"To Kindle or not to Kindle?" - that is not the question.  The question is: "Is Amazon's new Kindle (generation 2) the one to get?"

Some, including Leo Laporte, are predicting that the Kindle will do the same thing to hard copy media that the iPod did to music. That is, the Kindle may be a tremendous game changer when it comes to how we consume the written word.  The Kindle is indeed compelling.  It's not just another e-book reader - the Kindle does much more.  It comes with an embedded wireless connection to Sprint's wireless network (US Only), and you don't pay a thing to stay connected. You can then shop either on the device itself or on Amazon's site.  As you buy books and/or subscribe to newspapers and magazines, your content is sent wirelessly to your Kindle within minutes.  It's that easy. So, with the Kindle, you can carry around hundreds of your favorite publications in one nice, neat, small package. 

If you are an avid reader, I'd say the Kindle is a must.  The amount you save on book purchases alone will justify the Kindle's pricetag ($359).  For example, I recently went to a local bookstore to pick up a book on programming.  The price at the store: $44.99.  The price to buy the book on my Kindle: $26.99.  I bought the book on the Kindle.

Now, there are some tradeoffs.  For certain books, it's great to be able to flip paper pages back and forth quickly, for example.  But, overall, the Kindle seems to win out for me in many cases.  It is just so easy to buy the content, and the reading experience is really very good.

Now, when it comes to Kindle 1 vs. Kindle 2, existing Kindle owners have a question (new owners will have to go with the Kindle 2 unless you can get your hands on a used unit). For me personally, the original Kindle is quite good (not perfect), and while the Kindle 2 offers some enhancements, it may not be worth the full upgrade price.  It has a faster wireless connection.  It's buttons seem to be better placed (reducing accidental page flips), and Amazon claims better battery life.  Still, I am still very happy with the original Kindle.

The bottom line is: if you like to read books and newspapers, the  Kindle is probably a device you will want to pick up.  The convenience of being able to buy written content quickly and easily is huge.  And, you can carry so much with you at one time - much easier than carrying a stack of books.  Amazon certainly has a winner on its hands with the Kindle platform.

This post by Tony Pittman -