Saturday, March 7, 2009

2 Kindle Or Not 2 Kindle

Ever since Amazon came out with Kindle and then with Kindle 2, I've been considering buying one. However, it's a fairly expensive toy, currently priced at $359. Being a somewhat frugal shopper, I have compiled a pro/con list for the purchase.

  • Coolness factor: a new exciting gadget to play with and to show off
  • Fast: I don't have to wait for Amazon to ship me the book I want
  • E-ink: supposed to be great for reading on the screen
  • Notes: can easily take notes while I am reading or mark pages to quote for reviews! I am usually too lazy to do so if I have to find paper & pencil...
  • E-books: I could read more e-books and there's a ton of free reading out there
  • Slim: Looks much easier to hold and carry around than some of the hardbacks I sport around my house
  • Searchable: more property of e-books than Kindle, but when I need to find a particular quote, it's much easier with electronic text.
  • xkcd reason: see comic here
  • File types: Proprietary format for Amazon-bought books that are non-transferable and no native support for PDF files (though it gets half a point for having a converter)
  • Backlight: There isn't one. I won't be able to read in bed with the light off.
  • Library: I like books on shelves. Awesome covers are important. They make me feel welcome when I come home. Kindle would reduce paper book purchases.
  • Commute: I don't have any daily commute time during which I could use a Kindle
  • Airplanes: I suspect an airplane would make you turn the device off for takeoff and landing and long travel is when the slim size would have the biggest advantage
  • Internet: I already have a smart phone with 3G connection. There is no reason to use Kindle to that purpose.
  • Laptop: I've read books on my laptop, but I don't enjoy it as much. What if I have the same reduction in reading experience with Kindle too?
  • Availability: There are more books available in print than as e-books.
After creating the list I am still undecided. Do you have any experience with an electronic book reader? Care to suggest whether it's a worthwhile purchase or not?


  1. One more con: Can't lend your favourite books to your favourite friends like you could with physical books. :P

    Also, have a look at the eSlick:

    Cheaper, native PDF support, built in mp3 player, sexier. But no 3g, etc.

  2. Very interesting. Same size screen, but a smaller box. I could probably live without keyboard as long as there is good software with bookmarks. $100 less is nice too, though it loses the luxury of getting new books online. Moving everything through the computer is a pain.

    I would totally get it if it was under $200... I wonder what's making these readers so expensive... They don't even have color displays. OLPC laptops cost less!

  3. Hi Maria,

    Looks like you've done your research. But in response to:

    "Laptop: I've read books on my laptop, but I don't enjoy it as much. What if I have the same reduction in reading experience with Kindle too?"

    I tried to read a pdf book on my laptop ... and gave up within 20 minutes. It was too uncomfortable; I just could not read a whole book that way.

    However, I wouldn't be without my Sony eReader now. Never get eye-strain and it's actually easier to handle than a book (though I still love my 'proper' books too).

    So, in a nutshell, there is no problem where comfort is concerned.

  4. wend,

    Why did you choose to get Sony eReader vs Kindle or any other alternative on the market? And do you find yourself using it a lot?

  5. Maria,

    I suggest you move to SF so that you'll have plenty of commute time to use your Kindle. Problem solved! :)

  6. Maria,

    I'm in the UK ... we don't have the Kindle option here. The Sony eReader was the best choice among the readers available.

    And, yes, I read on it almost daily. I actually find I'm reading more now than ever because I can pull the eReader out anywhere ... even in shopping queues!

    Bizarely, I find I'm reading faster too. The screen is just the perfect size for me.

    The thing I wish I had, which the Kindle offers, is the ability to download ebooks instantly and anywhere. Plus the note taking facility is pretty cool ... looks like it'll be a while before the UK gets that facility (if ever).

    My eReader has side-effects too - It doesn't replace my much loved authors/series in Hardback formats. But, I'm gaining space after realising I needn't have so many paperbacks cluttering up the house. A bonus that my fella is ecstatic about :o)

  7. I cannot recommend enough that you stop by James Harris' site here:

    and read his posts. The latest is about audio books but I think the one next down is about the Kindle. James is really big on reading with the new tech, as opposed to me, the dinosaur, and he brings up some very good points in the post and in his comments to me about the Kindle that I hadn't considered. He has posted on the Kindle and about reading using tech many times. I think you'd find his site very interesting.

  8. wend,
    What you are saying sounds pretty appealing. I do hate those shopping lines... And if it made me read faster that would be golden, but that's the first time I've heard of that.

    Thanks for the link. I liked the post, though I don't think I am likely to put Kindle on my iPod since I want the screen to be bigger than that. But the blog in general looks pretty interesting, adding to my reader list.