26 November 2009
I finished reading the first book that I downloaded onto the Amazon Kindle. I didn't know whether I'd get used to reading books on the Kindle and grow to like it, or if it would become another semi-discarded electronic gizmo taking storage space somewhere.
As it turned out, I like it far more than I thought I would. In fact, I've downloaded a few more books onto the Kindle, despite having a stack of unread print books that require my attention.
Here are the pluses and minuses:
It can store up to 1,500 books.
It is light weight.
The screen quality is excellent; it is very easy to read.
Built-in dictionary can be used by moving the cursor to a word and pushing a button.
Keyboard allows inserting comments and notes into the text of a book.
Quotes can be clipped and stored.
It can hold MP3 music for replay during reading, either through earbuds or built-in speakers.
Multiple-day battery life; rapid recharging.
Books download in one minute or less.
Downloaded books cost less than print books. I just downloaded a NYT bestseller book for $8.60. It's marked-down retail hardcover price is $19.39.
Some Kindle books are free.
Amazon has >300,000 books on Kindle.
Kindle can receive daily newspaper downloads at a reduced subscription price, including NYT, WSJ and IBD plus most major metro dailies.
Kindle can receive weekly and monthly magazine downloads at a reduced subscription price.
Documents can be sent to your Kindle for a small fee paid to Amazon.
Amazon keeps your purchases in a file for re-loading in case your Kindle is damaged or replaced.
It is easier to carry than books, magazines and newspapers.
It has a voice feature that will read a book or magazine to you.
It's risky to read it in the bath tub - dropping it in the water is fatal.
Like all electronic devices, it will one day be rendered out of date by newer versions.
Competing products from Barnes & Noble and (soon) Apple may be more to your liking.
It's hard to share books on Kindle with a friend, or sell them to a used book store.
Not all books are available in Kindle format, although Amazon claims that it's moving in that direction.
The screen is black and white only.
Amazon also offers Kindle in an iPhone and a computer format. I can't imagine trying to read a book via iPhone format, and a book on computer lacks portability and simplicity.
The Kindle is just right for most of the reading I do. It can't replace colorful magazines, cookbooks or other print material that has an art content. But for daily reading, I think it's terrific.