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Some initial thoughts on the Kindle

I love to read. I like all sorts of books – both fiction and non-fiction. On the fiction side of things, I’m a big fan of several different classics (Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte are some of my favorite authors), plus more modern authors like John Grisham and Tom Clancy. On the non-fiction side of things, I get a kick out of programming books, plus historical books and biographies.

Unfortunately I’ve never been disciplined enough to make good use of our local library, so the books are piling up around here. And I hate to get rid of books – I often re-read books I truly love. If things keeping going as they are, pretty soon the books will take over the house!

So it will be no surprise that I’ve had a lot of interest in the Kindle. Last week I finally took the plunge and purchased a one. (At least I waited until the price was under $300.) I also purchased my first book for it, and grabbed several free books. Here are some initial thoughts, in no particular order:

  • The text is easy to read, but I’m glad I have the ability to change the font size.
  • The user interface is pretty good. It is rare that I can’t figure out what to do.
  • Text to speech is a nice novelty feature, but I doubt I’ll use it much.
  • It doesn’t seem to like connecting to my Vista 64x desktop machine. It connects fine to my Vista 32x laptop though.
  • Every time I run into a book I can’t get on the Kindle I am annoyed.
  • Every time I run into a book that is more than $10 on the Kindle I am sad.
  • Being able to zoom in on tables and images is a good feature, but it doesn’t do enough. So far in my experience, even with the zoom feature I still can’t read the text in most tables. That sucks. It also may limit the usefulness of the Kindle for technical books.
  • There should be a Kindle reader for my computer. That would help me work around the tables/figures zoom problem.
  • After working with OneNote and a tablet PC for several years, it is painful to add notes/annotations via the cursor/keyboard interface on the Kindle instead of via a pen. I doubt I’ll use that feature much at all (which is too bad).
  • It is really easy to order a books directly from the Kindle. Almost too easy. (Clearly they’ve spent more time on the UI to spend more money than on other features.)
  • It should have come with some kind of cover, even a cheap one. I won’t be putting it into any bags until after I’ve got something to protect it.
  • I’ll bet is great when you travel. It makes me almost wish I traveled more.
  • Pay to subscribe to blogs?! Uh, no thank you.

You might be surprised that I don’t really have a strong opinion about the latest Kindle controversy, where users who purchased a book from Amazon eventually had the book removed from their Kindles with the purchase price refunded. The concern by many is the notion that Amazon shouldn’t have the right to delete content from a person’s Kindle. (As it turned out, the content in this case should never have been sold; the publisher did not have the rights to publish the material.) I’m not particularly worried about this issue, because I seriously doubt that it will happen again due to the negative publicity. And even if it did, my guess is that it would be a fairly rare occurrence.

Overall I’m finding my Kindle experience to be fun and interesting.

Posted by Avonelle on Tuesday, July 21, 2009.

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