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Old 04-10-2009, 02:51 PM   #1
InlawBiker
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Kindle 1 thoughts after a month

Yeah, I'm a year late and reviewing a discontinued device. But I've had this thing about a month and have finished, I don't know, maybe 4 or 5 novels so far. I thought I'd share my impressions of the device, in case somebody is also looking to buy the K1 relic.

I'd been wanting a digital reader for a long time and really wanted the Sony 505. But the release of the Kindle 2 spurred a lot of Craigslist K1 availability and I found a nearly new one for cheap and couldn't pass it up.

BOOKS -
Almost all of the books I've read have been 'free' from project Gutenberg, or were converted LIT books I already owned. I have also figured out how to convert public library ebooks to the Kindle. Maybe the DRM police will take me away for saying so, but I don't care.

Converted .LIT books look wonderful. .MOBI books of course are perfect. PDF books are hit and miss. Some have been good, others have so many formatting errors they're unreadable.

At any rate, I've found that the Amazon store if very easy to use and the prices are low. The books I've bought have been formatted well and were delivered quickly and easily, just as advertised.

In general, formatting of ebooks is not very good. It's pretty rare these days to find formatting errors in a printed book, but not so in ebooks. I suspect all of the conversion to new formats is happening without a lot of proofing.

I am aware of the DRM evil and have contributed my thoughts on this in other threads so I'll leave it alone for now.

I have not subscribed to any RSS feeds or newspapers and I doubt I will, I'll probably use it only for reading books.

DEVICE -
The device itself is very nice. It's easy to hold and just feels like it's well built. About the page forward/back buttons being hit accidentally - it's true. It's almost impossible not to hit them by accident. It's irritating.

The internal memory seems large enough to contain at least 5 or 6 'pages' of books, maybe more (maybe 75-100 books?) This to me is more than enough. The Kindle was obviously designed to be a reading device, not a mass storage device. In other words you're supposed to keep your entire library somewhere else, like Amazon or your computer. I know a lot of people prefer to keep ALL of their books on the Kindle, but personally I don't see the need. I like to read at most two books at any time, but I much prefer only one. Of course, you can plug in a memory card and store a huge library if you want to.

I never thought I'd use the Dictionary, but I find myself using it more and more. In fact now it's probably my favorite feature. I guess my vocabulary isn't as vast as I thought it was.

My biggest gripe so far is the lack of some kind of built-in light. I read at night mostly and try not to awaken my wife. I use the paperback-sized Light Wedge now and it works OK.

I understand a backlight isn't feasible with these devices but I'd love to see some kind of built-in light that shines down on the screen. My Thinkpad laptop has a small light built in above the screen that illuminates the keyboard. Something like this would be great on the next Kindle.

OVERALL
I called it a 'relic' because once the K2 came out the K1 seemed to be forgotten. But it's of course perfectly usable and still a great device. Personally I like the Kindle and intend to use it until something massively better comes along. I suspect that'll be 3 or more years. I'm glad I can easily replace the battery to keep it running, or add memory.

I find myself reading more than I used to, mainly because it's so much easier to get new books. With two small kids, work and hobbies it's sometimes very difficult to get to a book store or a library. With an ebook reader all that legwork is gone. Without even using the Amazon store I've been able to tap into a huge number of classic works I probably wouldn't have read otherwise.

With printed books I would almost never buy hardcover. Now, with prices around $10 I can be part of the 'cool crowd' and read first-run books at a fair price.

I am a techie by trade and nature so I had no trouble converting from paper to ebooks. But now I'm becoming nostalgic for paper books. What will happen in ten years? Will my MOBI and LIT books be even remotely usable? I know that my old books will be.

I should also give a plug to Calibre. Without it, managing an ebook library by hand would be a major pain. I would urge people to use it and donate to the author, who is actively supporting it. I think he releases a new version every week or so. It's also in the Ubuntu repository for 9.04! I'm running the beta.

In general I'm very happy with the Kindle. It was expensive (even bought used), but I read more. That's pretty much the bottom line - I read more. There isn't a person out there who couldn't use LESS television and although I watch it very seldom, I'm very happy to be reading more books.

Greg
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:51 PM   #2
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Great review. I'm also a new Kindle 1 owner and I love it. It's definitely making me read faster and it's nice to have instant access to many great/cheap/free books.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InlawBiker View Post
The device itself is very nice. It's easy to hold and just feels like it's well built. About the page forward/back buttons being hit accidentally - it's true. It's almost impossible not to hit them by accident. It's irritating.

The internal memory seems large enough to contain at least 5 or 6 'pages' of books, maybe more (maybe 75-100 books?)
Have you tried holding it at the bottom? I do that and hit the next page button with my thumb. Basically put the edge of the device in your palm.



I have 10 pages of books with 40MB left.
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:11 PM   #3
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I think people who read the Kindle naked have more problems with accidental button pushes. I hold mine at the bottom of the cover with my thumbs resting on either side of the "Amazon Kindle" logo. Similar to this (but in the cover and a little looser):

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Old 04-10-2009, 06:42 PM   #4
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I usually hold the Kindle inside the leather case. I can 'wedge' the Light Wedge into the tabs that way. It's still easy to accidentally push the buttons though. I've become better at avoiding those buttons but I've resigned myself to losing my place from time to time. It's not a big deal, I lost my place a lot more often with paper books.

I also wish the screen were just a little bigger. At the font I read at I think the page is somewhat smaller than a normal paperback. And of course there's only one page, not two. So page 'flips' are more than twice as often as with a real paperback.

Anyhow I'm nitpicking, the device is pretty nice and I dig it!

Greg.
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Old 04-10-2009, 06:42 PM   #5
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I've had mine for a bit over a month as well. I've adapted to holding it (with it in the Amazon cover) that I seldom hit the buttons accidentally. I basically keep my left hand as in the pic in Sporadics post and my right hand with the thumb on the scroll bar a bit above the wheel and kind of alternate which thumb I use to advance.

I've got a few books bought from Amazon, and some freebies from Feedbooks on it.

In all I love it. Easy to read on, super easy to get books (love being able to browse on a PC and send samples of stuff that interests me that will be there in seconds the next time I turn the whispernet on!). It's just super convenient and I read more now that I don't have to buy a book that will end up cluttering up the house or hassle with going to the library.
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Old 04-10-2009, 08:01 PM   #6
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You wrote quite the review, good job. I agree with most of your points, and as for holding it, I find that having a proper cover is very important too me. Once I picked up a few and stopped using the "naked" Kindle, I had a much better experience. I didn't hit any of the buttons by accident, etc.
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Old 04-10-2009, 08:40 PM   #7
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I hold my Kindle 2 like Sporadic, either left or right side. But even so I found it too easy to accidentally hit the K1 buttons that way when I tried a similar posture with the K1.
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:21 PM   #8
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Hello, all. This is my first post here and I agree about the Kindle 1 page turning aspects. I bought my wife a Kindle 2 for Valentine's Day and then ended up liking it so much I decided to get a Kindle for myself. I didn't want to spring for the amount of a 2 so I bought a 1 instead.

I already knew about the page turning aspect so I bought a used one that had a m-edge case and light with it. It's much easier to hold with the case but I still have issues every so often with accidental page turns. It's getting better now that I'm more careful. When I first got it I would close the cover and discover, when I got back, that I was now two-thirds of the way through the book and had a heck of a time finding my way back.

I put up with it for the reduced cost but it would be nice if it were more like the 2.
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
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When I first got it I would close the cover and discover, when I got back, that I was now two-thirds of the way through the book and had a heck of a time finding my way back.
Yea, you gotta sleep it before you put it down. That will keep it from happening. Think of it as picking up your bookmark and putting it into your book before closing.

BOb
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:11 PM   #10
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Kindle 1.0 experience

Over all I really like my Kindle alot. I too think it should have some back lighting for reading in bed night. I tried those clip on lights and they just bust my nerves. Im still learning the bells and whistles. I have'nt found a cover that I like. Ive had two so far and well I just have'nt found what Im looking for really. Knowing now what I did'nt before I would still buy a Kindle. Nothing really compares that I have seen.
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:49 PM   #11
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Yea, you gotta sleep it before you put it down. That will keep it from happening. Think of it as picking up your bookmark and putting it into your book before closing.
Crazy. So glad my Kindle 2 doesn't have this problem!
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Old 04-21-2009, 09:54 AM   #12
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I love my kindle2 but there is one nagging problem......screen contrast. The letters need to be darker or thicker!!!!!!!! This is the ONE problem that could be a deal-killer for the average reader.

I have bought a Mighty Light (helps) and a black decal background but the problem persists. The smaller the type, the more bothersome the contrast. I sooooo hope Amazon address this issue in a software update.
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Old 04-21-2009, 09:55 AM   #13
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Just increase your font size; levels 3 and 4 are much darker.
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Old 04-21-2009, 08:12 PM   #14
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k1 is better. Good purchase.
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:39 PM   #15
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I've had my K1 for 6 months now and never do an accidental page turn. The first week I did but not after that, and I read with my K1 au natural - no cover for me thanks.
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