Monday, July 26, 2010

Amazon Kindel

I have been pondering an e-book reader for quite a while. When the prices on both the Barnes and Noble Nook and the Amazon Kindle dropped about 30%, I got more serious. I decided I preferred the Kindle, but still didn't pull the trigger.

A few weeks ago, Amazon bought a company called Woot, which offers a great deal every day, but only one, and only until it runs out. They decided to have a deal on Kindles for only $149. That crossed my gadget threshold and I bought one for Julie and I.

Having had company and a lot of things going on, the Kindle mostly just sat around unread. I checked to make sure it worked and ordered a free book. Everything was fine, but I didn't have a feel for it yet.

This weekend I felt the urge to read, so I decided to give the Kindle more of a test. I ordered a book that I really felt like reading. The billing is automatic through your Amazon account and the book only took about 20 seconds to arrive. That's impressive since it is going over the AT&T wireless network. This was one of the e-book's key selling points for me. No matter where you are, if you get the urge to read something, you can get it almost instantly, including magazines and newspapers.

It took me about 5 minutes to make the trade-off on font size. Smaller fonts are harder to see, but you get a lot more words per line and page, so reading goes faster. Kind of like baby bear and porridge, somewhere in the middle was "just right". I read in the living room, out on a sunny deck and in bed.

Thoughts so far:
  • It is much easier on the eyes than a computer screen. It is easy to read in almost any light and the fonts are very sharp.
  • I quickly decided that I liked one handed reading. It is light and small, very comfortable in one hand. They put "next page" buttons on both sides, so a quick thumb turns the page.
  • When you set it down, it remembers your page (of course). No more dog eared pages for those of us who lose bookmarks.
  • Still no color. Just wait a year or two. It's coming. My book didn't have any, but this seems like a huge problem for magazines.
  • I only used the keyboard to search for a book title. I wish the keyboard space got used for screen space, and the keyboard could be done on a touch sensitive screen. They say that doesn't work well for note taking, but I would leave the real keyboard to the larger DX model, which is aimed at students and textbooks.
So far, I like it a lot. It is easy for me to see that e-books will replace real books, and faster than a lot of people expect. I know people talk about liking the feel of a real book, but there is just too much in the e-books favor:
  • Instant access to any content
  • Cheaper books
  • Thousands of book in the palm of your hand
  • Much more efficient distribution. No shipping tons of books around. No extra stock to be thrown away. Not only is this an expense statement, it is ecologically sound. Imagine the amount of landfill that goes to the tens of thousands of newspapers every day, in every small city.
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