My primary Christmas present is an Amazon Kindle e-book reader, and I love it. In fact, my Kindle and I are pretty much inseparable these days.
Those of you who know me, know I’m an avid e-book reader, and some of you may wonder why. I like the portability of the reader. Instead of an armload of books, I can carry my Kindle, which currently has 40+ books on it, plus assorted personal files, magazine issues, blogs and MP3 files. And 30% of the memory is still unused.
E-books help to unclutter your life: Since the books are stored on the hard drive of your computer until youâ€™re ready to read them, storage is less of a problem than with print books.
With my aging eyes, I also like the fact that you can change the font size on an e-book reader. No more squinting to read the small print.
I’ve been an avid e-book reader for some years now. I’ve read e-books on my laptop, my RCA Germstar 1100, a PDA and a Pocket PC. I’ve enjoyed most of my readers (with the notable exception of the now-defunct Franklin eBookman), but the Kindle is rapidly becoming my favorite.
I’m amazed at how lightweight it is, much less than the comparably-sized RCA Gemstar 1100. The wireless is fast, unbelievably fast, so it’s really easy to buy from the Kindle store or download updates to magazine or blog subscription. I like being able to download a sample to read before deciding to buy a book, too. That’s a very nice feature. If you leave the wireless off most of the time, the battery life is excellent, and the device charges back up very quickly.
I thought I might miss the backlighting, and at times I do, but it’s also nice to be able to read in sunlight, particularly when traveling in the car. (Not when I’m driving, of course!)
I’m glad I waited for the Kindle instead of buying the Sony Reader because, for me, the Kindle is more useful and versatile. I already had a lot of books in unprotected Mobipocket format which can be read on the Kindle without any conversion. It’s easy to transfer files from your computer to the device using the USB cable.
The only real frustration I’ve had with it so far is that, while it will play MP3 music, it won’t play my MP3 podcasts. I can’t understand what the difference is beyond the fact that the podcasts in question are so much longer, about 45 minutes. They’re all MP3 files, so what the hey? Oh, well.
A common complaint of the Kindle is that it’s easy to hit the next page or previous page buttons by accident, but I figure once I get used to the device, that won’t happen so much any more.
Is this the “killer device” the e-book community has been waiting for?
Probably not, but the wireless connectivity alone makes it a huge step forward. The real problem remains the lack plethora of formats, so that’s a software problem that can’t be solved by new hardware. Chances for real standardization range from a best case scenario of years to a worst case scenario of never.
The only other downside is the $399.00 list price and the fact that the device is only available in the US. The price may eventually come down, but probably not anytime soon, since the Kindle has been “temporarily out of stock” almost since it was released. I ordered mine at the end of November and had to wait about two weeks to get. It may take even longer now. The fact that demand appears to be steady is a good sign for the future of the Kindle and e-books. 😀
If anyone has any questions about the Kindle, I’ll try to answer them.
Sorry, I thought I answered this once, but my answer seems to have disappeared.
>Do you think the Kindle is suitable for a fast reader? Or do you think she’d have to constantly press the button and get annoyed?<
This is something you’d have to judge for yourself. I’m not a super fast reader, but it did take me a little while to get used to the relatively slow page change that comess with the e-ink. Pages turn faster with a backlit device like a PDA or the eBookwise 1150. If you can get into a Borders and take a look at the Sony Reader, you’ll get a good idea of how quickly the Kindle pages change.
>Can one hold the Kindle with one hand and eat with the other hand, as with conventional books?<
Yes, though I’ve found it easier to lay it flat on a table or tray. The eBookwise really works well one-handed, but it’s a bit bigger and easier to grip with one hand.
>Can one take a bath with it, or should it be kept away from water?<
Pesonally, I don’t think this is a good idea with any electronic device, but if you really want to do it, put the device in a plastic bag and seal it up good.
>Does the “download a book” feature work as simply and quickly as Amazon claims?<
Yes, it’s wonderful. 🙂
Linda / Lyndi Lamont
on January 23, 2008
I was glad to read your report because I’ve been so curious about what the Kindle is like.
Do you think the Kindle is suitable for a fast reader? Or do you think she’d have to constantly press the button and get annoyed?
Can one hold the Kindle with one hand and eat with the other hand, as with conventional books?
Can one take a bath with it, or should it be kept away from water?
Does the “download a book” feature work as simply and quickly as Amazon claims?