I've had a couple of people point out to me that Probability and Computing: Randomized Algorithms and Probabilistic Analysis (my book) is now available on Kindle. I looked around and saw that several other standard texts are now available that way as well: Algorithm Design, Algorithms, Approximation Algorithms, Computational Complexity: A Modern Approach, and Introduction to the Theory of Computation. (Even the omnibus The Princeton Companion to Mathematics is available on Kindle.) Strangely, several other texts apparently aren't: Introduction to Algorithms, Third Edition, Randomized Algorithms, Algorithmic Game Theory, and Concentration of Measure for the Analysis of Randomized Algorithms. While I can understand that older texts might not be easily moved to a Kindle format, the Concentration of Measure book is new, so I'm not sure what it is that is separating Kindle-ized books from unKindled peers. Anyone out there have any insights?
I suppose I'll see in my next book sales statement if any Kindle copies were sold. In general, the Kindle version seem to go for just a few dollars less; Algorithm Design is a big exception, with the Kindle edition going for over $25. less than the hardback counterpart. Sometimes, it looks like you can buy new copies of the book less than the Kindle price (usually from Amazon third party dealers). I don't own a Kindle (yet), and I wonder how they would be for textbooks. The textbooks I've listed above I'm happy to have on my shelves for reference. I suppose if I had them in a universal, pdf-like format that I could access and make use of essentially anywhere, I'd be happy with that too. Particularly if I had capabilities like search available. But I wouldn't want my copies of the book tied to a particular piece of hardware. If I lose my Kindle, do I lose my books? That's fine for disposable books -- and probably for many students many textbooks fall into that category. (Use them for a semester, then forget about them.) It wouldn't be fine for me for these books.
Can anyone comment on the Kindle textbook experience? I'm interested generally, and in the particular issue of the "permanence" of books that might be references one wants to keep. Someday soon, I'll be getting one of these (or another e-reader), and it would be useful to know whether it's currently worth moving to a system where I try to keep important texts in an electronic, rather than paper, format.