When the Kindle was first introduced, I wrote a post about it: What Will the Kindle Do for the E-Publishing Industry? Since I hadn’t seen the device at that time, I based the article on information gleaned from a variety of sources. I concluded:
What I really like about the Kindle is the attention it is bringing to e-books. I believe that Amazon.com getting involved in the industry and Jeff Bezos personally promoting the product will have a positive impact on the future of e-publishing.
I believe the Kindle has had a positive impact on the e-publishing industry. Now that I have used the device for a few weeks, I’ll share my thoughts about the device from a reader standpoint. Although I will point out some things that take getting used to (some of which I’d like to see changed), my overall reaction to the Kindle is extremely positive. I love reading on it!
What takes getting used to:
- The position of the “next page” and “previous page” buttons. There are buttons along the side of the screen on both sides of the Kindle. This presented a challenge at first—many times I turned pages backward or forward unintentionally because I couldn’t find a comfortable spot to hold the device. I’ve found a good way to hold the Kindle, but I still occasionally turn pages accidentally. I would prefer the buttons be smaller or placed differently.
- The flash of the e-ink as each new page appears. The first few times I read on the Kindle, I found it disconcerting that the page flashes briefly before it fully opens. However, it didn’t take long to reach the point that I don’t notice the flash anymore.
- The tiny size of the keys on the keyboard. I can’t read the letters on the keyboard without a magnifying glass, so I had to learn the keyboard before it functioned well for me. Now that I know the position of the keys, I can use the keyboard.
- The lack of a backlight. I can’t read in the dark as I can with my eBookwise reader. This is offset by the wonderful reading experience in bright light and glare. I am keeping my eBookWise reader and will use it when I want to read in the dark. The rest of the time, I prefer the Kindle.
What I absolutely adore about the Kindle:
- The easy to read screen. The e-ink technology is amazing. It is much clearer and brighter than any other e-book reader I’ve seen, even than print. It’s absolutely the best reading experience I’ve ever had.
- The size of the font. I can adjust the text as large as I want and find it easy to see.
- The WhisperNet. The wireless connection is fabulous. All I have to do is select the Kindle store from the menu, shop on Amazon, select a book or a blog or a magazine … and it’s downloaded instantly to my Kindle. Unlike other devices, the Kindle doesn’t have to be connected to a computer—or anything else—to download content. I never have to worry that I will run out of reading material when I take the Kindle with me. If I finish all the books I have stored, I can just purchase a new title from wherever I am.
- The ease of adding personal content. The Kindle comes with a USB connection. If I want to read a work-in-progress or an e-book purchased for another device, I connect to the computer through the USB cable, then drag and drop the files from my computer to the Kindle. The device accepts several formats; I have found text files usually result in the best conversion. Although the Kindle doesn’t read PDF files, I copy and paste the content from PDF e-books into a text file and transfer to the device. This works well unless the PDF is encrypted.
- The convenient size and weight of the device. The Kindle is lightweight and smaller than a paperback—easy on arthritic hands.
- Features such as search, bookmark, and highlight. I haven’t even used all the features yet, but I really appreciated being able to find and bookmark the passages I wanted to read at my book launch party.
All in all, I love the Kindle and highly recommend it. Have you tried the Kindle? What is your experience?
$50 Discount: (added 10/26/08) In response to a question in comments about a discount Oprah is offering for the Kindle, I tracked down the offer on her Web site:
As a special offer for Oprah Show viewers, Amazon.com is giving $50 off the price of Kindle. Enter the promotional code OPRAHWINFREY during the checkout process at Amazon.com to receive the discount. This offer is valid through November 1, 2008.
Code for $50 off the price of Kindle: OPRAHWINFREY