Should I Buy a Kindle?

  • Hi Steve,

    I have the Sony Reader. The controls take a little getting used to, but the type is very readable and you can pick from 3 different type sizes.

    The one thing it lacks is some kind of lighting for when you have to be in a dark room or low-light travel situation. You have to buy the light as a $15 accessory. Given that the Reader costs $300, you think they could have thrown in the night-light.

    I don't know anything about the Kindle, but I can recommend the Reader with the above reservations, especially if you want to have several books available for traveling without taking up a lot of space.

    Good luck,

    webrunner

    -------------------
    A SQL query walks into a bar and sees two tables. He walks up to them and asks, "Can I join you?"
    Ref.: http://tkyte.blogspot.com/2009/02/sql-joke.html

  • lsm (4/30/2008)


    slhope (4/30/2008)


    Ism & majorbloodnock,

    If you haven't tried an e-ink screen, there is no way you can compare it properly. It is nothing at all like reading off any other type of screen. Looking at photo's of it online just mean you're now looking it on a screen, which doesn't help at all. They don't call it electronic paper for nothing. I find it as easy on the eyes as paper, sometimes better (depending on the paper/ink etc).

    Okay - I didn't know that. I guess I was prejudicial based on outdated knowledge.

    Now I want to try an e-ink screen! πŸ™‚

    I hate people who live off of outdated knowledge! In my opinion, they should end up in drugged in a bathtub full of ice, and missing their kidneys - that's a real threat these days!

  • bbordelon (4/30/2008)


    lsm (4/30/2008)


    slhope (4/30/2008)


    Ism & majorbloodnock,

    If you haven't tried an e-ink screen, there is no way you can compare it properly. It is nothing at all like reading off any other type of screen. Looking at photo's of it online just mean you're now looking it on a screen, which doesn't help at all. They don't call it electronic paper for nothing. I find it as easy on the eyes as paper, sometimes better (depending on the paper/ink etc).

    Okay - I didn't know that. I guess I was prejudicial based on outdated knowledge.

    Now I want to try an e-ink screen! πŸ™‚

    I hate people who live off of outdated knowledge! In my opinion, they should end up in drugged in a bathtub full of ice, and missing their kidneys - that's a real threat these days!

    Oookay. Seek help πŸ™‚

  • I really like the e-ink, and hope this develops to replace the backlit LCD in many portable devices. The shift some years ago to fully backlit (as opposed to reflected reading with supplementary backlight) was a dismal detour for PDAs and smartphones, probably because the backlit systems looked good in stores. So many 'portable' devices are useless out doors, at the same time they require vastly bigger batteries to support those backlights.

    My preferences are opposite to some other users. I strongly PREFER electronic versions of technical manuals because of text searching. Trying to find specific information in a 500 page book is so much easier and faster than having to deal with tables of contents and indexes.

    ...

    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • lsm (4/30/2008)


    bbordelon (4/30/2008)


    lsm (4/30/2008)


    slhope (4/30/2008)


    Ism & majorbloodnock,

    If you haven't tried an e-ink screen, there is no way you can compare it properly. It is nothing at all like reading off any other type of screen. Looking at photo's of it online just mean you're now looking it on a screen, which doesn't help at all. They don't call it electronic paper for nothing. I find it as easy on the eyes as paper, sometimes better (depending on the paper/ink etc).

    Okay - I didn't know that. I guess I was prejudicial based on outdated knowledge.

    Now I want to try an e-ink screen! πŸ™‚

    I hate people who live off of outdated knowledge! In my opinion, they should end up in drugged in a bathtub full of ice, and missing their kidneys - that's a real threat these days!

    Oookay. Seek help πŸ™‚

    Just kidding, of course. I have no useful information to add - current or outdated - to this topic. So I'll post stuff like this πŸ˜›

    I've been toying with buying the Kindle since it first came out, but I've yet to do so and will probably hold off a bit. My gut feeling is that the whole e-book thing is cool, but not quite to the point where someone like me would be "glad to have made the switch".

    If e-book technology progresses like all other successfully-adopted technologies, it will mature to the point where it has so many benefits (and so few drawbacks) that we all won't be able to remember how we lived without it - kinda like the "should I get high speed internet?" debates some of us were having 10 or 11 years ago.

    Right now, the technology has only matured enough to make people see that it has real merit and lasting potential. It still has pros and cons, and they're evenly enough balanced to spark debate as to which there are more of. Personally, I like to wait just a little beyond that point before adopting a new technology. I think manufacturers do too, and once they see that ebooks are the way to go, you'll see a lot more devices and services - all better than anything currently out - flood the market.

    The flip-side of that is that if everyone waits like I do, the technology will appear undesirable and end up going the way of the alternative-fuel automobile (are people just not interested in them, or are they all just waiting for someone to come out with one that's just not so friggin' butt-ugly?).

    I think that ebooks (and Kindle, as the current leader) aren't for everyone at the moment, but they will be soon.

  • This is interesting - I'd been researching ebooks, and picked Kindle as what I wanted to buy when it finally became available again. Then I read this article, and then I checked Amazon's web site and guess what - it's finally back in stock! πŸ˜€

    I agree it's somewhat expensive but heck, all the ebook readers are. I still want one. I'm not one that has to have all the tech gear (PDA? What's that?!). But I AM a voracious reader and go through several books in a week. I also travel a lot for my work and this will be less bulky than a book.

    Sign me up Amazon. Also, good to hear there are folks that love their Kindles!

  • I heard from Apress and they are trying to get more books on the Kindle. Delays because of code formatting, but it will get there.

    Good to hear opinions, especially from e-book readers. Right now I'm usually reading 3-4 books at a time, one in each car, one inside, etc. and while I love the dead tree feel, the e-ink looks good. I sat in Borders with the Sony reader and a paper book and they looked very close to each other. Supposedly the contrast is better in E-ink, but perhaps it's the gray background, but it paper book looked slightly better. Not a lot, just slightly.

    Apart from not liking Sony's various DRM ventures, their store is a little too small for me. I prefer Amazon, and buy more things from them. The cost isn't enough to get me to look at Sony, and the selection and immediate purchase abilities, so if I finish one thing, I can grab another, as well as the preview, make the Kindle very tempting.

    If libraries could give me Kindle versions for xx days, I'd buy one right now. That might happen, but for now, I'm trying to decide if it's worth grabbing a Kindle and reporting on it (I could expense it! 😎 ), or wait for v2. I've heard it might come this year, but who knows.

    The Mobipocket list is interesting, as are the classics that are free to read. Free is less important than getting a choice and I think Amazon might get that over time. Even the small publishers might jump on there.

    I agree on the sharing, though I don't really share the books with anyone. If I could get review copies in Kindle format, then I'm probably sold. Maybe that's the way to go πŸ™‚

  • I love the idea of an ebook. I have a number of PDF versions of the hard copy books I have that are great when I want to find something. It's so much easier to get Acrobat to search through the PDF than it is to try and leaf through a 300+ page book. I know I saw it, I just can't remember where :).

    But the big problem with all of the ebook readers right now is just what others have said. You can't swap books with other readers (aka lend the book to a coworker for a while).

    I haven't seen anyone offer to sell books used. That would be huge - I much prefer to buy books from places like Half Price Books or Amazon. Until I see that offered with the Kindle or some other device, I'm not too interested.

    Also - I'm really amazed that we don't have more books in electronic format. I don't believe that anyone still creates print plates for the books anymore (at least not with movable type), so why isn't everything available?

    Also - libraries need to be able to lend books out via ebook format as well. I know some libraries (mine included) offers a few books - nothing I've ever really wanted to read. If they had Amazon's library available ... Of course, I guess if they did, Amazon wouldn't be selling too many books then, would they. πŸ™‚

    Heck - I'd love to see Amazon offer rentals of books. Imagine having a subscription of say $25/mo and you could rent an unlimited amount of books per year. Maybe only have 5 out at a time or some such. Then I would consider kicking out $400 for the Kindle.

    Ad maiorem Dei gloriam

  • I've had my Kindle over a month now and I love it. It's not the be all and end all, but it serves many of my needs well.

    Physical/electronic characteristics & other numbers - about the height & width of most computer books, but less than an inch thick. Weighs about 10 oz. If you leave the wireless update off and don't go crazy pushing buttons, you can get 6+ hours reading on a charge; additional batteries about $15. Built in memory holds about 200 books/periodicals, standard SD cards increase that dramatically, but you can always temporarily delete books you purchased from Amazon & re-load later. There are approx. 115K titles available from Amazon, plus you can download any other .txt, .mobi, (some) .pdf and other formats subject to digital rights, etc. This expands to potentially millions of books - many for free from Guttenberg, etc. NYT best sellers from Amazon are typically $10, other books are from $1 to very expense (I think there's a obscure technical reference for over $1K in Kindle format). Most books from Amazon have a sample for free - first 50 or so pages. Most programming books are about $4 less in Kindle than Amazon's listed discounted price - a few are actually slightly higher for reasons I can't fathom.

    The e-ink screen looks like a printed page - it's not a computer screen. I can't tell you how much more convenient it is reading the Kindle version of a newspaper at breakfast (or anywhere else) vs. the printed copy.

    I have about 15 purchased books on my Kindle - mostly .NET (my specialty) although a few general books - I finally got around to reading The Art of War - set me back $2; I read it while "accomplying" my wife shopping last weekend. I have another 20 books as samples - I've already decided not to purchase some books based on reviewing the samples. I also get the NYT delivered daily. I turn the wireless on for about 2 minutes in the am to pickup recent orders and the NYT - doesn't seem to impact battery life.

    The personal plusses for me:

    1) It's a convenient size - it's with me most of the time except when we're out socially - I always have something useful to read when my wife decides -oh I forgot to get ___ at the store it'll just take a minute - walk in with me cause its after dark...

    2) The free preview for most titles.

    3) If I think I might need a reference and it's available in Kindle I don't have to order it overnight from Amazon - I can review the sample and wait if/when I really need it.

    4) When out & about, at a clients, or travelling I have a good bit of my library available.

    5) I don't need to worry as much about shelf space for books.

    6) The "environmental" issues listed below which are important to me

    7) Potential savings

    The minuses:

    1) Not everything is available in Kindle

    2) Kindle currently is B&W only and the e-ink as implemented looks nice for normal text, but does not magnify well.

    3) Many screen shots and other graphics are hard to read, some impossible even with magnification. I've contacted kindle on this recommending they allow us to "click" on an image and expand it to full size in landscape - would sovle 90% of that.

    4) To fragile & small to use as a door stop, shelf spacer, etc.

    5) You can only share Amazon books with other kindles ON YOUR ACCOUNT - 6 maximum.

    The environmental/financial issues:

    No trees were cut down, no ink chemicals used, no power for printing presses, packaging materials, no shipping, no receiving, no warehousing, no physical inventory (including building space, inventory tax and insurance, etc.). No guessing how many to print, dealing with over/under stock, no unsold physical merchandise.

    The environmental impact of the physical kindle plus the power to send content and read isn't substantially different than a cell phone or Wii-type game.

    It seems to me that publishers/distributors/sellers are bypassing essentially all of their expenses except keeping their doors open and paying royalties/salaries by going to e-books. I would think that the issues with paper, ink, production runs, shipping, overstocks, warehousing, etc. add at least a couple bucks to the price of a book.

    I don't expect ebooks - kindle or otherwise to eliminate physical books, but it seems a logical choice for many. My expectation is in 3-5 years 20% or more of Amazon's book sales will be in kindle format - that is substantial.

  • FWIW - I have for years used first my Palm Pilot and now my Pocket PC to carry with me hundreds of books, from OReilly pocket refs to classic novels (e.g. Charles Dickens) to religious books. True, the PPC screen is not as large as the Kindle or similar readers, but then, those devices do not have the multiple uses of my PDA, including a built-in digital camera, plus wireless Internet capability (not just Wikipedia). I admire the Kindle and have followed it since it first came out late last year, but so far the price is prohibitive. Also, the fact that I cannot use my current large store of PDF files prevents me from buying one. Plus the lack of color support. Bottom Line: Kindle is a first-generation product; give it some time to mature.

  • I still don't see how the $400 pays off. If you buy the books used on half.com and then sell them back on half.com, with an average loss of $10 a book, and you only save $5 on Kindle books and you can't re-sell them, share them or any of the rights you get with real-books, you have to buy 80 books before you save the extra $400.

    I would be a bigger fan of the Kindle without DRM and with more real-book properties.

  • rsgardner2, you can convert pdf files over to the Kindle in many ways, including emailing them to Amazon. There are some gotchas with PDFs, so you may need to research the subject if that's a dealbreaker for you.

    Not that you're doing it, but I see a lot of wrong information published about the Kindle, then people go on quoting incorrect information. Examples:

    DRM only ebooks - the Kindle will happily read non-DRM mobi files.

    Amazon charges you to convert books - 10 cents to email them directly to the kindle, free to email converted documents directly back to you.

    Suprisingly, Amazon didn't do a great job getting all of the correct information out about the Kindle. There's a lot of good information on mobileread.com.

    Now I sound like a zealot πŸ™‚ I just hate to see people criticize the Kindle with incorrect information.

  • I've not had the chance to use a Kindle, so I can't comment on the usability.

    I've tried ebooks on the Palm, and, as others have said they are impossible in bright sunlight and the screen is too small to make a very enjoyable reading experience.

    The big sticking point with me is the initial expense and having yet another electronic device and attendant charger to carry when I travel.

    I've been listening to audio books from audible.com for several years. A 512MB SD card in my Palm TX holds over 100 hours of listening and the audio books can also be burnt to CD and played in the car or on a portable player. The CD's can also be shared. There are also programs available to convert the Audible format to mp3 files without DRM which can then be downloaded to various mp3 players which may not be compatible with the Audible formatted files.

    If you have a smart phone, I-Pod, or other mp3 player you likely have what you need without buying another device.

    All in all, for recreational "reading" the audio books have worked out very well for use when I travel. It's pretty much useless for any kind of reference book, but besides fiction there are many educational books available so you can do other things besides recreation.

    There are also audio books at Librivox.org which are public domain and read by volunteers and are free.

    If the Kindle would enable you to carry a set of reference books that you could search, or if there is something specific it will do that can't be done another way, it might be a good choice for you, but for my use the cost/benefit equation just doesn't make sense.

  • The half.com idea doesn't really suit me as I won't sell them back. The 1/2 price doesn't really make a difference to me and it's a pain to sell back. I use amazon and get free shipping from them, so I tend to use them. Also I like the selections there and the few times I want a specific book, being able to get it.

    The convenience aspect is a large part of my thought. Carrying around lots of books, moving between them as I want and not trying to remember where I last left the book.

    Good to hear the reviews from those owners. The PDA doesn't work, at least not my smartphone as it dims, the screen is too small, and I've found that it's hard to read on it.

  • Steve Jones - Editor (4/30/2008)


    The half.com idea doesn't really suit me as I won't sell them back. The 1/2 price doesn't really make a difference to me and it's a pain to sell back. I use amazon and get free shipping from them, so I tend to use them. Also I like the selections there and the few times I want a specific book, being able to get it.

    The convenience aspect is a large part of my thought. Carrying around lots of books, moving between them as I want and not trying to remember where I last left the book.

    Good to hear the reviews from those owners. The PDA doesn't work, at least not my smartphone as it dims, the screen is too small, and I've found that it's hard to read on it.

    Not sure if this has been mentioned, but this site has free e-books and they let you download according to the version you need.

    http://manybooks.net/[/url]

    Enjoy,

    webrunner

    -------------------
    A SQL query walks into a bar and sees two tables. He walks up to them and asks, "Can I join you?"
    Ref.: http://tkyte.blogspot.com/2009/02/sql-joke.html

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