15 hottest products of 2008: The Amazon Kindle

I'm ambivalent about the Amazon Kindle, but 250,000 people have thought highly enough of it to buy one in the last year. It was released to the public in November 2007.

The Kindle -- which is a wireless, portable reading device weighing 10.3 ounces, only available at Amazon.com -- isn't the stuff that rash, impulse buys are made of. It costs $359. Considering you can buy most books for $10 or $20, give or take a few bucks, or get one at the library for free, it's something that you're probably only going to buy after some pondering.

But the thinking behind why one would buy a Kindle is that then you can pay for books for a much cheaper price. For instance, Stephen King's short story anthology, Just After Sunset, sells in the Kindle format for $9.99 instead of $28 retail (or $16.60 at Amazon.com). Or take a book like Time of My Life: A Novel, by up and coming novelist Allison Winn Scotch, which sells $23 retail and for $9.99 on Kindle. Or... well, you can see the trend already. Amazon.com sells books on Kindle for $9.99.