My Kindle arrived at lunch time today, and I have been playing with it ever since:
There are a LOT of readers and writers on my f-list, so let me start this by saying, I have a lot of reasons for getting a kindle. I was very against the idea when it first came out, being very much a part of the "look, feel, smell" of real books crowd, plus the added bonus of "I buy a book, and it goes on my bookshelf forever". But the simple, sad fact is, that unless I win the lottery some time soon, my small house can only hold so many actual books. In the past few years, my bookshelves have gone from neat, alphabetized, and orderly, to a towering mess of books stacked three deep with no good way of finding any damn thing. I hate not being able to find a book when I want it, and we simply have no space to add more bookshelves. Yet every month, I buy more books to read, and it seems I want to keep most of them.
That being said, the number of "special" books I would actually cry over if lost in a house fire is much, much smaller. I could have manageable book shelves with them, even adding more every year. I am not giving up my beloved paper books, but I see the Kindle as a way to save me (and my husband, who graciously puts up with my book buying habit) from being buried under stacks of books. I read a book, on average, in two to three days. I'm reading all the time
, unless I'm writing. This is far from my only reason for buying a Kindle, but being unhappy about the state of my books is the main
reason. There will always be hard copy books I will buy. Just not all of them.
(That, and how cool will it be to read my own
books on this thing? Hee!)
Okay, enough of that.First impressions
~ First, it truly is the approximate size of a mass market paperback (as you can see in the above picture). It's about an inch wider and half an inch longer, but makes up for that by being slimmer and lighter.
~ It is impossible to describe the screen. You just have to see it for yourself, as pictures do not translate the look of electronic ink/paper well. You look at that pic above, and think "monochrome...yuck". But the reality is this: the technology for producing, particularly at a reasonable price, full color E-Ink screens is just not there yet. And also, the black on gray here is shockingly easy on the eyes. Guys, I am on a computer practically 24/7. I sit at one for work 40 hours a week, I write, edit, check LJ and e-mail at home...I can actually feel
a difference when reading on the Kindle, the E-Ink is really that remarkable. I have seen people complain about it being black on gray instead of black on white. Have you picked up a paperback lately? Do so now, flip it open. What color is the paper? Yes, gray. Black on gray. I have no real evidence to support this, but - I actually wonder if the black on gray is easier on the eyes that the more stark black on white would be? An interesting question.
~ I have read the first two chapters of the newest Mary Janice Davidson hardcover (for the Kindle friendly price of $9.99), and I can already tell I will be in love with this product. I d/led it in under 30 seconds on my lunch hour, and started reading. I didn't have to drive to the store, or pay the hefty $23.95 HC price. And when I'm done with it, I can move on to one of the other new books I d/led. This is unspeakably convenient. You should seriously see the stack of books that is ALWAYS on my nightstand. I love the idea of having all of those books in one handy, slim package.
~ Yes, the page fwd buttons are in the worst possible location. But I've already figured out how to hold it to read without accidentally hitting them, and I've only had the thing a matter of hours.
~ I've also already sent a couple of books I owned as html files to amazon for conversion. They came out just fine, which opens up the possibility for buying ebooks not yet available on the Kindle (though amazon is adding more titles every day.)
I haven't yet tried taking notes or browsing, but so far, I am very pleased with it, and believe it will function very well in the capacity for which it was purchased. I see people bitching all over the place about "if only it were $100 cheaper" and I shake my head. That $359 is the last money you'll have to spend. There are tons of sources for free ebooks - the classics, anyway. And I won't be spending anymore on Kindle books than I already was on actual books. You don't have to pay a fee to download, or a fee for the always connected wireless
. As far as techie gadgets go, I think $359 is pretty reasonable. Other, comparably priced e-readers, or even more expensive ones, don't do everything the Kindle does. And ironically, the same people who think the price is too rich for their blood probably own an Xbox, or a Playstation, or an iPod, or a Tivo...techie gadgets aren't cheap, and if you love to read, I think the kindle is worth it. (As an aside, you can bet that if I worked in the publishing field - ie editor or agent, reading tons of manuscripts - I'd have one and use it every single day.) And I can't tell you how nice it is that I will no longer have to pack three or four heavy books to get me through when I travel. :)
I'll write a more in depth review as I use more features, but for now, I'm extremely happy with my new gadget. :D