Kindle E-Reader

I just wanted to follow up on my original post about e-readers versus tablets (here:

It has been a little under a month since my Kindle Touch 3G (above) arrived. And so far, so good. I am just wrapping up my first e-book and have enjoyed the experience so far.

A couple of great features…

When I read books, I often write down vocabulary I don’t know and electronically look them up at a later point. With the Kindle, I can directly access the dictionary, which is a great feature.

The size of the device is just about perfect. While I can see the size and weight a problem for some folks, for me it works really well. My hand gets no more exhausted holding this device than any 300-page paper-back book and it fits nice and snug into my back pocket (on most pants anyway). The cover does add some bulk, but I figure it is worth it for some layer of protection. And the light is critical. Whether I am reading in a dimly-lit bar, or in bed, the LED is critical for preventing eyestrain. I will say, though, that the bottom-right corner of pages is not as bright as other parts of the screen.

The experimental browser is also interesting, but I rarely use it. I was able to check my Gmail and browse Wikipedia, so that was nice, but not optimal. Wikipedia is available using the free 3G, so that was nice, at least for me, since I sometimes go to Wikipedia to read some background on current events.

Minor Design Flaws…

I have heard some complaints about the slow page turning of the Kindle Touch. Personally, I like just a little bit of lag. After all, when reading print books there is a lot of lag as we turn the page and refocus our eyes back to the top.

Additionally, I have heard complaints about the temperament of the touch interface. I definitely experienced this frustration early on. However, I was able to correct for this annoyance by adapting my behavior page-turn behavior. Now, I adopt a swipe motion.

The one thing I am very disappointed about is the incompatibility of the kindle with other e-books, including many books from Project Gutenberg . While I understand completely why Amazon does not play nice with third-party e-book formats, I wish they would. There may come a time when Google Books can compete with Amazon’s library, providing lower costs in the process. I just think it is only fair that all e-readers are capable of playing the popular epub format. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. So far I have noticed a few books marginally (5%) cheaper on Google than Amazon, which is kind of annoying.

If you read this and plan to get a Kindle, my recommendations are,

1) Get the subsidized version. The only time ads would appear are when the device is off. And, if you are like me, you have a cover so you’ll never see the ads anyway.

2) Unless you read a book a week and need access to the Kindle Store on demand, don’t bother with free 3G. In some respects, I was hoping for my reading pace to pick up, which it might after I finish a couple print books, so maybe my feelings on this will change.

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