Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What I Love About My Kindle 2

I haven't had my Kindle 2 for long, but I am already totally in love with it. I have an ancient PDA I used to read books on, and that was kinda cool, but there were lots of awkward things about eBooks back then. This gizmo solves the biggest problems.
  1. It used to be quite a maze to navigate to find and then download the books you wanted on the pda, and it seemed every book had a different mechanism and copy protection technique. With this, getting books on to the Kindle couldn't be any easier! It's got a wifi connection called WhisperNet. You can search through the Kindle store from the device itself, and when you select a book to purchase, it downloads and is ready for reading almost immediately. You can also purchase books from the Amazon web site on your computer, and next time you turn on the Kindle - voila, the book will automatically download and appear.
  2. The eInk technology is very easy on your eyes - page changes are quick. In almost no time, you aren't even aware that you are reading on a gizmo rather than from a regular book.
  3. Placement of the next and prev page buttons makes them very easy to use.
  4. One of my favorite features is the ability to change the size of the text of the book you are reading. This means that if it's late or I'm tired, I can magically turn my book into a large print edition. If not, I can make the text smaller and see more on the screen at a time. (I suspect that aging eyesight is cruelest for speed readers - whose reading speed depends on scanning techniques that benefit from a LOT of text in one glance.)
  5. The thing I love the most is the search ability. One of my volunteer tasks is finding inspirational readings for a Unity Church each week, and I often search texts from most of the major religions, including the words of Jesus, A Course in Miracles, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, The Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu, The Dhammapada of Buddha ..... With all of these on my kindle, I can simply search for terms related to the topic at hand, get a list of all of the hits in the items on my kindle, and then navigating to the hits is super simple.
  6. It is cool to be able to highlight a passage and make notes on a page, all without defacing a book (something I still struggle with.) Best of all, if I come across a word I'm not familiar with, I can instantly look it up in the dictionary included. How cool is that?!
Not everything is perfect, of course. One of the first thing that some of us have wondered about is backlighting - if you're in a low light situation, wouldn't it be nice to turn on a screen backlight for better contrast? Well, unfortunately, with that wonderful eInk technology, that's not possible. If you want to read in bed with the lights off, you're going to need a regular book light.

It's nice having the little keyboard on there for taking notes, though I have trouble seeing the gray letters on the tiny keys. It's a standard querty keyboard though, so once your thumbs and noggin get used to it, it's pretty simple to use.

If I could make any changes, they would be:
  1. Include a protective cover.
  2. Put a non-slip backing on it so make it easier to hold.
  3. Maybe include some sort of leash - that clips into the side slots and has a handle that goes around your wrist. (Then you don't have to worry about dozing off and dropping the sucker. If you don't buy the extended warranty plan, it can cost big bucks to replace a broken screen. This is well made, but definitely couldn't be called rugged.)
  4. Most of all, there is no way to pass on your books to anyone else. These are priced pretty well - most commercial new books are ~ $10. And Amazon keeps an archive of all the books you purchase, so you can delete them from the Kindle, and redownload them from the archive at no charge. However, what I'd like to be able to do is to delete a book I've read from my Kindle, then transfer the ownership of that book to someone else's Kindle. Amazon could charge a small fee for the transfer, and everyone would benefit.
  5. There are no folders - all of your books go in one big list. You can sort the list alphabetically by title, author, or by most recently downloaded, but still, I'd like to be able to put my books in folders.
  6. It's all black and white, which is fine for reading fiction, but there are lots of books with pictures and diagrams where color really enhances the information.
  7. After seeing my son's iPhone, it would be cool to have a touch screen interface rather than the little square navigation button. I also found it easier to use graffiti on the PDA to make notes, rather than using the keyboard on the Kindle, but maybe that's just because I haven't used it much yet.
I don't travel often, but I'm looking forward to the next trip - when I can load up the kindle with a bunch of books, with no added weight to my carry-on. Very cool!

1 comment:

Life Looms Large said...

Thanks for the thorough review of the Kindle 2. I would never have guessed you couldn't read in bed with the lights out. I'm quite the insomniac, and lights and page-turning noise bother my husband. So I guess the Kindle 2 wouldn't solve both of those problems.

Hopefully Amazon (or whoever actually makes the Kindle) will keep improving it!! I've wondered how it would be for craft books....the idea of having them all in one searchable place is very cool....but without color, not as much!

I would love that search function though. I often want to go back to something later, and it bugs me that regular books aren't searchable! (Just like it bugs me sometimes that real life doesn't have a rewind capability like Tivo does!)

Thanks again for all the info! I'm sticking to library books for the moment...but some day an electronic book thingie is in my future!