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First Impressions of the Kindle 2

As I blogged about previously, I had decided to go ahead and pre-order the Kindle 2. It was slated for delivery on Thursday, February 26, but came a day early.I've had it in my hands now for two days and here are some of the things I've noted:

The Form Factor is Nice:

The form factor is small and handy. I found myself reading in bed and was able to easily hold on to the Kindle in one hand, even being able to navigate the pages fairly quickly.

The Text Is Crisp and Clear:

When I first saw the text, I was reminded me of the original Macintosh computers. My wife was quite amazed at how crisp and readable the text was. There is no glare. And you're not staring at a bright screen, like on a computer. It's very comfortable to read.

Ordering New Books Is Easy and Quick:

The first book I ended up ordering was A Hunger for God: Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer by John Piper. I wanted to see how quickly I was able to go through the order process. Searching was quick. Ordering was quicker. The one draw back we found is when you use the Kindle Store, you don't have a choice on how to sort. For instance, if you just navigate the categories, it sorts by Bestselling, even if that's not what you want.

There Is a Lot of Free and Inexpensive Content:

Because of the connection to Project Gutenberg, there is a lot of free content in the form of classics available. A lot of the classics are available inexpensively, too. For instance, I've never read The Count of Monte Cristo but I've always wanted to do so. If I go and buy the paperback in the bookstore it'll cost me $7-8. But I was able to get a Kindle version for less than $5. Also, I want to read The Three Musketeers, also by Dumas. That is available free of charge. So once I've read The Count of Monte Cristo, it'll be next on my classics list.

Pictures and Tables Aren't So Great:

While the images that are displayed by the Kindle 2 are great when it's in sleep mode, the images and tables for the two technical books I've purchased haven't been so great. Those books are:

When pictures or tables are zoomed in on, you must rotate your Kindle to view them properly, even if the image or table wasn't large enough to justify such. Also, thus far the images and tables have been a little faded and blurry, though still readable. For instance, there are tables that are composed of nothing but text. However, because they are in table format, when you zoom in, the crispness and darkness of the text is a bit lost.

Searching Is Awesome:

I'm a youth pastor as well as a SQL Server guy so having quick and easy access to a Bible is a must for me. You never know when you're going to get a phone call or a FaceBook chat or the like. I purchased the NASB translation of the Bible that was available through the Kindle Store because the sample was searchable. For instance, I taught a lesson Wednesday night on Ephesians 6:2-3 (Where Paul quotes from the Old Testament about honoring one's parents) and by searching on book and chapter, I could move around in the sample easily (though the sample was limited to the Old Testament). At first, when I downloaded it, I wasn't able to search, for it was indicating it didn't have the index yet. However, when I got up the next morning I tried it again and sure enough, it worked just fine. Jumping through text is quick and the search results return back enough around the searched for text to figure out if that's the right section. For instance, I just did a search for DBCC LOG on Kevvie's book and got back 23 hits. Some of the hits have DBCC and log separately, but I'm given enough context to see that.

eBook Quality Varies:

You can really tell what publishers thought about the medium and crafted their product accordingly. One of the books is obviously just a straight port from the print version. For instance, the font for the table of contents reflects what I would have seen in the print version of the book. That doesn't work so well in an eBook reader. Also, some of the spacing is badly off. I know it's not in the print book, which tells me it happened during the conversion process and wasn't cleaned up. Other books are nice. Everything is designed to fit well on the screen and to flow easily from one page to the next. I think as more and more books go to the Kindle and as publishers become more used to dealing with content for the Kindle, this should improve.


K. Brian Kelley - Databases, Infrastructure, and Security

IT Security, MySQL, Perl, SQL Server, and Windows technologies.


Posted by Steve Jones on 1 March 2009

Glad you got it and be interested to see what you think of "The Count". It was dry for me at the start, but it got better. Finished Ch 90 this am :)

Pictures/images are definitely an issue, and if I read things that required those, it would be a problem. Tech screen shots are bad, though I get by them since I typically can pull up the software if I need it.

Spacing is pretty good, but lately I've seen a few that didn't get reformatted well. Publishers definitely need a feedback channel to fix these as readers find them since so many are buried in the book.

Hope you enjoy it. Looking forward to comparing ours in person at some point.

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