In love with Amazon Kindle 3
March 29, 2011 Leave a comment
I whine a lot, but this time I’ll be positive. Don’t get me wrong, nothing is perfect (as nothing can satisfy all people), but Kindle 3 is amazing device. Simple, working, good value for the money. I didn’t like the first Kindle… it was too proprietary, I kinda missed the second iteration completely and then the third version came. I just started to buy things from Amazon that time (mid 2010) and I couldn’t ignore all the hype – so I decided to learn more.
PDF support was crucial for me, and – let’s just jump over the theory and talk about actual experiences right away – it is there and it is good enough considering 6” display. I have some ideas how to make it even better for books that are not converted for the device and their font is smaller than ideal. You can read the document in landscape view – that’s expected – but you have only 100% and 150% (and then 200% and 300%) zoom – nothing between. 110% and 125% would make the matter much much better. You wouldn’t see all the borders and font would be much more readable. Maybe we will get this in some firmware update.
Talking about display – it’s great. It’s not perfect paper of course – and if you hold the Kindle against the lamp you’ll not be able to read it. But then – there are also books with glossy paper – and the problem is the same. Well, I moved my Kindle 20 cm aside and reading is just perfect. I also like that you can hold it in hand lying on your back. True – I have to change hands often (I’m a programmer, not a body builder ;-)) but my neck is happy. You know that reading in a bed is not really healthy, right? Anyway…
Kindle works like a mass storage, and while it ignores directories you create in your document folder, it has its Collections to organize content – or you can just stick with the ordering where most recently read books are on top. I, personally, am happy with it. I don’t care about web browser (it probably kills battery faster – and then that display size…) or Text-to-speech (though this one might be interesting). What I love is that it has integrated dictionary (two actually, British and American) which is cool for non-native reader. I even used it as a dictionary when reading something else from paper – keyboard on the device is fast enough to input the word, look-up is really quick this way.
Talking about keyboard… it doesn’t have numbers, but you can enter them either by using Sym key (it’s slow, but you can still write normal letters), or by holding Alt and pressing key from the upper row. Clever – and quite expected! That’s what I like – when things work how they suppose to. Turning pages is fast enough, waking up from sleep mode is fast too, pictures in sleep mode are nice touch. What can I say? I just like the gadget, really.
Of course, Kindle and Amazon both have some problems. We live in a globalized society, yet there are big price differences between amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. I normally buy CDs from UK, just to have the stuff sooner without dances around customs. But Kindle price was quite significant to risk my first order from .com. I bought Kindle ($140) and some dictionary ($20) and the whole thing didn’t cost me over $200 with packaging, custom fees, everything. That is around like 25% up to the price I see in the store. Now from UK, prices always change a bit after I click on Order (lower without VAT, but higher with VAT – probably because they are shown with UK VAT? not sure) and packaging and delivery prices to Slovakia are just ridiculous. Not to mention that Kindle was delivered via UPS and CDs from UK have to be picked up at our post office. (So far no accident, though our post is not to be 100% trusted. Or maybe it is… now, after all.)
Another thing is prices of Kindle editions of books. I was thinking about buying some Java or SW development related book. But when the paper version is $40 and Kindle is $30, I’m not really that sure. Yes, content is important, not the paper. Maybe the book itself is just $10, I don’t know. But having a book (and sometimes a nice book!)… there’s a bit of luxury in it or what. And you can lend it, share it with friends and colleagues in your team. Now lending on Kindle is kinda limited. I’d buy $10 version without slightest hesitation. I’d actually buy not one book, but 5 various books I’d probably not buy with current prices. I don’t know if I want to spend $30 on any of them. But spending $50 on – let’s say just 3 of them? No problem! With $10 for a good technology book I’d convince my friends to buy it too, why to lend it?
New and nice gadgets come more and more often – and maybe we will see some mind shift in business models too. I believe there will be profit for all.