Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Kindle Is Great In Bed!

I've had my Amazon Kindle book reader for a little over a week now, and I love it! In my first Kindle review I discussed its basic functions and my first impressions, but now that I've finished reading one novel, I can better share my experience.

The first book I purchased was Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. Amazon.com currently has over 110,000 books available for the Kindle, but Tropic of Cancer had been on my reading list for a while, and it was a mere 80 cents. That was a savings of 68% over the print edition. I noticed that Kindle editions of older novels are very affordable. There are similar savings on new novels. You can save 45% on A New Earth (Oprah's Book Club). You can save 62% on When You Are Engulfed in Flames. And you can save 64% on What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.

Books download via Whispernet directly to your Kindle in about a minute. It's almost too easy. I can conveniently browse, buy, and read almost anywhere... but mostly in bed it seems.

The reading experience has been so comfortable. When I'm engrossed in a book, I'm not even thinking about the technology I'm using. The high-resolution screen is easy on the eyes. There is no glare, and the black "electronic ink" on the gray background feels just like a paperback. But like a paperback, the Kindle has no backlight, so you still need a light source. However, even in dim light, I can still read the screen.

The Kindle has six font sizes you can easily switch between. I prefer the default size, but there are three larger sizes. Using the largest font, I can easily read the screen from three feet away.

The battery life is impressive. In fact, I've owned many electronic gadgets, but the Kindle battery life is the best I've ever seen. Of course this is mostly due to the new technology of electronic-paper, but the reason doesn't matter. The bottom line is that the battery can easily last 5 days with normal use and the occasional downloading.

One odd concern I had was how quick can I tuck the Kindle away when I'm done reading. It's not really an odd question I guess since people like to read while waiting in line, or for a plane, or for a dentist appointment. I found that bookmarking a page in the Kindle was simple -- just scroll to and click on the upper right corner. Then you can switch in and out of standby mode by holding the alt key and pressing the font key. But even if you forget to bookmark, the Kindle will still remember your last location in every book you have. So all you really have to do in a hurry is switch the Kindle to standby.

Which, by the way, the Kindle has the most artsy standby mode I've ever seen. It randomly puts an image on the screen... it might be the portrait of an author, or some ancient Egyptian art, but it is always interesting.

Here are some other things I've learned about the Kindle in the past week.

While reading, you can press alt-T to see the current time in the lower left corner. (I knew this function had to be available somehow. It just took me a while to find it.)

The Kindle web browser has some features integrated with Google maps. If you press alt-1 you will see a map of your current location. Pressing alt-2 is supposed to map nearby gas stations, and pressing alt-3 is supposed to map nearby restaurants, but I couldn't get those last two functions to work! Google didn't seem to understand the location information that the browser was sending to it. I'm hoping this problem will be fixed soon.

If you'd like to convert a Word or PDF document for use on your Kindle, you can email it to yourname@kindle.com (check your Amazon account for your correct Kindle address and to whitelist any address you want to send from). Having Amazon convert docs and send them to your Kindle costs ten cents per doc. However, you can also email your docs to yourname@free.kindle.com and they will convert and send it back to your email account for free. Then it's up to you to send the doc to your Kindle by a USB connection.

If you're sitting at your computer and reading a long article and thinking to yourself "gee, I'd rather read this later on my Kindle," well, there is a free service for you. It's called Instapaper. You use a bookmarklet to save pages while on your PC, and then using the Kindle web browser you can easily access them later. Instapaper was designed with the iPhone in mind, but the simple interface works perfectly well with the Kindle.

In my previous review I mentioned Many Books, but I think it deserves another plug. It's a great source for FREE public domain books you can download straight to your Kindle. They offer their texts in the Mobipocket file format which is compatible with the Kindle.

So my conclusion is that I love the Kindle. It is a great product, and I will be using it for a very long time. If you're thinking of buying one, consider clicking this link so I can earn a little commission: Amazon Kindle $359.


Trung said...

that's great about the kindle. it sounds like a great thing to have on a long plane ride! btw, stay away from "a new earth" unless you like dry material! i swear i couldn't get through that book quickly enough!

Prince of Design said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prince of Design said...

The Kindle is an outstanding and revolutionary product! Please visit http://www.prokindle.com for more info about the Kindle!