I’ve had my Kindle now for about 3 1/2 months and I have to say that I really like it. I read almost everything on it. It’s my device of choice and I travel with it almost everywhere, grabbing a few pages at lunch, waiting for kids at the bus stop, doctor’s appointments, while my son is in karate, etc. And in that time I’ve read 28 books on the Kindle. They really go fast.
I’ve even grabbed a few technical samples to see how the formatting, screen shots, etc. appear after someone asked in the MVP newsgroups. I got a sample of Professional SQL Server 2005 Administration by Brian Knight, founder of SQLServerCentral with me, and A Developer's Guide to Data Modeling for SQL Server: Covering SQL Server 2005 and 2008 by Eric Johnson and Josh Jones, friends from CO Springs. In both cases, I found the books easy to read and go through. There are screenshots and they are slightly harder to see than in the paper version (I also have the paper versions of these books), but they are still understandable.
I’ve asked for technical books from other publishers in this format, but so far not many are doing them besides Apess, Wrox, and Addison-Wesley. I hope this changes in the future. Especially since the MobiPocket format and software are easily available.
However in this time I’ve also read 5 or 6 paper books for various reasons. A couple were books that I’d purchased before I got the Kindle and wanted to get through without re-purchasing them, a couple were older books I wanted to re-read for one reason or anothe, and one was Cross by James Patterson, that I got from my son for Christmas. He was out with my wife one day, saw it on sale, used his allowance, and bought it for me. I couldn’t take it back and was touched he thought of me.
As I carried that book around with my Kindle for a week or so and go through it, I thought about the differences. This was a hardback, larger in size than the Kindle, but about the same weight. It requires a light just like the Kindle, they’re both easy to read, but there is a certain satisfaction of turning pages. I can’t deny that and I enjoyed it.
However in both cases, as the book progressed, and I was reading other stories from the Kindle, I found that the form factor really didn’t matter to me. I was engrossed and lost in the story, not worried about the other stuff.
It was a good lesson for me. The story, the content, that’s what’s important. The Kindle gets me great convenience, and I love it, but in the end, content is what really matters.
Do I recommend a Kindle for you? It depends. If you travel a lot, and read a lot, I think it’s great. It’s expensive, and you have to decide if you want new content (at $20 a shot), in which case you save $10 a book, and want the convenience of having more books with you. However if you like paperbacks, you don’t save much, perhaps $2-3 a book, and at $350, that’s a long payback. The library is out, so if you don’t mind going there and getting books, you’re not saving anything.
It’s a hard decision to make and you have to examine your situation. I had referral money from Amazon, so it was a $50 purchase for me and I think it’s worth it. At $150 I probably still buy it, at $200-250 I’m not sure and at $350 it’s not worth it right now. However it’s a great device and I find it helps me read more and read different things, expanding my horizons.
If you see me at a conference or somewhere, feel free to ask if you can see my Kindle.