I was holding out for the next generation Kindle. I didn't want to spend the money on a "version 1.0" product. My wife had other plans. She decided to give me one of the best birthday gifts I've ever received: a shiny new Kindle. The gift arrived Friday afternoon and boy, do I love it!
I've had less than 48 hours to explore the device and content options, including both Amazon and non-Amazon, but here are a few initial observations:
The form factor is just right...sort of. The overall size is perfect. Small enough to fit comfortably in a bag, feels right when you're holding and reading from it, etc., but the display is too small. IOW, Amazon's designers used up too much precious surface area for the Chiclets keyboard at the expense of the reading area. Here's to hoping that a future version does away with the physical keyboard and offers a virtual keyboard on a larger, touchscreen, display.
The reading experience is as good as advertised. eInk rocks. Need I say more?
Every Kindle owner should know about Feedbooks. I talked about it earlier on Kindleville but finally got a chance to try it out for myself. Loads of free e-books are available for seamless download. My first test was Animal Farm but I'm sure I'll be back for more later.
130,000 is a smaller number than you think. I'm referring to the number of Kindle edition books available on Amazon. As of right this minute there are 131,637 books available, and while many bestsellers are there, it's amazing how many I want that aren't. I'm looking for a great World War II book to read now that I've finished Citizen Soldier and World War II For Dummies. The selection is fairly limited and I can see where this will be a roll of the dice every time I go searching...at least until the number of available titles grows by a factor of 10.
Ditto for newspapers and magazines. I was thinking about returning to BusinessWeek via the Kindle but it's not an option...yet. There are only 16 magazines and 19 newspapers available. Talk about tiny numbers... At about $1.50 per month for several magazines the price feels right, although I've seen plenty of customer complaints on Amazon regarding content that's in the print magazine but not the Kindle edition. Amazon and their publishing partners need to fix this ASAP.
Why would I pay for newspapers/magazines? I'm wondering whether I can rig up an RSS feed option where the key newspapers and magazines are accessible via the Kindle's browser instead...all for free. I'll dig into it and see if I can come up with a viable solution.
The browser is as slow as advertised. I've heard complaints before and they're legit. In Amazon's defense, Kindle is an e-book reader first and the browser is just an experimental feature. As slow as it is I hope it doesn't go away. It will do in a pinch but you wouldn't want to depend on it for very long.
Thank goodness for the reset button. Like most electronic devices the Kindle has its own hard reset button. I skimmed over the info about it in the user's guide and didn't give it another thought...till my Kindle locked up. Actually, I've had to pop the back cover off and stick a paperclip in it twice now. Two resets in less than 48 hours. Quite annoying. I hope this trend doesn't continue, but I'm thinking about adding a paperclip holder to the wrap-around book cover the Kindle ships with, just in case.
Should I just start sending my paycheck directly to Jeff Bezos? I've only bought one book and signed up for one trial magazine subscription so far but I can see where it would be easy to go nuts buying content. It's ridiculously easy and the download speed is fast...faster than loading a simple web page in the browser, or so it seems.
Despite the warts I'm quite happy with my Kindle. Now I need to look into all those hacks and other tricks I've heard so much about...