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Kindle - The Two Week Followup

It's been two weeks since I got the Kindle. Actually it will be two weeks in a few hours. I've divided this post into two sections: Feelings and Recommendations. The first is what I think of it, the second what I think for other people. Feelings I've read (to date)


I like the Kindle. I have to say that the feeling of  holding a book is something that I miss, and I noticed it, but I think every e-book reader will suffer from that. 

The ability to have all my books on one device, being able to switch around, is both good and bad. Good because it means my laptop bag is much less packed, something I like. Good in that I can take my pick of material when I want to read something or I can switch to another book if I'm in the mood. And I'm not trying to figure out which car/bathroom/bedside/bookcase it's in.

Bad in that I don't necessarily get to read all the fun stuff and not feel guilty. I used to skip out on books or avoid some (my site has had a few on there for months) because they're not with me. Now I have no excuse and that's good in that I can read some classics or business books that I might avoid.

In two weeks I've read, or at least purchased:

  • The Ghost Bridgades
  • Phantom Prey
  • Naked Conversations (2/3 of the way done)
  • The Whole Truth
  • The Long Tail
  • Founders at Work
  • Permission Marketing
  • Chasing Darkness

I've also downloaded these classics:

  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Count of Monte Cristo (started)
  • Crime and Punishment (always wanted to read)
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (started, enjoyed it years  ago)
  • War and Peace (never read it)
  • I,Robot

Samples I've gotten? Some of these I purchased:

  • Phantom Prey
  • Permission Marketing
  • Meatball Sundae
  • The Innovator's Dilemma
  • Crossing the Chasm
  • The Case Against Barack Obama
  • The 4-Hour Workweek
  • Eric Sink on the Business of Software
  • Small Giants
  • The Innovator's Solution
  • The Last Patriot

While I was traveling, I had a number of books recommended to me. In fact, I was in a few conference sessions and various books were mentioned, so I grabbed samples from Amazon on those books. It's amazing to be able to turn on wireless, have it connect in  2 minutes (I could leave it on, but I prefer battery life over connectivity), find the book and download a sample inside of a minute. In fact, the books I've purchased downloaded inside a couple minutes. That is cool! I even bought one book while I was on the tarmac in Boston, in the airplane. I didn't get connectivity in Houston in the plane, but that is Houston.

Having the book save my pages is nice, and I've bookmarked places as well that I thought were interesting. I could go back later when I was home, look up the bookmark, and then see the quote/passage and remember what I wanted to write down. I haven't tried the annotations, but I should.

The ability to change font sizes is outstanding. I read fast, so I need to turn pages fast when the font is at the default. So I can make the font smaller at the 1 or 2 level (depending on how I feel) and read more on one page. I can also make it larger and not need my glasses in bed.

Dictionary - I think this is outstanding. However it needs work (noted below) as well. There are always times when I hit a word and can get an idea of what it means from context, but I alwyas mean to go look them up. With the Kindle I can scroll to that line, click the wheel and look up the word. It's a tad slow at times, but it's a very handy feature. 

I haven't tried emailing stuff to myself, but I will. Downloading books to the Kindle was a snap with the USB cable. Haven't tried the MP3 player, but I have an iTouch, so not sure I will waste the space. I have browsed the web and that works OK. Wikipedia works fine and my son thought that was cool.

Reading on the device is great. It's  like reading a newspaper. While I might like the background to be more white (it's a gray color), it works fine and I have no issues reading. 


I think that the Kindle has some fundamental flaws. And it could be improved in a few ways, though I'm sure people will always want something changed. Here are the big ones in my mind.

  • More books! I've found lots on the Kindle store, but I had at least 2 not be available in the last two weeks. If it's 2 out of every 20, that's a lot. Thankfully Amazon has a "notify the publisher" link on their site that you can click (below the image). HOWEVER, this should be in the Kindle store. Show the books and say "not available in Kindle" and let the Kindle people click a notify link from their Kindles.
  • Page forward/back - Not a big deal, but it is a little annoying when you hit them. I need to go back and find my page, not as easy to do as I'd like. It's not that I hit them that often when I'm reading, you learn pretty quickly how to avoid that, but it's when I pick it up or move hands that I hit them. The buttons need a space in the middle that you can grab.
  • A better case. I'm not sure if I'll invest in another one or if I'll add some velcro, but I've had mine slip out. I see why they did it because the buttons are too large on the right side, but they could have made a better case. At least it folds back like a paperback so I'm holding one page only (not two like a hardback).
  • Dictionary - I've looked up a few words whose definition didn't make sense. It seems that some definitions are missing. I've also had one occassion (out of 12-15) where a word on the line wasn't included in the list of words defined. And no, there wasn't a 2nd page.
  • Form Factor - Its slightly larger than a paperback and a little heavier. Given that I like lying down and reading, I'd sacrifice a real keyboard for a slower virtual one to have it weigh less. Size could be smaller, but not sure I want less words on a page.
  • Resolution - Needs to be a bit better to allow magazines and other better image. Zooming of images would be outstanding as well.
  • Real page numbers - I want to know I'm on page xx of xx, not this @$@$ section thing they have. I have absolutely no way of remembering those numbers, but I can guess as to the page number if I know what the page count is. Let me get to the top of whatever page I put in regardless of font. Even at the highest font section I would be within 3 pages of my spot.

It's an expensive device. The big advantages of this book are the convenience, and if you don't travel much, it might not be a great buy. And if you don't read a lot. I read 50+ books a year and my guess is I'll probably read a bit more, though some things I might not normally buy, with this device. I have a number of trips coming up, including one to the UK, which is a 7 book trip at least, so this device works for me.

To me Amazon should be selling this in a bundle with books. If someone paid $400 but got 10 books, that would make sense. Or maybe they should do like the old "CD Clubs" and have you purchase a book a month, but you get the Kindle for a discount. Or finance it for a year, $40 a month that includes one Best Seller.

I'd also love to see Amazon give me copies of books I own if they can verify them. So if I buy a dead tree format, maybe I should be able to access the Kindle version as well. That would be ideal. 

One las thing I might say as a disadvantage is that while you might read more, you'll spend more. That's good for Amazon, but you really need to watch yourself. 

For those of you not sure, there's another one coming from Plastic Logic that looks like it has a better screen. However the form factor is larger and I'd actually like a smaller form factor.

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


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