View Full Version : Kindle Review by a book lover


SanAntone
11-20-2007, 11:14 PM
I received my Kindle today and I thought I'd share my thoughts for those of you waiting for your Kindle or trying to make a decision.

First, Amazon clearly took a page from Apple. The packaging was very clever. The box looked like a book and everything was clean and neat. What really was amazing to me, and it made me feel like the Kindle was mine right away, was that right after I turned it on it showed Michael's Kindle at the top of the screen and I had a letter from Jeff Bezos addressed to me waiting on the book. It must have come across as soon as I turned it on, but it was a clever and thoughtful way of helping someone gain ownership of a new product.

The Kindle looks a lot better in person than in the initial FCC pictures. The Amazon site does a good job of giving you a good look at what it really looks like.

The interface is where the Kindle shines. The Kindle store is fantastic and very quick to browse...much like Amazon (which it is). It is easy to find books by using the keyboard or looking up the Top 100. It even has recommendations for you once you start purchasing a few books.

Delivery is almost instant (less than a minute for a book). I've subscribed to several newspapers and blogs and the blogs are updated throughout the day.

The screen is obviously fantastic, much like the Sony 505. The slider wheel is what you use to navigate and it is really unique and clever looking. It has a shiny silver icon that changes size based on the item you are selecting. You do almost all of your navigating with this clever wheel.

There is a home button and a search button on the keyboard that will jump you to the most used pages (home and search). It is quick.

The most important part of any ebook reader is the experience while reading. You do disappear into this reader just as you would a book. The page turner is most of the right side (or part of the left side) and is very easy and intuitive to use. Easier than turning a page of a real book.

There have been lots of complaints about the look and ergonomics but I'll tell you that once you use it, you'll realize that the Kindle is highly functional and it really grows on you.

While I am enjoying reading a book on the Kindle, I really love the newspapers, magazines, and blogs. I've had other ebook readers before but I'll use this one probably 10x as much due to the other content that is updated regularly.

I really like the feature that you can try any blog, newspaper, or magazine for free for 14 days to see if you like it. It is also very easy to cancel your subscriptions on the Amazon account page.

Another great feature is downloading the first chapter of a new book. What a great way to avoid disappointment!

There are so many things to like about the Kindle. The only thing I don't like is it's cover. It's ok, but not great.

kovidgoyal
11-20-2007, 11:48 PM
Not too rain on your parade, but you realise that Amazon is charging you for free content when it comes to newspapers like the new york times. You can read the new york times (and others) for free on the sony reader. Of course, once I get my hands on the kindle you'll be able to read it for free on the kindle as well :-)

Mikou
11-20-2007, 11:49 PM
Thanks for the review! The Kindle video on Amazon.com is very tempting. Since I have 2 readers (Ebookwise and Sony PRS-500) I think I can wait until I see how well the Kindle does and how likely it is too stick around. I do have some concerns about the new format, but it's good to hear that it does have several positives.

SanAntone
11-20-2007, 11:53 PM
Kovid,

Looking forward to what you'll do for the Kindle!

My problem with the Sony Reader is that I am a Mac user. I don't want "work arounds" or want to expend any effort to get content onto my reader. I'll gladly pay a few dollars a month to get a paper delivered wirelessly to my reader without me having to sync with my computer before I read it. I will enjoy going out the door in the morning with my reader in my hand having expended no effort to load anything on it!

Charbax
11-21-2007, 12:25 AM
Not too rain on your parade, but you realise that Amazon is charging you for free content when it comes to newspapers like the new york times.

Actually if you read NYT on the Internet, it's paid for by the advertising, which don't show up in the paid version of NYT on the Kindle. And you are also paying for the EVDO bandwidth service. I think being able to pay for just one issue at the time is reasonable. I'd like to be able to pay for just one article at the time, something like a few cents per article adds-free and for free if specially ebook formatted ads can pay for the service.

kovidgoyal
11-21-2007, 12:26 AM
Well sure, if you can afford it, the price markup is certainly worth the extra convenience. I'm just ticked off at amazon for charging for this service when it is really, really easy to implement and has no real cost.

kovidgoyal
11-21-2007, 12:28 AM
Actually if you read NYT on the Internet, it's paid for by the advertising, which don't show up in the paid version of NYT on the Kindle. And you are also paying for the EVDO bandwidth service. I think being able to pay for just one issue at the time is reasonable. I'd like to be able to pay for just one article at the time, something like a few cents per article adds-free and for free if specially ebook formatted ads can pay for the service.

Actually the ads dont show on the aggregated version on the sony reader either. As for bandwidth, they could charge for that, but I still don't think they should charge for the content itself.

Charbax
11-21-2007, 01:56 AM
Well I think it's ok they charge for the content as long as that is what the publisher wants. But the publisher should also have the choice to have the content ad-supported, for example Amazon could figure some way to show ads at the bottom 5th of the Kindle screen for example. And there should also be some micropayment possibillity so users don't need to subscribe to the whole blog just to read one blog post.

astra
11-21-2007, 08:21 AM
Actually the ads dont show on the aggregated version on the sony reader either. As for bandwidth, they could charge for that, but I still don't think they should charge for the content itself.

Sorry for silly question, but how can you read NYT for free on Sony?

Nate the great
11-21-2007, 08:51 AM
Sorry for silly question, but how can you read NYT for free on Sony?

web2lrf

I think it already has settings for the NYTimes.

dugbug
11-21-2007, 08:53 AM
web2lrf

I think it already has settings for the NYTimes.

and is the problem with the kindle at the moment that the lrf format is unsupported? Ill code something supported when I get my kindle

-d

astra
11-21-2007, 09:08 AM
web2lrf

I think it already has settings for the NYTimes.

Thanks!
Where can I download it?

Nate the great
11-21-2007, 09:21 AM
Thanks!
Where can I download it?

It's part of libprs500. I'm surprised you don't have it already.

rflashman
11-21-2007, 10:04 AM
web2lrf for reading the NYT was a major pain. Tool works, but is nowhere near release quality. It's just a developer's raw tool at this point. Even on my dual-core system took a while converting it and the results were less than perfect. I played with it a while, but the results where not ideal.

I am getting my Kindle today, to replace my Sony Reader, for that one simple key feature: automated delivery of my newspapers. I would have been ok if I had to sync my Sony Reader every morning if Sony had bothered to fulfill their promise of newspapers, but they never did.

I signed up for Time too. May do the Washington post. I will report how it goes.

astra
11-21-2007, 10:20 AM
It's part of libprs500. I'm surprised you don't have it already.

I see.

I don't use it. I use Connect to put a book on my reader and I use BD to prepare books.
I will have a look at it, though.

kovidgoyal
11-21-2007, 11:28 AM
web2lrf for reading the NYT was a major pain. Tool works, but is nowhere near release quality. It's just a developer's raw tool at this point. Even on my dual-core system took a while converting it and the results were less than perfect. I played with it a while, but the results where not ideal.


It does take a while, but since that's computer time, why do you care? And what do you mean when you say the results were less than ideal?

sfernald
11-21-2007, 12:54 PM
I don't know. I love getting the papers delivered to my kindle each morning.

I'm sure you can do it with with tools and enough work on the sony reader, but it's just not the same. Kinda like the difference between a tivo and a vcr.

kovidgoyal
11-21-2007, 01:25 PM
There is no work required, you just have to connect the reader to your computer, click a button and wait about 10mins. If you have a little bit of scripting skill, you can make even that automatic.

Zoot
11-21-2007, 03:28 PM
There is no work required, you just have to connect the reader to your computer, click a button and wait about 10mins. If you have a little bit of scripting skill, you can make even that automatic.
Well, this is a very gool computer geek solution, but there's a heck of a lot of difference between turn on computer, connect reader, launch software, wait 10 minutes, disconnect reader, begin reading newspaper (especially if you throw in "a little bit of scripting skill") and just turning on the reader and starting to read.

One of those might appeal to hundreds of users, the other perhaps millions.

Z.

cosmo1001
11-21-2007, 03:41 PM
web2lrf for reading the NYT was a major pain. Tool works, but is nowhere near release quality. It's just a developer's raw tool at this point. Even on my dual-core system took a while converting it and the results were less than perfect. I played with it a while, but the results where not ideal.

I am getting my Kindle today, to replace my Sony Reader, for that one simple key feature: automated delivery of my newspapers. I would have been ok if I had to sync my Sony Reader every morning if Sony had bothered to fulfill their promise of newspapers, but they never did.

I signed up for Time too. May do the Washington post. I will report how it goes.

RFlash,

I'm seriously considering the Kindle, in large part because of being able to read the Washington Post on a crowded Metro train. I'm am VERY curious to know how your newspaper reading experience goes on the Kindle. Good to meet a fellow newspaper junkie on here...and good to know newspaper readers may finally have an ebook reader that allows for convenient digital content.

Jeff

kovidgoyal
11-21-2007, 04:47 PM
Well, this is a very gool computer geek solution, but there's a heck of a lot of difference between turn on computer, connect reader, launch software, wait 10 minutes, disconnect reader, begin reading newspaper (especially if you throw in "a little bit of scripting skill") and just turning on the reader and starting to read.

One of those might appeal to hundreds of users, the other perhaps millions.

Z.

Hey it's a value judgement, if you find doing that is worth $10 or whatever amazon charges you, that's your call. But, I for one am tired of people being afraid of computers. I mean come one, switching on a computer, connecting a reader, launching an app and clicking a button, really isn't that hard.

And the "little bit of scripting skill" is only needed if you want to automate launching the app and clicking the button when the reader is connected.

rflashman
11-22-2007, 03:18 PM
RFlash,

I'm seriously considering the Kindle, in large part because of being able to read the Washington Post on a crowded Metro train. I'm am VERY curious to know how your newspaper reading experience goes on the Kindle. Good to meet a fellow newspaper junkie on here...and good to know newspaper readers may finally have an ebook reader that allows for convenient digital content.

Jeff

Well, so far this is my newspaper experience:

New York Times
I was expecting something closer to their PDF version they send hotels, but instead it is a cleaned up version of their RSS newspaper with full articles, a decent table of contents, and a pretty good summary front page. Navigation is a little weak (can't skip to the 'next' article when inside of an article, only at the beginning or end), and I miss not having an overview of the home page like the Reader or even my BlackBerry can show. This could be fixed with a custom formatted home page. One picture is included per major article, so not too bad in imagery, but could do better. Overall, 7 out of 10.

TIME
This is just a copy of their RSS feed with no formatting enhancements. There is a functional TOC, but other than their logo, there are NO PICTURES and no other images (charts, etc.). Some articles are frustrating enough to include a disclaimer that says the article includes images and charts so you should go get a PDF or print version. What is funny is that the MOBILE version of TIME does include images, however uselessly small. Overall, 4 out of 10.

Mobile News Sites
These work better than expected, as long as you go to the mobile version of the various news sites. Think I am going to put together a web portal with all of these. But could use some custom formatting when Amazon releases (or people figure out) the specs for custom Kindle web page design. Overall, 6 out of 10. Amazon runs the risk here that unless they can get their news partners to better format their Kindle versions, we will all flock to wireless mobile news sites driving up their Whispernet costs through the roof.

Wireless Download
WOW! It's amazingly fast (NYT in under 10 seconds), automatic, and already 24 hours later I am taking it for granted. What the BlackBerry does for email, this does for news. If we only had custom formatted newspapers (maybe with time the various papers will see the benefit to that), this will be perfect. Overall, 9 out of 10.

rflashman
11-22-2007, 03:25 PM
Hey it's a value judgment, if you find doing that is worth $10 or whatever amazon charges you, that's your call. But, I for one am tired of people being afraid of computers. I mean come one, switching on a computer, connecting a reader, launching an app and clicking a button, really isn't that hard.

And the "little bit of scripting skill" is only needed if you want to automate launching the app and clicking the button when the reader is connected.

It is a value judgment. Consider the New York Times.

Once upon a time I had a physical subscription ($$$$). Then I went to their electronic FAT CLIENT ($$$). Then to their Flash based electronic client ($$$). Then to their XP/Vista Reader ($$).

More recently with the Sony Reader, I seriously considered signing up for their PDF email version ($$$), then converting it to the reader. But it was not practical time/effort wise. If Sony had offered the NYT through their portal and all I had to do was a plug/sync every morning, that would be fine.

Now with the Kindle I have signed up for the auto-delivery version ($$) which is delivered automatically. Formatting sucks (I really wish the team that produces the Reader version or Electronic Edition was creating the Kindle edition... not their web/RSS team), but at least I get it automatically, conveniently. I can only hope they will work to improve its look.

Yes, I can read for free on the web, but I honestly don't have that much free time in the morning to read on a web browser. That's why I got an electronic reader. And I am willing to pay for that.

If some day someone finally gets me the NYT Electronic Edition on a reader, I'll gladly pay for that too.