Kindle Review: 1 year later

A year ago, the Kindle 2 was released.  I bought the first version of the Kindle in November 2008.  I was fairly pleased, but it was far from a perfect device. (My original review.)  Once the new version was announced I immediately put my kindle up for sale on Craigslist and sold it for $25 less than what I originally paid for it.

I am a big reader, I love reading and I started reading ebooks on a Palm IIIe.  I read a number of books on a variety of PDAs and phones.  So I have read a lot on very poor screens.  E-ink is a wonderful screen to read on.  Many who have not used it do not understand what is different about e-ink and the standard LCD screen that is on most computers.  First, e-ink does not have a backlight.  So it is much easier on your eyes.  Second,  it uses a very low level of power.  E-ink is like an etch-a-sketch, once the image is there it requires no additional power to keep it there.  Many who have not used e-ink are disappointed in the screen because it is not quite as sharp as an LCD and has a slight grayish tone to the screen.  But the advantages to e-ink, at least for me, quite offset the negatives.

Why I bought the Kindle – Internet Access

I bought the kindle because wireless access.  What I thought this meant was that I would be able to use the Kindle as yet another internet access device.  What I found is that the browser is worthless.  What is really useful is that I can buy a book anytime I want, wirelessly from almost anywhere in the country.  I did not think this feature meant all that much.  After all I had always hooked up my reading device to my computer in the past.  I always keep a couple dozen books on the old PDA/phones and there is usually something to read no matter what mood I am in.  But with always accessible book purchasing, I hear about a book, and I check it out.  I might buy it, but more often I mark it on my wishlist or download a sample chapter.  It is not so much about the impulse buy as the impulse research.  I do not have to remember to check out a book later, I can do it when I hear about it.

What I did not know that is useful – Free books and multiple kindles

Amazon does not advertise the free books.  Sure I know about public domain books.  I read lots of them previously.  What I did not know about was the huge number of current (primarily new) books that are being offered free to gain market exposure.  It does not matter to much all that much why publishers/authors give away books, but that they do it.  So far this year, in not even two months I have already downloaded about 20 or 25 free books.  About half of which I will not read, but someone that I share the kindle account might.  The other half I will most likely read eventually.  Some of which will be really good.

The second thing that I really like, that I didn’t know when I bought it was the multiple kindles feature.  It didn’t occur to me that I would want multiple kindles.  But I do, not for myself but for friends.  I share my kindle account with four other people (total of 5 kindles.)  Two friends are short term missionaries in Chilie.  They use the kindles not only for their own reading, but to give reading material to their 10 year old, home schooled son.  Another friend is a missionary in France (on leave this year).  She will be taking it back with her this summer.  The fourth person is my brother.  I also plan on adding my blackberry as a kindle reading device when the software is released (projected in the next month or so.)  We can all legally share books.  There are some negatives to sharing an account.  First everything has to go to one credit card.  So you have to trust the people that are buying are going to pay their share.  Second, if someone wants to leave the account for some reason, their books stay with the account.  But the advantages are pretty good too.

Once the blackberry software is released I will be able to keep my kindle synced with my blackberry and I can read my books when I don’t have my kindle with me.

More kindle review next week….


So, is the iPad a competitor or mostly for video?

    I think it is a competitor, but only tangentially. Your old cell phone is a competitor with your iphone, but the feature set means that many who want an ipad are interested in features that the kindle doesn't have. And many that are interested in kindles are interested in reading and not the other features that the ipad has. Reading is about the reading. And sometimes the device can get in the way of the actual reading.

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[…] Last week, I wrote about the eink screen, the main reason that I bought the Kindle that ended up being wrong (it has a browser, but it is unusable) and the biggest benefit that I did not know about (the free books). […]

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