Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Kindle

The Kindle was a happy surprise birthday present from my sister this year. I would most likely not have ever bought one for myself. When it comes to gadgets I ask myself, do I really *need* x - an iPod Touch, a Nintendo DS, a new phone, a new desktop PC? Usually, the answer is no. On the other hand, "need" can be a relative term, since when you actually own the gadget, you wonder how you ever lived without it. No, I don't *need* a Kindle but it sure is cool.

Some notes on the Kindle, starting with the pros:

- It is more compact than I thought it would be. It's smaller and thinner than a standard-size paperback and very lightweight. I even took the Kindle to work by tucking it into a compartment in my purse. The Kindle is made to travel.

- Reading on the Kindle is different from reading on a computer screen or on my iPod. It feels eerily close to reading a book on paper, as in there is no glare on the screen and my eyes don't feel tired after reading it for over an hour. The "electronic ink" is genius.

- Battery power is great. I went a whole week without recharging it and probably could have gone longer.

- There's a huge selection of Kindle books on Amazon, delivered in less than a second to your Kindle with one-touch purchase. The Kindle is going to get me to buy more books, but I can't say that's a bad thing...

- Interesting that it shows you sections of books that other users have highlighted. It also prompts you to review the book once you've finished. Reading a book, usually a private experience, becomes more interactive (but not annoyingly so).

And some cons:

- The menu display is clunky compared with a touch screen. It relies on up or down buttons to select things. I think the designers (correctly) assumed most people would spend more time reading the e-book than going through the controls. This is probably the Kindle's biggest drawback, though for a person like me who's just using the device to read for fun, it's not a fatal flaw.

- The screen doesn't light up in the dark. This would be a nice feature since I like to read before bed.

- I don't really mind the lack of color, though it would be nice to see the book's cover in color.

- The Kindle vs. Nook, aka my e-reader is better than yours, thing annoys me. Wish I could buy Kindle books at Barnes & Noble.

It's kind of sad to think that e-readers mean the end of bookshelves full of books, bookmarks and loaning books to friends. On the other hand, now that I've actually tried the Kindle I don't think e-readers take much away from the old experience of reading a book. I'm impressed that the Kindle feels more like a book than a machine.


La Brown Girl said...

I agree with you on the whole Kindle vs Nook thing. I have a Nook and I hate that I am bound to Barnes and Noble because sometimes they don't have a book I want.

All in all though, I do love it. I especially loved it when I was reading Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking Series and no longer had to carry around huge books in my purse because I was using every single free moment to read a little more.

Annette said...

Good to hear from you, La Brown Girl. I'm enjoying the Kindle but the Nook sounds like a great product, too.

DanB said...

I really like my Nook Color. Although I wouldn't have bought it for myself, it turned out to be a great birthday present from my family.