grammy (Politics. .......( poli ) many ( tics ) blood suckers)
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To: jacquej

Stephanie Plum is great! Don’t you love series books? I hate getting to the end of a single issue story. It’s like a friend died. :(

Re: bookstores—does Wal-mart count? LOL


43 posted on 12/30/2009 11:04:14 AM PST by gardengirl
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To: jacquej

Can you tell me the name of the app.... or I can go search. Sounds like something I would love!


44 posted on 12/30/2009 11:05:39 AM PST by Grammy (Politics. .......( poli ) many ( tics ) blood suckers)
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To: Milhous

Just curious as to how much a Kindle goes for?


45 posted on 12/30/2009 11:05:50 AM PST by MadelineZapeezda (Promoted by God to be a mother!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...................Thanks, Susan!)
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To: MadelineZapeezda

$200 - $300, judging from the hits returned by searching for “Kindle” at amazon.com.


46 posted on 12/30/2009 11:21:28 AM PST by Milhous (Confusion to our enemies.)
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To: Milhous
The e-book trend will REALLY accelerate as Apple's much-rumored iSlate tablet computer arrives around April 2010. You know Apple has carefully studied the good readability of the Amazon Kindle and Sony e-book readers and came up with an improved LCD display that allows for long periods of reading comfortably.

Now that I have an 802.11b/g Wi-Fi "hotspot" running at my house, I am seriously considering getting the iSlate.

47 posted on 12/30/2009 11:24:30 AM PST by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's economic cure)
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To: Milhous

appreciate the info


48 posted on 12/30/2009 11:39:35 AM PST by MadelineZapeezda (Promoted by God to be a mother!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...................Thanks, Susan!)
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To: dr_lew

As much as I like my Kindle, I still have a problem fitting it into my favorite wintertime routine.

When I settle down in my chair by the fireplace in the evening with the fire going, my glass of Scotch in hand, and the dogs snoring away at my feet, it just feels downright weird having this little plastic thing in my hand instead of a big old book.


49 posted on 12/30/2009 12:19:01 PM PST by blau993 (Fight Gerbil Swarming)
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To: kdot
Absolute best e-reader.....the ASUS EEE PC T91MT Tablet Netbook.

Precisely the same size as a trade paperback. Load "Kindle for PC", FBReader, Microsoft Reader, and any other "reader" you want (as long as it has a version that runs under Windows, which virtually every "reader" does). Add Adobe Acrobat for .pdf and use Notepad for .txt, and you're set to read anything, anywhere.

Can plug in two separate SDHC cards (thus up to 64GB of removable storage). Runs Windows 7. Set it up to use the "Windows Classic" interface instead of "Aero", and it is plenty fast.

50 posted on 12/30/2009 12:25:32 PM PST by Wonder Warthog
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