Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Page 3: The Amazon Kindle

All right, my reason for starting this blog was to talk about the books I have read and hope some of you will be interested enough to comment and read one or two of them.  This is book-related since the Kindle is an electronic device for reading books and other printed media.  So much for the justification for this post.

I recently purchased a Kindle.  You know how it is.  You go on Amazon to look for books and keep coming across the Kindle page.  You read about it, check out the reviews, and start getting emails from the Amazon Kindle Store.  The next thing you do is download the Kindle App to your iPhone or iPod Touch and start reading books on the small screen.  It isn't that bad, but you keep thinking: "Why am I reading books on such a small screen when I could go to the library and check out a real book or go to the local bookstore and buy one to help the local economy?"  Maybe I've been listening to too many of Leo Laporte's podcasts and have been afflicted with his uncontrollable desire to buy every new device that comes out.  Oh God, I might be turning into a technology junkie!   

Anyway, I ordered a Kindle 2 the day after Thanksgiving, maybe it was the chemicals in the turkey that affected my brain, and paid the extra money for Saturday shipping.  In this case it was next day shipping.  Sure enough the package arrived Saturday afternoon and I was like a kid with a new toy.  I read the electronic manual and was ready to go.  Here is my take on it.

The screen is great.  It is easy to read, no glare, and you can change the font size.  Look out large print books, the Kindle has you beat.  Since it comes with a wireless AT&T connection it is like a cell phone you can't talk on, but streams books in bits that travel in one direction--down.  This is good, though.  You can download books, magazines, newspapers, blogs and many other text materials in about a minute.  You have to pay for most of them--after all this is America and somebody has to make a buck.

I started out slowly.  I have purchased only one book and subscribed to two magazines so far from the Kindle Store. I am certain this won't last.  I can see a spending frenzy in my future.  However, the neatest thing about the Kindle is that you are also able to download audio books from  I already had an account with Audible and have downloaded a couple of audio books.  You can listen through the external speaker or plug in your earphones.  Right now I am listening to What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis.  This is a great book and I'll talk about it in a future post.

There were a couple of other surprises as well.  There is an experimental section that includes the ability to surf the net, import your own PDF files, and download mp3 files.  The browsing is a little 'klunky', but it works well enough to find information as long as you can live with text without many visual images.  I guess the mp3 files are for those who want to listen to music while they are reading.  I haven't tried this yet, but plan to in the near future.  I haven't tried to import any of my PDF files, but see this as a great advantage if you are traveling and want to take the files with you so you can read them on your Kindle.

The only thing I don't like about the Kindle is the on/off switch.  It is at the top and quite small.  To work it properly you need to use your finger nail.  Once you get used to it the process works, but it could be better.  An on/off switch like the one on the iPod Touch would be much better.

If someone asked me how I liked the Kindle on a scale of 1 to 5 I would give it a 4.5.  I like it a lot and use it every day, but it could be a little bit better.  Now I am waiting to see what Apple comes out with next year with their media tablet that has generated so much speculation and buzz for the past several months.  It's your fault Leo. If you want a great e reader, go ahead and buy a Kindle.  I think the price point ($259) is good, especially for someone who loves to read and wants a good portable device that holds a lot of text and audio books.

Bottom line: buy it, you'll like it!


  1. Thanks for inviting me to your blog. And thanks for showing me the Kindle. The screen is very readable, unlike a computer monitor which can be hard on the eyes. Getting the New York Times on it must be awesome! Nice Hanukkah present to yourself!

  2. Well now I am convinced, I want a kindle. I guess I have to get my husband to read your blog so he will be sold too!

  3. Nice post pops. Looking forward to seeing this thing in action.