more kindling

A year or so back I ended up with an Amazon Kindle (Version 2, US only) and wrote up a review of my experiences. A few things have changed since then, not to mention my consumption of e generally. A few months later, I got a smartphone which has been a boon in so many ways. However I found the device too small for books; I found reading on one to be an awkward experience. The phone has been good for mobile computing, in fact it excels in that area to the point where I rarely need to carry my netbook. Whereas the kindle travels with me with everywhere, I always make sure I pack it in my shoulder bag. It’s lighter than a paperback and not as thick.

I have read lots of books in e with it now and there’s lots more books available too. There’s a new version of the kindle out, and new models from Sony. Having done some comparisons, I still regard Sony’s devices as the best on the market. But, the Sony models remain too expensive. Due to the evils of DRM I’m somewhat tied to a kindle for purchases from Amazon (I’ve not been successful as yet in removing DRM from kindle books, though there are tools out there to simplify matters). I have found that some publishers, with special mention of Baen, happily publish their ebooks without DRM…and I happily buy them.

Ereading does have some annoyances including:

  • reading multiple books on one device is awkward, particularly when flicking back and forth between them (this may relate to the kindle’s poor navigation)
  • if you want to re-read a passage, it’s a little painful to flick back several pages, and then flick forward several pages.
  • forgetting to recharge – as battery life lasts a couple of weeks or so, sometimes I forget to recharge altogether – was caught out on a recent day trip to Canberra when the charge ran out in the morning, on the way down
  • progress in the book is still tricky to work out, particularly if reading an omnibus – this may relate to how the book is constructed as the kindle does have a progress bar at the bottom. For some books, each chapter has a mark but not all. Progress indicators could thus be an issue of the book file rather than the device.
  • reading contrast can be a bit dark – when the light isn’t strong, it can be hard to make out the text from the background. A sharper contrast would be nice
  • I think the 6 inch screen is still a little small, but certainly adequate. I wouldn’t mind if it were a little bigger though

On the other hand there are plenty of pluses:

  • don’t have to hold pages open while eating dinner
  • lightweight
  • can travel with lots of books on one device
  • convenience – was out with a friend, and was able to whip out the kindle which she went to the dunny.
  • ease of reading
  • battery life – lasts comfortably on long haul flights eg Sydney to Mexico
  • slots easily into bags
  • turning pages is easier than paper – a click of the button (though I was quite adept at holding and turn pages one handed too)
  • ease of transferring bought content – I download to PC, and transfer from there to kindle via standard drag+drop

A year on, I seem to be reading a lot more. I suspect that’s more to do with the fact that I only need to remember to take the same thing with me, rather than grabbing whichever book I’m reading right now; I just grab the kindle. I get it out on the train and the bus, while waiting in line, or sitting in a cafe. It’s just so bloody handy! There seems to be plenty of titles available on Amazon, though still lots of exceptions. One of the things I love about Baen is that they provide their books in formats to suit all readers. When I buy a title from Baen, I also download the epub and the mobipocket (kindle) versions. With that said, I can always download them via my Baen account later.

Overall, it’s been a very happy experience and I tend to prefer my ereader more and more. In some instances, choosing convenience over other options can be a cop-out but I don’t think that’s the case here. I am finding it a good reading experience and much prefer it over paperbacks ie it’s way good. I simply don’t bother buying paperbacks at all anymore. My initial impulse on hearing about a book is to check online first and see if there’s an e version.

2 thoughts on “more kindling”

  1. I got a Kindle about a month ago and I’m surprised at how much I like it. It’s rejuvenated my own personal reading habit.

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