Pretty much everyone and their uncle has written about the Kindle 2 now. Not one to be left behind, I wanted to write down my thoughts.
I never had a Kindle 1. I looked at a friend’s once, and read some reviews and such, but that was the extent of my experience. But when the Kindle 2 started shipping last week, I ordered one. I’ve now read about one and a half books on it, and wanted to write about it.
First, why did I buy one? Well, a few reasons:
1. I like to read bestseller types of books, usually paperbacks; I don’t like hardcovers as much, as they’re too big to fit in my bag, and more expensive. But, this means I’m usually a year or so behind my favorite authors. With the Kindle, the brand new books (otherwise only available in hardcover) are only about $10.
2. I travel a lot, and I like to read on planes. But don’t you hate it when you only have 40 pages left in a book when you get on, so you have to take two books? And, to add to the problem, I’m a procrastinator, which means I’m always perusing the airport newsstands looking for a new book…and if there’s nothing there that sounds good, I have to settle for something that doesn’t.
3. I’ve got hundreds of old paperbacks piled up in my house, and have no idea what to do with them. Can’t really sell them, as they’re generally not worth anything. I could give them to friends, but I’ve got more books than I have friends who read the same genres. And based on past experience, with only a couple of exceptions, the likelihood of my re-reading one of these books later is approximately zero.
So…in came the Kindle.
My first impression? It’s thinner and lighter than I thought. I also got the leather cover for it, which snaps onto the Kindle with a couple of metal clips. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about this cover, but it seems to work fine for me.
Downloading books works as advertised – and it’s truly seamless. Seems to take about 20 seconds for a new book to download, which I can’t complain about.
The menu system seems painfully slow. I think it’s just the nature of the display, in that updates take a while. This doesn’t affect the reading experience at all, though – so it’s only when you’re in there screwing around do you notice it.
So on to the reading experience. I was a little nervous about this; I actually read an e-book on an iPaq way back in the day, and it was somewhat painful…enough so I only read one. So I was a little apprehensive about the Kindle. I asked Brad about his – he said it took him about 5 Kindle books, and then he was ambivalent as to whether he read a new book on his Kindle or on paper. That didn’t sound so bad.
So I sat down on Saturday, downloaded a new book, and started reading it. At first, everything seemed weird…but then, actually very quickly, the Kindle sort of disappeared and I became engrossed in the book, just like I do with a paper book. The screen contrast was fine, the paging controls were convenient enough, everything just worked, and got out of the way. By the time I was halfway through the book, I was noticing how it was actually more comfortable than a regular book in some ways…for example, you can hold the Kindle, and page through it, with one hand.
It makes buying new books a little too easy. Similar to the Apple TV (which I will write about one of these days), the Kindle is like a cash register that’s hooked up to Amazon.com. Genius in that way.
I do wish it had more screen and less keyboard…but I suppose you can’t have everything. It should have come with a case, and maybe a credit for a free book. But once you get past all that, get your case, order a book, it works. Really well.
So all in all, I’m liking the Kindle a lot. It’s small, light, and should be easy to travel with. I don’t notice it when I’m reading. It just works.
(Note – Amazon.com links in this post are affiliate links; if you use one to buy something, maybe I’ll make enough to buy a new book!)