A few weeks ago, I suggested that my new Amazon Kindle was one of just a few things that I’d want to take with me to my imagined small cabin in the woods. Now, after using the Kindle for a few more weeks, I am liking it even more.
My Kindle made a good impression right off the bat, beginning with the packaging. When the box was opened and the Kindle was revealed, I was surprised to see a picture on the screen. However, I learned that the screen has very low power consumption and that the Kindle screen is always on. So, even when the Kindle is off, the screen is on, and shows one of several black and white pictures.
Once the Kindle was taken from the box and examined, it felt right. My friend Jim has an original Kindle. I wasn’t too impressed with it. It had an odd pyramidal shape and didn’t feel solid. The new Kindle corrects both of these perceptions. The shape is now a nice rounded square with a uniform depth, and the Kindle has a very solid feel to it.
The screen uses an interesting ink technology that I find to be very readable. The display process applies ink to the screen. When a new page is shown, the screen flashes to black (all ink) and then ink is removed to leave the resulting text. At first I thought that the flashing would be annoying, but it quickly became unnoticeable. I’ve found the screen to be easy to read in both bright and normal lighting. However, since the screen is not backlit, you cannot read it in the dark. So, in any conditions where you can read a book, you can read the Kindle. Plus, the size makes it super-convenient to read while at home, while traveling, or even while walking on the treadmill.
The Kindle is often called an electronic book, but it is really electronic books. Many books can be installed to the Kindle, and you can easily switch between any of the installed books. Books can be purchased from amazon.com, and are then automatically installed to the Kindle via wireless service. Purchased books can be removed from the Kindle, and then reinstalled at any later time. My Kindle currently has:
- The English Standard Version of the Bible
- The New American Standard Version of the Bible
- Flint, by Louis L’Amour
- O’Fallon, by Louis L’Amour
- Radigan, by Louis L’Amour
- The Last of the Breed, by Louis L’Amour
- The Haunted Mesa, by Louis L’Amour (not a very good book)
- Black / Red / White: Circle Trilogy, by Ted Dekker
- Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, by Mark R. Levin
What I’ve learned is that I really like the Kindle for reading fiction, biographies, and other “story-like” books. However, I don’t enjoy it so much when reading something that might not be read sequentially (such as the Bible or a technical book) or that you may want to refer back to while reading. For instance, navigating the Bible via a table-of-contents is just too cumbersome to make the Bible useful in a church or study situation. However, for devotional reading (where you start at some location and read sequentially over several days), the Bible on a Kindle is just fine.
Additionally, there are some other disadvantages.
- You can’t loan a book to some one else after you’ve finished reading it.
- You can’t sell the book in a used book store or a garage sale.
- Even if you own the book in print format, you have to buy the Kindle version of the book at full price.
- Once a book is removed from the Kindle, you’re dependent upon amazon.com to be able to restore it back onto the device if you ever want it again.
- Not all books are available in Kindle format.
However, there are some advantages, too.
- Don’t know what a word means? Move the cursor over the word to see the definition.
- The text of the book can be searched.
- The text of the book can be highlighted.
- Books take up less room on the Kindle than on a bookshelf.
- Kindle books are often less expensive than print editions. For example, the Black/Red/White: Circle Trilogy costs less than $10. (Though you’d have to read a lot of books to overtake the cost of the Kindle.)
It is cool to be able to turn on the wireless feature, shop in the amazon.com store, and have a book automatically downloaded to the Kindle. There’s a certain “wow” factor to it.
I turn off the wireless feature when I’m not using it to connect to the amazon.com store. This greatly extends the battery life from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
In summary, I’ve been very impressed with the Kindle. The initial cost makes it unlikely that it will be a money-saving purchase, but I do find that I’m reading more with the Kindle than I had been reading without it. It’s just so convenient to pick up and read for a few minutes.