My family gave me a Kindle for my birthday, and while I haven’t used it too much, it is starting to become a device I use more and more.

The big problem for me is the cost of digital books. I have a huge library. I’ve spent lots of money on books over the years. Mostly tech books. These books were expensive to buy for stacks of paper, roughly $30 a piece (some more, some less). The problem is that I don’t get a digital copy of the material when I purchase the book, so if I want to read the same book on my kindle I have to buy it again (usually spending another $30).

My largest gripe at the moment is that some tech books cost more digitally then they do for physical copies mailed to my house. Here’s an example:

Other than demand setting price, I see no reason for this. How can a book cost more than $3 dollars more for the digital copy? The costs are so much cheaper with digital copy.

Physical Cost Digital Cost
Paper Formatting
Printing Network Bandwidth

The digital costs aren’t completely invisible, but they seem to far undercut the physical costs. It makes no sense to me why the kindle edition would cost more.

My other major concern with the kindle is that I could not find any easy way to read the web content I wanted to read on my device. That was until I found the Instapaper App. Converting HTML to mobi is not the easiest thing in the world, and the kindle at the moment has a very interesting way of reading web content. Saving a link with Instapaper and transferring it to the kindle makes it incredibly readable. Problem solved.

I think the kindle has been quite successful for Amazon, and I think it is useful. I think it would be better if there was a better way to get started. Apple does this well with their products and I think Amazon is just a step behind. The Kindle has a ton of potential, but it is just shy of that stickiness factor that products like the iPad have.