Robert: I think more than the open source crowd will care about openness, at least in the sense of data formats. iPod was successful not because of iTMS, but because it was cheap and easy to rip all your existing music into your new iPod. Once you bought the iPod, the initial load of content (which is what provides the actual value, after all) was ~ free. Here, no such luck- not only would it be difficult and time-consuming to rip your ‘to be read’ shelf, without pdf support, have fun getting it onto the device. That is a critical and huge distinction for virtually all customers, not just openness bigots.
That said, it may well have enough extra value that it will be successful anyway. It will be interesting to see, at any rate- like Robert, I’d really love to have this instead of my typical pile of magazines, books, or textbooks next time I’m in an airport.
[And ditto on the ugly. Does no one at Amazon own an ipod? At least they seem to have an innovative and interesting solution to page flipping. I look forward to Mr. Love’s review of that piece of physical UI.]
[Edit later: The Amazon page for the product does not mention pdf (does mention .doc and graphics formats) but this engadget article does say the magic word- pdf. If it is confirmed to support pdf, I may well have one delivered ASAP.]
[Addenda: Mark Pilgrim points out in comments that there is apparently pdf support, but that the conversion will be poor. He also notes that this is a physical device- with a terms of service. Welcome to the brave new world, where everyone is a contract expert!]