Rand McNally Releases Atlases for Kindle, Has Odd Vision for the Future of Maps

Rand McNally can't be happy with everyone dropping their bulky atlases for GPS units and nav-enabled phones, so they're fighting back. But they seem a little confused.

The company is releasing a series of atlases for the Kindle, which will be purchased, delivered and consumed like any other ebook on the platform. The first maps, for Northern California, Southern California, and Washington, will be available for $1.99 each, and like the Rand atlases of your childhood, will probably be exhaustive.

There's nothing expressly wrong with the concept, and the price could well be worth the utility, but the fact remains that putting static map collections on an ebook reader only accentuates how outmoded they are, and how artificially limited the powerful Kindle is. Regardless, the Kindle's search function and the carefully indexed maps will provide a workable map solution for that small Kindle-equipped, Google Maps-forswearing slice of the population. [eCoustics]