2010 Jul 01

I am again all set to shift house/cities and the amount of books I am giving off, have to put in boxes is way too much and a pain to manage. Additionally, I have had an eye on eReaders for over 2 months constantly reviewing all models. I chose Amazon Kindle 2 over Nook or any other eReader for various reasons. Major one being, its from Amazon and it synonyms with books. I trusted them to get things right and they REALLY have. Below I am summarising the pros and cons of the Kindle 2. I have been using this device for over 3 weeks and traveled about 5000 Kms with it. This is what I have to say on the device. Read on and if it helped you feel free to leave a comment.

Pros:

  1. Reading in bright daylight is a breeze. In fact you will feel more comfortable reading in bright daylight. Glare is minimal or nil.
  2. Ergonomically placed keys and easy to use Menus
  3. Fast (less than a second) page changes when compared to other ebook readers in the market.
  4. Battery life is easily 5-6 days with intermittent wireless activity and song playback.
  5. Native PDF support.
  6. Kindle edition books are cheaper (sometimes upto 40-60%) than the print edition on Amazon.
  7. Annotating/highlighting quotes, clipping off articles from magazines are features that I am already loving.  Not to mention that the search option even searches inside the notes you have annotated. (I am very very particular about dog-ears and ink marks on my books and this feature just saves me from those sickness)
  8. Good quality music playback.
  9. Its also possible to share your books and reads with your family and friends. Read this link.

Cons/Could have been better if:

  1. Why on earth did Amazon decide not to put a “prev page” button on the right side of the kindle?
  2. No way to organise my books. But I found a work around by using notes to virtually “TAG” my books. (UPDATE: 2.5 software upgrade has added “Collections” feature with which you can sort your reading materials.)
  3. Not every book you want to read will have a Kindle edition. So if you are one of those nostalgic guys, you still have the opportunity to buy those one-off paper books and get seduced by its fresh smell.
  4. You cannot increase font size while reading PDFs. Yes you can zoom but the entire width of the page might not fit in. For academic 2-column papers I found this hack pretty useful. For books in pdf format, I have to change the orientation of the kindle. Converting PDFs into ebook formats loses images/diagrams and sometimes alignment goes for a toss. (using Calibre for the conversion)
  5. I seem to read books way faster than my usual speed. May be because of the ability to set the font size, line spacing, etc. comfortable to me for each book. Which means more books and more cash out. But am not complaining ;-)

Killer feature(s):

  1. On the fly Oxford American dictionary word-meaning lookup. Yes, the Kindle comes with the Oxford Dictionary packed into it.
  2. Automatic wireless delivery of newspapers, magazines you want to read. Check the coverage for your location(s) in this map.
  3. Annotations/highlighting of quotes, lines on ebooks. All your notes and markings are backed up on Amazon.com.
  4. Pretty nifty note-taking ability.

In short, I would highly recommend Kindle to people who read a lot and travel/move around. Its also worth it for people who want to revoke their reading habits (had friends get back their reading hunger).

Leave a comment if you have any questions or your own personal views on Kindle.

PS: Amazon lowered its Kindle prices recently. Also the Kindle DX is getting a new look soon.

 
  1. I am very glad that you bought a Kindle and happen to like it. I own a Kindle 2, and likely will buy the new DX.

    What are your thoughts on an e-Ink reader like Kindle compared to iPad? iPad-like devices can tickle our already-existing tendency to get distracted; and therefore may not be appropriate for the kind of deep-thinking required for reading non-fiction.

  2. Cons of Kindle compared to Nook
    - Kindle doesn’t support epub format. Which means I can not use thousands of free books from project gutenberg. Also it means that it is hard to use books in epub format from third party stores.
    - Kindle doesn’t have wireless support. So it is not easy to use it in countries like India where 3G is not available/expensive/not reliable.

    Cons of Nook compared to ‘Kindle’
    - It is not possible to buy books from Barnes & Noble store without a credit card with U. S. address. And it is not clear how well Nook integrates with other stores (theoretically it should).

    I will prefer to buy Nook (since it supports standard format) if it is easy to but content from other stores.

  3. Onkar – Both points are wrong.

    1. EPUB books can be read on Kindle2. I have already read quite a few books from Project Gutenberg. And since you mentioned Nook, just go to the link http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page (Where is Nook there? :P )
    2. In several cities in India, Kindle uses the GPRS network. See the map I have linked to. Nook has way less battery life and a touch screen doesn’nt help either.

  4. 1. a) Can you please point me to the link which says Kindle can read EPUB files. Because it is not mentioned here – http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Wireless-Reading-Display-Globally/dp/B0015T963C/ref=amb_link_340329822_2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=0FGCYWKBA3TTAMTDZANM&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1267053662&pf_rd_i=507846
    You may have read books from gutenberg in MOBI format which is supported by Kindle.
    b) As to mention of Nook on gutenberg website, check this – http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gutenberg:MobileReader_Devices_How-To
    2. I know Kindle uses GPRS in India. Which means I get lesser experience even though I am paying same (or more) price as U. S. customers. Where as since Nook has support for wireless I can simply hook it up with my wireless router. Also Nook has inbuilt browser with latest firmware which can be used for general browsing.

    I know Nook had problems when it was released. But they have provided regular firmware updates to fix those problems.

  5. @Srid – Yes. I tried using a iPad for serious reading and I could not move beyond a few pages. Plus, reading under bright sunlight.. forget it. Too much glare. And yes the backlight does hurt your eyes.

  6. Naturally, all 3 versions of Kindle are available at amazon.com. The most recent release is Kindle DX for $489 with the biggest display screen of 9.7 inches. Kindle 2 (Latest Generation at least for now) retails for $299 and i just love it..

  7. I am thinking of buying Kindle.
    Could you answer the question, is it possible to use Kindle to browse Internet via my 802.11G Wi-Fi router?

  8. Sam,
    Yes the new kindles have Wifi.

  9. Thank you Aanjhan, for your answer.
    Would it be convenient for you to test, if it is possible to look up words in online dictionary http://www.learnersdictionary.com via kindle?

  10. One more question for you Aanjhan.
    I’ve just red that you cannot transfer Kindle books to another user or device. What if your Kindle will fail? You have to buy all your books again?

  11. You can transfer your books to your computer. Kindle PC software allows you read them as well. Sharing with another kindle user is possible if you share the same user account. But Amazon is going to get book loaning facility in very soon. And if you lose your kindle, there is no necessary to buy all the books again. Buy another kindle under the same account and you should have your books. Reference links:
    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=11950602
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_navbox_top_kindlelg?nodeId=200503360

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