Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 03:03 am
Has anyone tried the Kindle? What did you think?

I found the controls on the original Kindle amazingly awkward and returned it. But now Kindle 2 is due at my place in about a week, and it sounds much more user-oriented, so I'm really looking forward to it. I've already ordered a book - being in the Boston area I requested "Last Lion" which has been running (in a somewhat condensed form) in the Boston Globe.

At least one other resident here is also getting a Kindle, and it will be interesting to see what we each think of it - I'll let everyone know in a future post.
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Type: Question • Score: 3 • Views: 1,961 • Replies: 12
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 04:57 am
@Tomkitten,
It's not for me, but I understand it is being well received.

How long does it take to download a book, by the way?
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 05:22 am
@Tomkitten,
Good for you and grrrr for me.

I would be keen to try Kindle, to cut down on my ever-losing war against the number of books I have, but it's not available internationally.

What do you think will be better about kindle 2?
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 06:16 am
a couple of folks at another board i frequent have the kindle and love it

sadly not available outside the us yet

rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 11:25 am
@djjd62,
I'm not sure how comprehensive the Kindle store (number of books) is. For example, if I want to purchase and download a relatively unknown sci-fi novel from the 1980's, is it going to be available?

If the Kindle store only carries a fraction of the titles out there, then it may be of limited use to someone like me who has very specific tastes in what to read.
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 12:46 pm
@roger,
roger wrote:
How long does it take to download a book, by the way?


Usually measured in seconds (e.g. under a minute).
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 12:49 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Ah? That's one issue out of the way.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 12:51 pm
What are the costs of the downloads?
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 01:05 pm
Kindle frustrates me, it's so close to brilliant while having some big no-goes for me. I've ranted about Kindle enough on other sites so here's the summary version.

The Good

- Electronic Paper: most people don't like to read on digital screens because they are backlit and this causes much more stress on the eyes. Electronic paper is not backlit and you read it by light reflecting off the screen just like paper. This means that unlike a traditional screen you need a separate light source to read it, but it's a good experience and doesn't draw electricity except when changing the screen, so it's great for a mobile device in power consumption as well.

- Whispernet: By partnering with Sprint to provide free internet access through cellphone towers the convenience factor is greatly improved for those on the go.

- Full offering: There are other e-readers with the same basic screen technology as the Kindle, but they don't come with the backing of one of the biggest booksellers on the planet. The Kindle is a good e-reader on it's own, but what makes it game changing is that Amazon is building a strong service around it, trying to be to books as the iTunes/iPod combo is to music.

The Bad

- The Whispernet is a nice touch, but it's an inherently proprietary relationship. I can't just pop in a SIM card and be up and running, and I don't live under Sprint coverage. So this means that if I want to use a Kindle here in Costa Rica, I need to connect it to my computer with a wire, and download the books over the internet and then transfer them to the Kindle. If they had just provided standard Wifi and Bluetooth the data connections could be more open and flexible. I could sync through my home Wifi network (and I don't need it on the road) and if I really need mobile data I can tether it to my cellphone through Bluetooth (and bluetooth would also be a nice touch for bluetooth headphones as they now have more audio capabilities). This is the big deal-killer for me.

- Book Pricing: The pricing doesn't reflect the realities of what they are doing, and if they are going to deliver a book to me for fractions of a cent they need to have more economical pricing. Right now, they are not much different than buying a paperback and a digital-0nly product needs to be priced accordingly. Of course, this is likely publishers more than Amazon here who need to see the light.

- Their online services need to be more useful. Ok, so let's say I want to ditch all my books and have a digital-only collection. Then I want some of the digital advantages. I want to be able to browse the digital text through a browser as well, in an Amazon account. Think of it like this, I want to buy all my books in their digital format, but I want to be able to search through the texts (a search engine for your book collection) and make notes and bookmarks in my library. I also want the books in an open format with no DRM as well, so that if I invest all this money in a digital collection I can take it to another e-reader if the Kindle fails or falls out of favor with me.

Anywho, it's very close to being a dream device for me. Here in Costa Rica imported English books are expensive (about 2x American prices) and I'd love to be able to ditch all that bulk. But they get enough things wrong with the offering that I'm not yet ready to move to a digital-only library. Right now I'd be paying the price for the Whispernet that I can't even use.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 01:07 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:
What are the costs of the downloads?



Wikipedia Editors wrote:
Users can select reading material through the Kindle or through a computer at the Amazon Kindle store, and can download content through the Kindle Store. New releases and New York Times bestsellers are offered for approximately $10. Classics like Bleak House sell for around $1.99. The first chapters of many books are offered as a free sample. Subscriptions to newspapers cost between $5.99 and $14.99 per month, magazines between $1.25 and $3.49 per month, and blogs for $0.99-$1.99 per month.[16] Users can send documents to a conversion service which will send a Kindle-formatted file to the device directly for $0.10 or to a personal e-mail account for free.


But that's only Amazon pricing, though it's less convenient you have other sources you can use (e.g. where the people with other e-book readers get their stuff):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindle#Summary_of_content_availability
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 01:11 pm
God, the device costs over $350!!!!!

I'll continue to go to the library thank you.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 01:20 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:
God, the device costs over $350!!!!!

I'll continue to go to the library thank you.


Yeah, they won't go mainstream until they cross the magical $200 barrier. In the United States market, electronic devices priced over $200 are almost never casual purchases. If they get to $199 they can become a more common Christmas present, and if they get to $99 they'll become a casual purchase and go mainstream.

Another way they could make it more attractive is to give you a huge book coupon with the purchase. Let it come with $150 worth of book purchases.

But the price is likely going to stay there for a while, they are still in the novelty premium phase.
0 Replies
 
Tomkitten
 
  1  
Reply Mon 23 Feb, 2009 01:46 pm
Interesting comments all, and about what I expected. Robert Gentel summarizes it well, though his lists of "Good" and "Bad" both cover some features I probably won't use. If it lasts me for five years (and I hope it will) that's an acceptable amortization, weighed against the convenience. The books I buy run between $20 and $30, so Kindle books for $10 are very appealing.

As I my arms get older I get less and less happy about holding up a heavy book - about 350 pages is my limit, and many of those I want to read are much longer.

As for the differences between K1 & K2, the arrangement of controls seems to have improved and that's what turned me off K1. Anyway, I'm looking forward to next Monday when, or so Amazon tells me, I should receive my new toy.
0 Replies
 
 

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