Over the long weekend, I’ve spent about 15 hours or so reading on my new Kindle. Overall I’m quite pleased with it. I was really afraid that I was going to feel like a big dufus at having spent so much money on a silly gadget, but I don’t feel that way at all. At least not yet.
I put a few books into it. I bought John Adams from Amazon, over the “whispernet” wireless service. Unfortunately, I don’t have reception at my house, but if I walk to the park or take the Kindle with me to the office, I can use it to buy books.
The wireless really isn’t all that necessary. You spend maybe 1% of your time buying books, and 99% reading them. And you can always transfer books over the USB cable, which is how I loaded a couple of books from manybooks.net
The reading experience is very nice. The placement of the “next page” and “previous page” buttons make it easy to work the device with one hand, so the other hand is free to hold a beverage, or pet the cat.
The electronic paper display is pretty remarkable. The photograph below is badly out of focus, particularly on the left hand side.
In real life, the letters are very crisp. The screen is probably 90% as good as real paper. There is a very slight glare under some lighting conditions, and the contrast could be a little better. These are only minor complaints though. I think the small size and weight of the kindle versus a real book more than make up for them.
To see what I mean, here is the Kindle side by side with the hardcover edition of 1776 (I’ve recently become a touch obsessed with the American Revolution).
It feels much nicer in my hand than a real book, and its center of balance doesn’t change as you flip pages the way a big hardcover does.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my Kindle. I’m not thrilled with the Digital Restrictions Management in the Amazon Store, and I wish every book from every publisher were available for the Kindle, but I am hopeful that these things will work themselves out in the ebook market the same way they did for digital music downloads.