kindle review

I’ve had my Kindle for about a month, so here are some initial reactions.

  • The screen really is very comfortable to read, far more so than a computer screen for extended periods. It’s not great in dim light, such as some of the metro platforms — enough so that I bought a reading light that fits in the case with it.
  • It’s a great one-handed reading experience — far better than a book or newspaper for standing on the metro reading with one hand and holding onto the pole with the other.  I think Apple is just wrong is saying that buttons are bad.  (It doesn’t solve the problem of what to do when the train is so packed that there’s no room to read anything — podcasts are still the best solution for that.)
  • I still have a pile of unread books (the pulp and ink kind) next to my bed.
  • I’ve only bought a few books for it so far — but there are plenty of public domain books available through Feedbooks.  While the publishers think Amazon is selling books for way too little, most readers seem to think they’re charging too much for something with no physical production or distribution costs.
  • Traveling with it is terrific, as I read fast and get tired of hauling books around.  But it’s annoying to be told to turn it off for takeoff and landing.
  • I have been using it for a fair amount of work reading, rather than printing out stacks of paper to carry back and forth.  Almost always, this means sending a .pdf or .doc file to Amazon to convert.  They do a good job with text, and images come through fine, but tables are a mess.  While it can now read .pdf files directly, the text winds up very small, which I can’t tolerate for very long.    And there’s no zoom function.   When I know a document has tables that I’m going to need, I’ve been loading both the pdf and converted versions so I can flip between the two.  It’s pretty kludgy.
  • The most annoying part of using it for technical reading is that there’s no way to flip to the endnotes or references and back– I hadn’t been aware of how much I do that until I couldn’t do it.   It may be possible to do this with documents that have been “published” for the Kindle, as opposed to converted pdfs, but I don’t know of any research shop that is putting out ebook versions in addition to pdf.  (I’ll be interested in seeing tomorrow whether anyone quickly converts the budget documents into ebooks.)
  • I bought a case for it, although I’m not sure that one is really needed.

Update: The budget documents don’t appear to be posted as ebooks anywhere, but the Economic Report of the President is.  I approve.

3 Responses to “kindle review”

  1. Jody Says:

    I had just, after almost a year, started feeling unalloyed enthusiasm for my Kindle, and then the situation with Macmillan happened. It infuriated me. If Amazon is going to restrict access to ebooks by making the Kindle work only in a proprietary format, then they have an extra obligation to guarantee access to everything. iTunes can decline to sell a certain label’s artists because I can always load my iPod with MP3s from Amazon et al. If the only way to get Kindle books is via Amazon, then they can’t throw a hissy fit over pricing structures. If $14.99 is too much for a book, let ME decide.

    And don’t try to cloak the brinksmanship as a brave stand for customers. Amazon is worried that they can’t compete on platform, and wants the publishers to give them the edge on price. Personally I think they’re underselling the advantages of the Kindle (I am happy to have an ereader now, and I’m not sure when — if ever — I’ll want something like an iPad, especially if it doesn’ t have a stylus for writing or access to the usual word processing programs) but even if the iPad will kill the Kindle some day — and I can understand that argument, too — this wasn’t about guaranteeing the $9.99 price tag for consumers. It was about trying to protect their own business model. Phooey.

    I might have paid $14.99 to have Game Change in January, instead of $8.61 for delivery on February 23rd.

  2. Jody Says:

    You know what changed my mind about paying the price? The long waiting lines for new books at the library and my growing aversion to lots of books on the shelf.

    I still think the BEST model for the Kindle would be a Netflix type arrangement. There has to be a way to make that work financially.

  3. Jody Says:

    Oh, and one-handed reading made me laugh. I’m so juvenile.

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