I recently went on a 2 and a half week holiday, and in the airport I broke and bought an Amazon Kindle…
Why did I do this? I’d borrowed my mums Kindle for a week and was really impressed with it, and I was sick an tired of 90% of the weight of my carry on luggage being taken up by dead tree.
Don’t get me wrong I love books, I will never stop reading books but given the option of carrying around this:
I know which I prefer, I still own a copy of that hard cover but the Kindle was a heck of a lot more comfortable to read on a plane. This, I think, is the key selling point of the Kindle. If you are a daily commuter or a traveler the Kindle is a a lightweight easy way to read, the e-ink is so convincing that I often found myself going to flip the page manually as I would have a book.
I’ve read more since I got my Kindle than I think I would have without it, simply because it was there and easy to get at.
That said the Kindle is not without faults, if I buy a physical book it joins the other books in my library and either I or Annabel can read it. This isn’t really possible with the Kindle, if I buy a book on my Amazon account then I can only read it on my Kindle and vice-versa if she buys it on her Kindle I can’t read it on mine. This issue isn’t just endemic to the Kindle but to any device which allows you to download content to a device, it’s an issue with our X-Boxes (Yes we have one each) it’s an issue with our phones (Both Android) it’s an issue with our iTunes libraries (Annabel buys music on iTunes I refuse to because of this reason) and it would be an issue if I had an iPad to match Annabel’s iPad.
This is the main reason I am reticent about buying digital content, it’s linked to an account and not a household like physical media, there is another blog post in this but it really annoys me that no one has come up with a way of saying these people live together let them all have equal access to this content. This is also the reason that my kindle is currently registered as “Annabel’s 2nd Kindle” she bought a bunch of books that I want to read and I can’t read them unless I pretend to be her.
My second issue with the Kindle is that I like owning physical books, I like buying books, I like reading them, I like seeing them on my book shelf. What I don’t like is having to buy books that I want to own the hard copy of twice. With a CD I have the option of format shifting the CD to MP3 to listen to on my iPod, I don’t really have that option on my Kindle, so if I want to read a book that I have already bought I have to pony up the cash for it again. Why can’t books come with a single use code that allows me to say “Hey I bought this book legitimately from a book store let me have the digital copy for free” I know an awful lot of technical books are doing this, giving you free access to a pdf or .mobi version of the book which you can download if you have bought the book, why not do this for print?
Better yet since amazon knows what books I’ve bought off of them, why not give me the kindle version of those books for free if I buy the physical book from Amazon. That gives them a competitive advantage over other re-sellers, not only do you get Amazon’s prices and amazing customer service, but you also get the a digital copy of the book for free, I’d buy into that, I’d probably never buy books from anyone else ever again.
Aside from these issues though I’m loving the Kindle, I’ve updated the firmware so that I can put my own wallpapers on it, I’ve even tried to put a Manga on it using Mangle, it was legible but the text was a little too small for my liking, that is down to the Manga and not the Kindle though.
I’ve even signed up for a beta copy of the Kindle Developer Kit, though I’ve not heard back from them about this yet.
If you are thinking of getting a Kindle but have held back because you weren’t sure, go for it, it’s awesome. I held back for while but having tried it I love it.