At some point this afternoon I will become the proud owner of an Amazon Kindle eBook reader (special thanks to my colleagues at Verilab, btw!). For those of you who haven't been reading newspapers, blogs, web news sites, or who have generally been living under a rock for the last few months) the Kindle is an eBook reader with a built-in 3G wireless connection, allowing users to purchase and download books, blogs, magazines, and similar content directly from Amazon. It is also possible to transfer audio books to the device via your computer, and to email documents in HTML or MOBI format to the device directly for a small fee ($0.10/document).
As a consultant, I'm frequently away from the office: on-site at a client, on the plane, at a conference, etc. For that reason I'm usually without access to my library of technical books. I also usually try to pack lightly (really Jason, I've gotten much better in the last few years!) and try to minimize the amount of reading material I carry around with me. For that reason, I've (for all intents and purposes) replaced my library with an unlimited subscription to Safari Books Online. However, Safari has some drawbacks, most notably the absence of verification-related reading material. It also doesn't really allow offline viewing unless you're willing to shell out extra $$ for individual book chapters in PDF format. Additionally, I often find myself purchasing paperbacks or newspapers to read on the plane, adding that much more to what I need to carry around. Plus, the selection of books at the airport can sometimes be poor.
While not a panacea, I'm hoping the Kindle can help me out on a few fronts. First, and most obviously, I will no longer need to carry around reading material for long trips. The only issue will be when I'm overseas where the Kindle wireless access doesn't work (I believe it uses CDMA which is not available in Europe). I'll simply have to remember to buy stuff in advance and/or transfer things from my laptop to the Kindle while I've got an Internet connection.
Another benefit is that I may be able to convert some PDF reading material to a format viewable on the Kindle. I'm not holding my breath for this to work well though. I'd especially like to try copying things like the IEEE 1800 (SystemVerilog) specification to the Kindle. Since most vendor SV documentation stinks, the spec is still sometimes the best way to find the info I need. Also beneficial would be to somehow bring over docs for VCS, IUS, Questa, etc.
Finally, though I plan to primarily use my Tablet PC for this purpose, I suppose will be useful to have colleagues send me documents directly on the Kindle for review/further reading.
As with my Tablet, it will take some time to figure out the best usage model for the Kindle. Stay tuned - I'll be doing some heavy testing of both devices during my upcoming trip to DVCon and hope to share my experiences along the way.