Endless Curiosity

September 26, 2009

My Kindle

Filed under: Technology — Alec @ 11:32 am

I have a Kindle. Sometimes I wonder why I bought it.

The disadvantages are several:

  • I can’t give a Kindle book to someone after I’ve read it. This is a big deal because if I loved the book I want other people to read it. I’ve ended up buying paperback versions of a book I read on my Kindle┬ájust so I can give the book to someone else to read.
  • I can’t sell a Kindle book after I’ve read it. Not a big deal as I usually take real books to The Bookworm for credit, then never use the credit.
  • It’s difficult to flick through a Kindle book to refresh your mind on something you read earlier. Yes, you can page through but it’s slow and somewhat painful. The search only works if you know what you are searching for. Interestingly, reading a book using the free Kindle Reader on an iPhone or iPod Touch is in some ways easier – the page changing is much faster.
  • It’s much easier to get an overall feeling for a book with a real book. You can flick through it and sample a piece of text here and there, whereas a Kindle book feels much more constrained, much more of a tunnel vision.

On the other hand, the advantages are:

  • I can carry lots of books with me in one package. This is good for the times when I travel and will be doing a lot of reading – which is seldom (when I travel I am usually with other people and doing things, and am lucky if I get through a single book on a trip.)
  • I can read a few pages of a book until I get bored with it, then read some of another book until I get bored with that. However, this is not all goodness as sometimes it’s better to simply read a book until you are done with that book. It’s a bit like the difference between single-tasking and multi-tasking – single tasking is shown to be more effective.
  • I can get a book instantly. Not a big deal for me generally because I’m content to wait for two days for a real book to arrive (I’m a member of Amazon Prime).
  • I can get books before they come out in paperback. I don’t particularly like hardbacks – they are big and bulky and cost more, and I much prefer paperbacks.
  • Kindle books are marginally cheaper than paperbacks. They are usually $9.99, while paperbacks are usually in the $10-12 range. Not a big deal.
  • While the iPhone Kindle Reader can be read in any light (it has a backlit screen while the Kindle uses digital ink and needs external lighting) and has much faster page turning, the Kindle Reader requires charging far more often than does the Kindle.

After having owned a Kindle for a while and having maybe 50 books, and having a Kindle reader on my iPod, I have the following conclusions:

  • I value the Kindle most for the ability to get books before they come out in paperback. Other than that I’d rather get the book in paperback.
  • While the iPhone Kindle Reader has limited functionality – e.g., you can’t create bookmarks or notes – if I had to do it again I’d use the free iPhone Kindle Reader and not bother with an actual Kindle.

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