Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kindle update

I posted a couple of weeks ago about my new Kindle. Since then, I've already come to love the thing so much that I can't imagine life without it. I've completed three novels and have two more downloaded and ready to read. Plus, I've purchased several of the books I had in paper copy so I've always got them handy on my Kindle. I've learned to make notes and highlight the passages that have special meaning to me or have things I want to remember. And, I've converted a couple of my technical books that were in PDF form to Kindle format and loaded them.

I had wondered if I was going to miss my books. Well, I'm still not ready to say I'm off of paper books entirely, but if I can continue to get the books I want in Kindle format, I'm beginning to think that my bookshelf is going to be much less crowded. I'm not missing my hard copy books so far. As a matter of fact, I'm really liking the ease of having them so readily available on my Kindle. I don't have to worry about transporting several books with me as I travel. For instance, I just made a trip to Dallas for the week and on my flights here, I finished one book and started another and then spent a bit of time reading sections of two others before going back to the main novel I'm engrossed in. And I did that all without doing anything other than use my thumbs!

I did check out the features of my Kindle that are under the menu title of "Experimental". This is where you can use the "free" Amazon Whispernet wireless service to connect to the web. The browser interface is pretty crude, but if you want to just read your Google, or other web mail, it works OK. But, I've decided that feature doesn't really "get me" like the book reader does. I don't envision my Kindle becoming my one do it all device, but for my books, it's aces.

I've read some reviews of other people's experience and it seems to be much the same as mine. Once you start using a Kindle, all the reasons you thought you might want to have "real" books start to disappear. Much like my switch over to a Mac, this switch may be another one that truly changes the way I do things...and very much so for the better!

---- Update to this post ----
I just read a post at Seth Godin's blog entitled Random Thoughts about the Kindle. Some of his ideas are interesting about how he thinks the Kindle could be improved that may appeal to some. I find I have mixed emotions about these "improvements" he mentions. As I mentioned above, I like my Kindle because it makes reading easier, faster and it's just cool (I love it when people stop to comment on it when they see me reading it). Seth talks about having a more interactive component that allows you to comment, see other people's comments, and alot more. But, when I'm reading an "I don't want to think" novel and just be entertained, I'm not sure the thought of stopping in the middle of a paragraph to comment on the passage and read what 40 other people are saying about it is what I want. I think I'd like that functionality available for lookup, but not taking up screen real estate on my display as I'm reading. It'll be interesting to see how Amazon and the public feels about these kinds of features and if any of them get implemented in future Kindle software updates.


Noons said...

thanks for the report, Karen.

This is beginning to read like it's a goer.

I've been praying for years that someone will come up with this sort of thing soon, after all it's been available in various forms in Japan only, for quite a while.

Been using my Palms for this sort of thing, but the whole process is clunky and the variety available is not very large.

From your description, the Kindle is looking very usable and practical.

Let's hope its format remains reasonably open so folks can convert their adobe -and other- stuff to it.

Definitely will give it a second look.

jan van mourik said...

Lesson 1: don't leave your Kindle attached to your pc when you leave the hotel room. Kindle will discharge :-(

So far, I really like the Kindle a lot. Even pdf files look OK on it. Sure, some things won't get through decently, like graphs and such. And sometimes they do come through, but are just too small to be readable. But I can live with that, it's nice to email white papers and such to you Kindle so you can go through them on the plane. And to save yourself packing all those books.

Kerry Osborne said...

Thanks for the info Karen.

I also have been using a palm device (Treo phone actually) with a software package called ereader for several years. It has completely changed my reading habits. I used to pretty much read a book until I finished it (or until I got tired of it - at which point I put it down and rarely if ever picked it up again). Now I routinely have 5-10 books going at any given time. If I get bored with one I switch to another, but instead of never going back, I now find myself jumping between several. Also, the fact that I've got my phone/book with me all the times means I am able to read whenever I normally had been wasting time (at the doctor's office, waiting for someone at lunch, etc...) And the benefits of a single, small, light weight device over a suitcase full of books is pretty awesome. And I can set the size of the font - great for us guys whose arms are almost to short to read normal sized print anymore. The choice of material is not perfect (no Oracle books to speak of). I think that's the biggest negative but may be the area where the Kindle can really make a difference. Also, the ability to convert Adobe format is a big plus for Kindle. I'm not ready to switch yet, but I'm watching closely.