Kindle – the ebook reading experience

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If there is something wonderful about Christmas it’s the massive discounts and special deals. So the awesome offer at Amazon for their Latest Generation Kindle was not missed and my wife made sure she got me one to end the year on a high note.

Kindle 3 Amazon e-book reader

It’s been about a week that I have spent tweaking and configuring to extract the best from the Kindle and also experiment with other tools which make it a true delight for a reader. Here is a quick review to help decide if the Kindle is for you.

  • Kindle – Latest Generation comes in a fabulous size. At about 6inches it’s just about the size of an average book and is super-thin making it very easy to carry and have it on you all the time.
  • The build looks tough enough to protect itself from daily use, but I am going to get the cover very soon to protect its screen from accidental scratches or hits.
  • I love the built-in Dictionary. No more dictionary.com or searching for the big-fat print edition in the home library.
  • Kindle 3 supports social networking, so I can share notes from my reading material directly with twitter buddies and Facebook friends.
  • The experimental browser is useful and let’s you do a quick web browse if you feel the need.

How am I going to use the Kindle?

Buying the Kindle Books or subscribing to the periodicals is of course the best way to get content to your Kindle. And Kindle’s got a wide range of free ebooks too so that you can test the waters before making your purchase of the paid books. [See my Wish List on Amazon.] But that’s not all. You can do some other interesting stuff and here are a few of my experiments. Don’t know how many will get sticky and continue on my Kindle.

Sendmeastory – A very interesting service and I think it’s going to make for some nice variety reading. Must subscribe.

Instapaper – If there is a web page which you think will need to read at a later time, just bookmark it with Instapaper’s short-cut. Then configure Instapaper to send you email updates which will pull out the article and send it to your Kindle for reading. The page formatting for web pages is not the best so a good tip is to bookmark print-friendly pages.

Send your personal documents to Kindle – Amazon has a good service which lets you send some popular format files like the Microsoft Word, HTML and PDF files to an email address registered with your Kindle. They’ll convert it to a friendly format and it’s delivered to the Kindle. If you’re on the Wi-fi delivery is free but on the 3G it’s going to cost some money, so choose accordingly.

So what’s not happening with the Kindle.

It’s not back-lit, so you are yet dependent on good ambient light for your reading sessions. Of course the fact that it’s not back-lit makes it more comfortable on the eyes, I suppose.

If your dependency on the Kindle increases and you stop buying paper versions – then you are stuck without any reading material if you forget the piece or don’t have enough charge.

As much as I would love to have all my reading material on the Kindle, I think for us in India the printed editions are much cheaper than the $9-11 price ranged Kindle books from Amazon. So I may not stop buying printed books yet. And of course the Kindle editions are going to be very selective.

My bookmarks collection is going to be used a little less. I am going to miss them.

Should I Kindle or iPad?

Totally depends on what your purpose is. I’ve used the Kindle for about a week now and played with a borrowed iPad for a little time. I think the iPad is more of a no non-sense web browsing, photo viewing device especially when on the move. The Kindle is more for serious reading. No distraction of apps, emails, full web-browsing; so I guess the focus is on reading your downloaded material.

What’s your experience been with the Kindle or the iPad? Got some favourite apps you would like to share? Would love to hear from you in the comments area.

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2 thoughts on “Kindle – the ebook reading experience

  1. Kapil

    One of the big reasons I like Kindle for my reading is that it doesn’t have anything else but the book and some music. Unlike the iPad, there is no distraction to check mail, tweet or facebook.

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