View Full Version : A Question for new Kindle Owners


NatCh
11-25-2007, 01:08 AM
On the very long drive back home from Dallas today, I got to wondering how many Kindles sold to first time e-readers, so I thought I'd throw up a quick poll to get a read on that. I know it's more anecdotal, than scientific, but it may be interesting.

Note that this poll is multiple choice! :nice:

For those who decided to buy a Kindle even thought they already own another device I'm also wondering if there was any one deciding factor that made you choose to do so. I suppose that question applies to those who decided on Kindle rather than another device too: what was the biggest factor that made you choose Kindle?

Nate the great
11-25-2007, 01:23 AM
I came to the Sony Reader from a PDA with a 4" screen. I wanted the Sony because of its 6" screen. I started looking beyond the Sony because I wanted to be able to add notes to the ebooks I read.

The keyboard was the main draw for me. I wanted the keyboard even before I knew for certain that the Kindle would implement a search function.

gteague
11-25-2007, 01:59 AM
anything with a battery and a backlight is not going to last me through one volume of 'songs of fire and ice', so i've found reading on pda's or laptop's not worth the effort. plus having to gather up and update all the different readers and then learn how to turn a page in each of them.

otoh, the kindle may still return to bezos-land. my decision will be on monday and it is not looking positive due to general sluggishness in all aspects of its operation.

/guy

NatCh
11-25-2007, 02:30 AM
So, gteague, does that mean you haven't really "decided" on the Kindle? Was there any one factor that lead you to try it over one of the other devices?

zartemis
11-25-2007, 02:47 AM
Although the Kindle is my first dedicated ebook reader, I've been a reasonably heavy reader of ebooks on my PDAs (from back when ereader was Peanut Press) and also usually buy the "read your books online" upgrade from Amazon when offered -- and I do start reading them online before they ship and browse them from time to time online afterwards.

When I read about the Kindle and the e-ink display, it spawned a short intense bout of research on such devices before I clicked the 'buy now' on the Kindle. The iLiad was very tempting, but the 'instant gratification' automatic purchase+download ability of the Kindle was the killer feature.

NatCh
11-25-2007, 03:00 AM
Your situation is exactly what I was thinking of for option #6, zartemis. :yes: I read a fair amount on my Palms before I got my PRS500. Was there a particular feature or factor that drew you to the Kindle over the other current devices?

gteague
11-25-2007, 03:21 AM
So, gteague, does that mean you haven't really "decided" on the Kindle? Was there any one factor that lead you to try it over one of the other devices?

no, i have to say i haven't decided to keep it. reasons being that:

1) very slow everywhere. even next page or prev page flashes the display to a negative image and takes nearly 2 seconds (at my estimate). i read fast and this really, really slows me down.

2) the web browsing is even more painful. i realize this is a 'beta' feature, but to pay $400 i have to have the feature included to feel right about the purchase. then i come across a line from bezos that indicates that they may charge for this feature at a future date. they'd have to improve it by a factor of 1000x to get me to pay for it! although i must say i just downloaded 5 items from project gutenberg. but it took me at least 20 minutes and drained the battery from 100% to 50%.

3) the damm buttons. they are everywhere. 4 days i've had this thing and i still cannot figure out how to hold it. drives me nuts. couple that with the slow response and it seems to take forever to recover from the inevitable erroneous button presses. worse: the interface seems to be designed by the anti-ipod guys--it takes 3 presses and 3 delays to get anything useful done.

4) i shouldn't have to pay for file conversions. give me a desktop program and an emulator perhaps. emailing conversion attachments is clunky and prone to slow response. and, like the potential web browsing charge, amazon could decide to charge for more wireless activity if kindle users start saturating the network.

5) although i'm not interested, blog and news content way too expensive, even for the 'push'. many tech books are way over $9.99 and i've seen up to $200. for an ebook! that's insane! someone needs to explain the facts of life to those publishers. i might pay $29.99 for say, 2 or 4 or 6 volumes of the norton anthologies or for an outstanding o'reilly tech book which i could also access on their web bookshelf, but most else over $15 is just too ridiculous to mention.

6) so far, i can't zoom images. even images in amazons users guide which is on the kindle are unreadable the text in the images is so small. i downloaded a chapter of 'clash of thrones' which had a map of the kingdom. unreadable. why are people clamoring for pdf format when the result would be useless? perhaps i'm missing something here ...

7) in spite of bezos' quotes about appealing to book lovers, i think this device appeals to the opposite camp: book consumers. book lovers keep dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of volumes on shelves so they can reach for them at a whim. i remember reading something about amazon cancelling ownership and viewing of video downloads for a group of people who thought they'd bought these videos. could they do the same for the 'media library' they claim to be keeping safe for you? no, i think this device will appeal more to, and work better for, those who read nearly exclusively nytimes bestsellers and periodicals. i don't think it's for those of us who want 300 volumes of english literature to hand to read slowly and seriously.

to be fair, i'll list the factors tempting me to keep it:

1) i have to believe that it will improve since it runs linux and can be firmware updated and software updated. unfortunately, many manufacturers think an 'improvement' is to screw the early adopters by coming out with v2.0 and abandoning all fixes to v1.0. and the only thing that will improve the bad button layout is a 3rd-party cover that might provide hand grips or somesuch. am i willing to bet someone will solve the problem before v2.0 arrives and solves it (for another $400?).

2) instant gratification. the wireless service works flawlessly and amazon support (in the form of having your kindle page and account working and ready) was perfect. being able to download a sample chapter of nearly 100k selections in seconds nearly anywhere you are is a huge draw.

3) works with my mac. and linux. brilliant move to let the internal and external memory mount on the desktop where i can manually manipulate the files. great decision also for removable battery, sd storage (perhaps sdhc with a firmware/software update) and industry standard usb cable. points off for the flimsy plug on the ac adaptor though.

4) in spite of the howling about proprietary formats you can get nearly anything into this thing with only a little effort. witness the gutenberg downloads i mentioned. mobipocket reader and creator will let you sync content such as time, wired mag &c and your ebooks. and it's free. but it doesn't 'push' the content to you as amazon does.

5) 'indie' publishing. i followed a link on an amazon page where they were soliciting content for sale to kindle owners and decided to try it on a lark. i took a very short story i had written long ago and within an hour i had it uploaded to amazon and 12 hours later it was actually for sale! i know it's stupid, but this is a huge deal to a wanna-be writer like me. my writing rate is about a page per month in a good year, but if the kindle takes off this could convince me to actually start writing seriously.

so yes, i'm still undecided. i can already tell the negatives about the user interface will frustrate me beyond belief, so as i posted elsewhere, the go/no-go is about 40%/60% right now.

/guy

zartemis
11-25-2007, 03:45 AM
1) very slow everywhere. even next page or prev page flashes the display to a negative image and takes nearly 2 seconds (at my estimate). i read fast and this really, really slows me down.

Agreed -- for many of us (me included) this is our first experience with an e-ink device and the inherent slowness of screen refresh. Since there is no way to speed up the refresh, it's even more important for Amazon to streamline the software and require fewer selections to accomplish tasks -- the 'remove from kindle' click-chain is especially excruciating. There's just no way that e-ink web browser can be a truly satisfying experience, given the hardware limitations of the screen.

I can read OK with the smallest font and this helps make the slow screen refresh bearable (although I wish there were a font in between sizes 1 and 2, and that they didn't have so much blank space at the top and bottom of each page -- give me as much text as possible, don't waste it).

gteague
11-25-2007, 03:57 AM
Agreed -- for many of us (me included) this is our first experience with an e-ink device and the inherent slowness of screen refresh. Since there is no way to speed up the refresh, it's even more important for Amazon to streamline the software and require fewer selections to accomplish tasks -- the 'remove from kindle' click-chain is especially excruciating. There's just no way that e-ink web browser can be a truly satisfying experience, given the hardware limitations of the screen.

I can read OK with the smallest font and this helps make the slow screen refresh bearable (although I wish there were a font in between sizes 1 and 2, and that they didn't have so much blank space at the top and bottom of each page -- give me as much text as possible, don't waste it).

yes, it is an truly amazing display. and will be near-perfect when they speed it up.

i have like 20/200 vision with bifocals and even i can read (at a pinch) at size #1. that is a minor miracle right there!

but i find myself floating back and forth between #1 and #2 for the same reason you cite, to save on next-page presses. and i too wish there were a size in-between #1 and #2. and i find it nearly impossible to use the web browser on anything but these 2 sizes.

/guy

dugbug
11-25-2007, 08:22 AM
no, i have to say i haven't decided to keep it. reasons being that:

1) very slow everywhere. even next page or prev page flashes the display to a negative image and takes nearly 2 seconds (at my estimate). i read fast and this really, really slows me down.

4) i shouldn't have to pay for file conversions. give me a desktop program and an emulator perhaps. emailing conversion attachments is clunky and prone to slow response. and, like the potential web browsing charge, amazon could decide to charge for more wireless activity if kindle users start saturating the network.

/guy

Just a comment and a question:
1) is the display technology. The kindle page rendering is as fast as there is right now. It is inherently bad choice for interactive GUIs/browsing. But the primary mission of the device is to display static readable text, so its a good choice.

4) I thought there were lots of mobi conversion tools... can you not use them to convert to unprotected mobi?

good luck

-d

gteague
11-25-2007, 08:34 AM
Just a comment and a question:
1) is the display technology. The kindle page rendering is as fast as there is right now. It is inherently bad choice for interactive GUIs/browsing. But the primary mission of the device is to display static readable text, so its a good choice.

4) I thought there were lots of mobi conversion tools... can you not use them to convert to unprotected mobi?

good luck

-d

1) it's not just the display reset. every operation has a delay that's just enough to frustrate a fast-twitch guy like me. as to the page redraw, it wouldn't seem so bad if there were as much text on the screen as the two pages of a paperback book so the number of pages turns would be equivalent.

4) i've discovered mobipocket creator which has let me convert .doc and .html so i've hardly had to use amazon @free conversion service since then. but i can't count mobipocket since it does not run on the mac. i realize i can run it under bootcamp or emulation, but i don't want to have to. although i have to admit, mobipocket reader is a class app, one of the best windows apps i've ever run. creator is a little more obtuse and names and manages files in an unexpected manner and won't let me manipulate the builds and conversions as much as i'd like. but don't get me wrong, without those two apps the kindle would be much less functional.

/guy

TallMomof2
11-25-2007, 12:36 PM
This is my first dedicated reader but I've been looking at them for a while. I would've bought the Irex but the price was too rich for me. The Sony is nice but I didn't like the way it felt in my hands. I have arthritis so hand feel is very, very important. Also, even though I own many Sony devices I wasn't sold on their ability to provide books. Sony's software tends to be, how should I say this, lacking. I bought DH a Sony laptop, he needed one that day and that was the best I could find, and ended up stripping it down to the operating system and adding in better programs than what Sony provided. DH is a very happy man.

For me the Kindle experience is excellent. Minimal eye fatigue, my picture is located under the phrase "blind as a bat", decent battery life as long as I turn off the wireless and minimize my SD card accesses. The side buttons are a pain but I put the Kindle to sleep when I put it down. Page turns are definitely slower when reading off the card and they're slower for the smaller fonts.

The hand feel is almost perfect. I can easily hold the Kindle even with my big hands and don't have to grip it, it can lay in my hand.

I'm not all that thrilled with the web browsing but that's not why I bought it.

tsgreer
11-25-2007, 12:48 PM
1) very slow everywhere. even next page or prev page flashes the display to a negative image and takes nearly 2 seconds (at my estimate).

Well then you would hate my Sony Reader 500. My Kindle has way faster refresh than my Reader. I actually don't find the flash that bad. You get used to it very quickly. I think you may have to wait for a while though, because as of now, I think this is the limit of e-ink technology. They have been getting better about speeding it up, but I think the Kindle and the Sony Reader 505 are the fastest out there so far.

Coming over from the Sony Reader (which I do still love by the way), the Kindle is just a better product. Faster system response, works native with my Mac and I like the search feature and the amazon store features. So I'm very happy with my choice. I won't sell the Reader because I have some emotional attachment and my girlfriend reads on it every once in a while (she is a P-Book lover), but the Kindle is my main reader now.

zartemis
11-25-2007, 05:59 PM
1) it's not just the display reset. every operation has a delay that's just enough to frustrate a fast-twitch guy like me.

I'm not sure that's true. The only delay other than display delay that I notice is the EVDO delay and the power-on/wake-from-sleep. Almost every other function requires a change in display, either a full screen refresh, a pop-up menu, or a character-by-character update (text entry, checkbox). All of these functions are going to be slow because of the e-ink hardware display issues. Nothing software can do about it.

The LED on the side is fast to move up and down, the only time it appears slow is in response to functions, and I bet that isn't a CPU or software issue, but rather because it's timed to respond in sync with the slow display changes.

I did one test to see if the device was slow or just the display: I set the device for screen lock and before the screen could refresh to the screen saver page (which is slow), I hit next page. If the lock takes effect immediately, then it won't advance. It didn't. The screen lock was effective faster than I could hit the next page, even though the screen saver was delayed. The LED turns off immediately in this case as well, it doesn't wait for the screen redraw.

There are a few things that Amazon can do to mitigate this issue:


Better menuing so actions take fewer page redraws
Prefetch next page from wireless wherever possible so there is less waiting EVDO delay+display delay. They are caching, so they could already be doing this and I'm just out advancing the prefetch, but it doesn't seem like they are.
Since partial page redraws are faster (or so it seems to me), create functions like one-button access to a pop-up of the previous pages last two lines (I sometimes find I prematurely advance a page and then have to go back one page to catch the beginning of a sentence. Since this happens often enough, a function to just do a partial screen pop-up redraw would be faster.
Have designed the device with an additional small LCD for text input so at least that is more responsive -- this is why they have the separate mirrored LED selector afterall. Of course, this isn't a software change, but is design feature that Amazon could control (unlike e-ink development).


Since I did a bit of research prior to purchasing, I knew this was a limitation of the display, yet it still was a bit of a shock to experience for the first time since I am so used to fast typing, fast reading, and fast screen updates. For folks who buy it without knowledge of infancy of e-ink technology (from a user's standpoint), it likely is a big letdown.

gteague
11-25-2007, 08:57 PM
<Del>
Have designed the device with an additional small LCD for text input so at least that is more responsive -- <del>

actually the display of keystrokes is the one delay that doesn't concern me. i'm a very good, fast typist who doesn't need need to see characters appearing and, in the case of the kindle, i've found it helps tremendously to just 'type blind' and don't wait for the characters to appear. i used the same technique on a blackberry pearl with the 'predictive' word completion that works brilliantly. i could type complete sentences on the blackberry trusting to its artificial intelligence. thus, typing on the kindle doesn't bother me.

but in addition to the delays (which i still maintain frustrate me in every operation) there is too much busy work in the menu system to get anything accomplished. and i'm one of the few i see to detest that silver cursor device. it's hard to see. one example: there are arrows in the left column of the text size select screen and each time i bring that up i expect those arrows to move as they do in 99% of the other comparable devices. it always takes me a few seconds of confusion before i realize i'm supposed to be looking for the silver thingee.

/guy

NatCh
11-26-2007, 05:36 PM
It's interesting: Over half of the respondents (19 of 32) who purchased Kindles so far had some sort of dedicated reading device already, and most of them were Sony Readers. (15 of that 19). I also note that none of them had iLiads.

This suggests to me that Kindle has something very appealing to people which the Sony Reader lacks. Is it the keyboard? The EVDO wireless? Just the "new gadget" lust we all know so well? :drool:

What is it that's drawing you to the Kindle over other devices?

gteague
11-26-2007, 06:15 PM
It's interesting: Over half of the respondents (19 of 32) who purchased Kindles so far had some sort of dedicated reading device already, and most of them were Sony Readers. (15 of that 19). I also note that none of them had iLiads.

This suggests to me that Kindle has something very appealing to people which the Sony Reader lacks. Is it the keyboard? The EVDO wireless? Just the "new gadget" lust we all know so well? :drool:

What is it that's drawing you to the Kindle over other devices?

it's funny, isn't it? sony has the absolute worst reputation for lousy or non-existent support, drm, and dead-end devices, betamax and minidisc the first of many that spring to mind. remember the root-kit install with music cd's? so i wouldn't think any of the open-source, anti-drm crowd would buy from them at if they could avoid it.

otoh, i've been buying from amazon for years and have spent thousands there--mostly on media: books, cd's, dvd's &c and have had absolutely no bad experience with them. the very very few problems i've had they've solved quickly and to my absolute satisfaction.

i'm not saying this was the only factor in my decision to buy, but it was a large percent. coupled with the fact that i knew (know) for absolute certain they will let me return it w/o question within 30 days. which i haven't yet ruled out, btw.

/guy

tsgreer
11-26-2007, 06:35 PM
It's interesting: Over half of the respondents (19 of 32) who purchased Kindles so far had some sort of dedicated reading device already, and most of them were Sony Readers. (15 of that 19). I also note that none of them had iLiads.

This suggests to me that Kindle has something very appealing to people which the Sony Reader lacks. Is it the keyboard? The EVDO wireless? Just the "new gadget" lust we all know so well? :drool:

What is it that's drawing you to the Kindle over other devices?

For me, it's the fact that it's America's #1 bookseller, Amazon. Their influence over the publishers and amount of e-content they will have blows other e-content providers out of the water.

I will also go out on a limb and say that if the Harry Potter books ever legally go digital here in the US, it will come out in Kindle format first because of the Amazon influence. They may not have that influence yet, but I bet the Amazon push for e-content has finally made publisher talk a bit more...

tsgreer
11-26-2007, 06:36 PM
...i'm not saying this was the only factor in my decision to buy, but it was a large percent. coupled with the fact that i knew (know) for absolute certain they will let me return it w/o question within 30 days. which i haven't yet ruled out, btw.

/guy

Join us on the darkside. Keep it! :pray:

AintLDS
11-26-2007, 08:08 PM
I tried reading eBooks on the first Palm, then on some Windows CE PDA's, a Palm Tungsten E, my old Powerbook, and my iPhone. Nothing held my interest.

I've been hoping for something from Apple, but I'm tired of waiting. The draw for me on the Kindle was the wireless delivery and relatively low price of eBooks there, as well as the fact that I've been an Amazon customer from inception and am very happy with them. The DRM factor doesn't bother me as long as they stay below the $10 price point (the lower the better!).

I figure, it's like going to the movies. You don't walk out of the theater with a hardcopy that you can do anything with. If you like the movie, you buy the DVD when it comes out. Same with this. If I really like a book and plan to read it again, I might buy a hardback. In 99% of the cases, it's just a one-time read for fun. I like the convenience factor more than the fact that one day the files will be obsolete.

EDIT: Okay, I broke down and bought a Sony 505. Really like it. I think the Kindle is more comfortable to hold while reading but the Sony has so many nice features and is a much nicer design. Kindle for newspapers and DRM'd stuff, Sony for public-domain books. Let's hope Amazon has a better design team for Kindle 2.0.

runciter
11-27-2007, 12:13 AM
5) 'indie' publishing. i followed a link on an amazon page where they were soliciting content for sale to kindle owners and decided to try it on a lark. i took a very short story i had written long ago and within an hour i had it uploaded to amazon and 12 hours later it was actually for sale! i know it's stupid, but this is a huge deal to a wanna-be writer like me. my writing rate is about a page per month in a good year, but if the kindle takes off this could convince me to actually start writing seriously.
wow. that's fantastic! That sort of thing is exactly what I was expecting could happen and is exciting. Out of curiosity, can you set the price, or do they have fixed prices based on length, etc? Good luck!

gteague
11-27-2007, 12:19 AM
wow. that's fantastic! That sort of thing is exactly what I was expecting could happen and is exciting. Out of curiosity, can you set the price, or do they have fixed prices based on length, etc? Good luck!

no fixed price or scale--you set it at your whim as far as i can tell. i set mine at 99-cents, but i'm thinking of lowering it even though i'm sure i put at least as much work into it as some of those indie punk garage grunge bands put into the songs they sell for 99-cents on itunes. [g]

/guy

astra
11-27-2007, 05:47 AM
It's interesting: Over half of the respondents (19 of 32) who purchased Kindles so far had some sort of dedicated reading device already, and most of them were Sony Readers. (15 of that 19). I also note that none of them had iLiads.

This suggests to me that Kindle has something very appealing to people which the Sony Reader lacks. Is it the keyboard? The EVDO wireless? Just the "new gadget" lust we all know so well? :drool:

What is it that's drawing you to the Kindle over other devices?

It might be a bit misleading.
most of them were Sony Readers. (15 of that 19)
Because there is another question which is how many of Sony reader owners will not switch to kindle for one reason or another? :rolleyes:

JSWolf
11-27-2007, 10:27 AM
I have a 505 and I will NOT be purchasing a Kindle. I think it's a total waste of money. I can understand going from a 500 to a Kindle, but from a 505 to a Kindle is silly. What I see happening is some device with a nice large screen will come out and you will want that and the Kindle will just make a good doorstop.

Alisa
11-27-2007, 02:42 PM
I have a 505 and I will NOT be purchasing a Kindle. I think it's a total waste of money. I can understand going from a 500 to a Kindle, but from a 505 to a Kindle is silly. What I see happening is some device with a nice large screen will come out and you will want that and the Kindle will just make a good doorstop.

Yeah. If I had a Sony, I'd wait until I was ready for a new reader and make my decision then. I wouldn't be jumping on a first gen Kindle. Who knows what will be out in a couple years (when I give DH this Kindle).

sfernald
11-27-2007, 04:01 PM
but in addition to the delays (which i still maintain frustrate me in every operation) there is too much busy work in the menu system to get anything accomplished. and i'm one of the few i see to detest that silver cursor device. it's hard to see. one example: there are arrows in the left column of the text size select screen and each time i bring that up i expect those arrows to move as they do in 99% of the other comparable devices. it always takes me a few seconds of confusion before i realize i'm supposed to be looking for the silver thingee.

/guy

Really I find the that the cursor works well and it is a pretty clever workaround for an inherent limitation in the e-ink display. I don't have a problem using it or navigating the menus. I actually enjoy it. The rolling feeling is pleasant to the touch, like using a mouse roller to scroll a web page. I haven't had a problem seeing it either in darkness or light so far that I can recall.

Rocketime
11-27-2007, 04:54 PM
Keeping my 505 because:

1. The kindle doesn't have anything that I want. I read news on line, magazines are old news and I'll never pay to read a blog. I have access to a computer and internet 24/7 and thus no interest in EVDO downloading. I have a Franklin Dictionary I've had for years.

2. I much prefer the sony form factor.

3. I like metal over plastic.

4. I want the longest lasting battery.

5. Something all together new will be available sometime in late 08' or early 09'

edsohsmith
12-01-2007, 05:41 AM
It's interesting: Over half of the respondents (19 of 32) who purchased Kindles so far had some sort of dedicated reading device already, and most of them were Sony Readers. (15 of that 19). I also note that none of them had iLiads.

I think a reason for this is that Sony owners are common and active here on this forum and therefore have a large pool to draw from. If you look at the number of members "viewing these forums", the Sony forums are always at the top. In addition Sony had a legacy model PRS500 from which to jump from.

NatCh
12-02-2007, 02:13 AM
That's a very good point and observation. :chinscratch: