musings of a kindleworm

January 12, 2008

My Amazon Kindle arrived last Monday — it has been a good week. I finished reading my first book, so here are some impressions of my experience so far.

The Good

  • The text is crisp, clean, and readable.
  • The battery life and wireless signal have both been excellent. I’ve charged it a few times, but haven’t even gotten the battery below halfway yet.
  • For all the critique about how ugly it is, I don’t think it’s so bad in person.
  • I just read a book that didn’t require a tree to be produced. It also isn’t going to require space on a bookshelf.
  • I love the fact that I can read with one hand. Sometimes I try to read while feeding my son a bottle. With a book…not so easy. With the Kindle…a piece of cake.
  • One of my personal concerns was that it is so easy to purchase books that I would get myself in trouble by making a lot of impulsive purchases. It’s actually worked the other way around. I’ve only purchased the one book that I’ve read so far. Usually I buy books because I want to have them available for when I am ready to read them. With the Kindle, I don’t have to buy them until the moment I’m ready to begin.
  • The fact that you can download samples means that I have been able to explore a few other books I had on my wish list. This is actually helping me make better decisions about books to read. I have had The 4-Hour Work Week on my wish list for a while. After reading the intro and sample, I decided it wasn’t a book that was going to be worth my time.
  • I’ve been able to load a few .doc and .pdf files on there as reference material. It is a piece of cake to search through those documents for what I’m looking for.

The Improvable

  • I wish the screen had a little more contrast to it, or could be adjusted. With good lighting, it is very readable, but in medium to lower light settings, I think it is actually a tad bit more difficult to read than a book.
  • The library of what is available is still quite limited. I’m hoping that the initial popularity of the Kindle will help change that more quickly.
  • The case that came with the Kindle looks really nice. When it is closed, the Kindle is secure, but when the case is open, I wouldn’t want to rely on it to keep the Kindle securely in place.
  • I like that I can easily copy highlights and notes from my Kindle to my book notes database on my Mac. But, it is cumbersome. All the notes and highlights for all books live in one file which is quickly going to grow pretty large unless I regularly clean them out, but then I think I lose the highlights and notes made on the Kindle itself.
  • I’d like to see more ways to sort through the contents of the Kindle. I usually have it set to sort the books based on how recently they have been accessed. That is pretty useful, but more options would be helpful. I had a spare 1gb SD card which I put in. I’d like to use it as an archive of sorts for books that I want to search, but not have to see all the time. Unfortunately, there is no way to have the Kindle home screen hide the titles that are on the SD card.

The Jury Is Still Out

  • My next purchase will probably be a TNIV Bible. The idea of having a Bible on here is appealing, but obviously the structure of the Bible makes it unique to navigate through. From the sample, it seems like they’ve made it pretty easy to work through with lots of links to chapters, etc. but I won’t know until I’ve had multiple chances to use it.
  • There has been a lot of critique of the buttons on the side. I find that the buttons on the left side work well for me as I often just hold it in the left hand. Because the one on the right hand side is angled down, it does seem a bit awkward. Because of the way I’ve been holding it, it has worked fine so far, but I might find that I’m limited to only holding it this way which could cause some fatigue.
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