Return to the Kindle question

On my last airplane trip, I sat by a guy using a Kindle.  He thought it was great.

We had a question about Kindle here on the blog before.  But now that the gadget has been out for a while, I want to reopen the issue with questions. 

Do you like it?

Do you actually use it?

What do you use it for?  Books?  Periodicals?  Blogs?  (WDTPRS is available on Kindle, btw.)

Anything else to add?

Since I am actually looking for useful information, if you don’t have a Kindle or something like it (there are other readers, I believe) or haven’t used one, enjoy the entry without posting comments.

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33 Responses to Return to the Kindle question

  1. beez says:

    Maybe I’m crazy and becoming an old coot like that weird lawyer character in the Star Trek episode where Capt. Kirk was on trial for killing an old friend who held a grudge against him, but I prefer to hold a book in my hands. I don’t need batteries and I can continue to read it while the plane is landing or taking off.

  2. beez: I didn’t ask if people preferred books. I asked about the Kindle.

  3. byztex says:

    I got it for Xmas not expecting to use it at all. For 99 cents I purchased the complete Sherlock Holmes collection. I finished the first book in under a week. So far it has been a joy – built-in dictionary, no need to have home or business wireless, and easy access through Amazon.com.

  4. ckrupsha says:

    I use the iPhone version (you can make the font many sizes and colors for contrast) and it has really grown on me. I use it for books that I suspect I may not have an interest in referring to in the future. I have found that I actually do a lot more reading, as well as having more opportunity for reading. I know the concept of reading books on an iPhone sounds painful, but it is really not bad at all. The whole concept did take time to grow on me, and I doubt I would have purchased a Kindle to start with, but after using the free application on the iPhone….Father I think this is something that you enjoy the benefits of, but I would advise you to wait until the end of January for Apple’s presumed announcement of a tablet Mac that is believed to be targeting books and print media.

  5. Ana says:

    The Kindle I purchased several months ago is used continuously for books, periodicals, newspapers, and blogs. I love it. Other than the absence ink and ink stains and page turning, it is not much different than reading a book. In fact, I find it easier, because it tends to be much lighter than any book so it takes up a lot less space and weight when traveling and, as mentioned above, one can change font sizes easily. The battery lives up to Amazon’s advertising.

    Currently, it isn’t the best for research books, but, in the long run as technology improves, I believe this will change. While collecting books will remain a part of life, but for those books we use for research, the “throw away” novels and such, or when traveling, it will become a must. Environmentally, I believe it has many advantages and this may become a “selling point”.

  6. Steven says:

    I have been using a Kindle for over a year after receiving it as a gift Christmas 2008. What a great way to read books. I find the Kindle particularly useful when traveling. If you keep the internet connection turned off and only use it as needed the battery will last over 8 hours. If the internet switch is left on the battery goes in 4-5 hours. The price is right if you wish to purchase newer published books. There is also a lot of freebies on out of date books available. Yes I too like the feel of a real book in my hands while reading, but as I travel enough the Kindle is very practical to use.

  7. An American Mother says:

    ckrupsha,

    Please tell me more about the iPhone version.

    I made a huge technological leap from a cell phone about the size of half a brick that would ONLY make phone calls (no texting, even) to an iPhone about 2 months ago. I’m still somewhat in the throes of future shock, but it’s a very useful little item.

  8. Catholicity says:

    Fr. Z.,

    Go for the Kindle DX. Here’s why: Google is scanning every public domain book into PDFs. The DX’s larger screen enables you to see entire PDF pages without going split screen or squinting at 4 pt. text. I love my DX. It does everything the regular sized Kindle does, it just has a bigger screen. Worth every penny.

    More about the Google Books project and the DX:

    http://jimgarlits.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/a-promise-kept/

  9. RichR says:

    Give the Barnes and Noble device, the Nook, a fair shake. My brother got it and is very excited about it. But, don’t be fooled by the “color LCD” on the Nook…..the main text is still e-ink (B&W). It is OTA as far as book purchase and download.

  10. Catholicity: Go for the Kindle DX.

    Is that what you have?

  11. TomW says:

    I was about to take the plunge and buy a Kindle DX last fall but was alerted to Apple’s development the Tablet that is scheduled for release in March 2010. Let’s face it, Amazon developed a pretty nice tool but their not in the software business and Apple has all the killer aps as you’re likely aware of being an Iphone user. See this article that was released this afternoon on the Tablet. I’ll wait and buy a tool that’s developed by pros.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703580904574638630584151614.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection

  12. shoofoolatte says:

    I had someone buy a Kindle for me so that I could show them how to use theirs – otherwise I would never have bought one for myself. I did not think that I would like it. I had read reviews about how your brain processes the information differently when reading a Kindle, than when reading a book. I somehow thought that letters had to be *still* – printed on paper with ink – in order for my brain to be able to lull over the thoughts.

    Well – I got my Kindle and boy was I surprised. I like reading with it. I downloaded Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, for free. This is a book that I’ve tried to read many times over the years and somehow never gotten more than 25 pages or so into it. Well, I’m now about 75% through it. There is something about the way I can take the text in little chunks that allows me to process this book in a way that I never could before.

    I tried a magazine subscription (The New Yorker) and a newspaper (The NY Times), but I canceled both. The Times is just as easy to read online, and the New Yorker was coming too fast (once a week) for me to keep up with it.

    I don’t bother with blogs on it. I do like that I can carry lots of books in my purse on one little compact notebook. It’s also quite well suited for the little book tray on the treadmill at the gym.

    I hear that Apple’s TABLET, which is coming out next year, is going to blow the Kindle and Nook (or whatever the B&N e-book is called) away. I dunno. The Kindle does seem kind of primitive in its design and the way that you maneuver around, but it gets the job done.

    I wish that it were not so expensive ($300). That seems like a lot for what it is, and I suspect the price will come down. One downside is that it is TOO EASY to buy books. I download the free “sample” pages from Amazon, but almost always end up buying the book – which is just a click away. They have your credit card on file, so the book magically appears in about 10 seconds.

  13. joecct77 says:

    I’ve been using the iPod (iPhone) Kindle for about a year and love it. There are many classic books that are either free or 4.99. Right now I am on Barsoom and reading the adventures of John Carter – I got the complete Edgar Rice Burroughs for $4.99 and next will be all of Jules Verne for the same price.

    Oh, and I had an Epiphany and sprung for a Kindle 2. I switched because I wanted bigger fonts and more less epages to flip. It shows up Weds or Thurs. What I am interested to see if all my Kindle purchases will transfer from the iPod to the Kindle. I think they will. Plus I think the upgrade now supports PDF’s.

    As i understand it, Kindle is now available for the iPod, PC, and Blackberry. If you have one of the 3, why don’t you download the app for free and give it a whirl??? If you like it, spring for the big boy.

  14. Tina in Ashburn says:

    My gadget-loving dh received a Kindle as a Christmas gift and loves it. Hasn’t encountered any glitches. Wish we’d had it on our 8-wk RV trip!

    Its good for commuters and travelers.
    The Washington Post is something like a dollar a month.
    Its very readable and easy on the eyes, the screen is nice and big, better than the smaller screens of other devices.
    You can do word/phrase searches so you can go back looking for that catchy phrase or subject.

    You can get to blogs on it [yup I looked for WDTPRS on it immediately] but its not really practical for blogs I don’t think. This thing is really all about reading documents in its proprietary PDF-like Kindle format.

    The Kindle also works as an audio book – it’ll read text to you while driving or doing the dishes.

  15. I’ve downloaded over 50 books on my Kindle, and I love it. It will never replace books, but to read a novel, or a book that you plan to read only once, it is the way to go. You won’t be disappointed.

  16. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Also the Kindle lets you make notes as you read, or just highlight.

    And you can store your books on your computer, not just on the Amazon site, to save space on the Kindle.

    This whole thing does remind me of that movie Fahrenheit 451 where books are outlawed. Here, we are voluntarily complying. I frequently imagine the digital world disappearing leaving us nothing.

    But until then, hard-copy has its place, and the Kindle offers practicalities too.

  17. Big Hal says:

    I have a Barnes and Noble nook, I’m pretty impressed with the reading experience so far. I quickly got used to reading on it (spent the best part of the first day playing with buttons and features more than I read) and although it has some bugs and needs a few usability fixes it works well enough. I initially bought it intending to use it mostly for e-pub versions of books from Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page but I discovered I could also ‘check out’ e-books from the local library and read them on it.I have also bought a few books for it as well. The disadvantages of e-books and their reader devices are pretty much what you would expect, battery life can cause you problems, software glitches happen from time to time, and you can’t read them during landing or take off on an air plane. But, they also have some nice advantages, the thing takes up the same space in my computer bag whether I have 1 book or 1500 loaded on to it, when I set it down I don’t lose my page due to the wind blowing or the pages just flopping over and I can stop worrying about where I’m going to install my next book shelf.

    I chose the nook because I like the idea of using a touch screen rather than the key board buttons on the Kindle. There is no real difference in the main reading display as the Kindle, nook, and Sony e-reader all use the same basic e-ink display. It is very close to reading a printed page, but since it isn’t backlit you’ll need to turn on a light to read it.

  18. Melody says:

    I want one but it’s still so expensive I can’t justify it to myself.

  19. ipadre says:

    Hold your breath just a bit. There is a big announcement from Apple at the end of the month. Probably the new tablet. If it is as many speculate, it will be another revolution and probably kill the Kindle!

  20. Andy Lucy says:

    I use a Sony PRS-600. Same size screen as the Kindle. Touch-screen interface. Will accept SD cards to drastically increase library size. You can make notes on the text, bookmark pages, the whole bit.

    My problem with the Kindle is not with the hardware, per se, as I have used both a Kindle and a Kindle 2, and there is little functional difference between the Kindle and my Sony save for the wireless interface on the Kindle. My problem is with Amazon. As you may recall, back in July, they released Kindle copies of Animal Farm and 1984. Turns out there were some electronic rights issues… so Amazon deleted them from peoples’ Kindles. I have a huge problem with them being able to access my machine and remove data without consulting me first. They say that it won’t happen again, however I am not quite as sanguine about that as Amazon seems to be.

    Also, a word of advice. No matter which reader you decide on, purchase an hard case for it. Mine lives in my backpack that I carry back and forth to work, and the screen would have been shattered long since had it not been in a hard case.

  21. caite says:

    I agree with Andy above. My issue is not with the hardware of any particular e-reader so much. My issue is with the very status of the e-book in the US as it stands now. You pay your money, to Amazon or B&N or whoever, not to buy a book but to buy the rights to download a file. You actually own nothing, except the right to download as many times as they allow you.

    As to the hardware of the Kindle, as with any electronics, no doubt in short order it will be obsolete and you will be forced to buy something new. I wonder what will happen to all those ‘books’ I don’t actually own.

  22. Lindy says:

    I just got a Kindle for Christmas and just finished my first book on it. It downloaded in less than a minute and cost $9.99, much less than even Costco! I read a lot of books and don’t have the library space anymore for all of them. I will continue to buy some books, but the light weight and convenience of the Kindle will be terrific for trips! I also downloaded 4 classics for free. Can’t beat that! I am very surprised how much I like it and never would have bought one for myself. My husband is a pilot and has to rely on paperbacks when he is traveling because of the space issue.

  23. Jonathan says:

    I am a limited fan of the Kindle. I love books, love the sensation of holding them, the binding, the typeface, looking at them on my bookshelf. But I travel a lot, and the Kindle fills a real need. I now have my newpaper subscription to the Kindle instead of in print, which is not only environmentally friendlier, but I get my newspaper everywhere, including internationally. I also have a ready supply of books when I travel. Your can down load the classics for next to nothing (I got the complete works of Jane Austin for $1) and that is what I read. If I am going to spend $20 or so on a book, I always get it in hardback. Put a Kindle on your Wishlist and I will buy it for you.

  24. PS says:

    I have a Kindle. I don’t really use it for blogs or the like as, frankly, it’s slower than I care for (I have a DX) and my phone browser is simply faster and easier to use.

    That said, I love my Kindle. I like to read a few books at once and the Kindle allows me to carry one small thing around rather than 3 or 4 books. There is a great deal of flexibility too. I have the Confessions at my fingertips. I didn’t have to haul around _A Secular Age_ along with the other big history book I was reading. All that is fantastic.

    All the people talking about not wanting to give up the tactile experience of reading the printed word have a point, and I will never dump all my books.

    Amazon got burned early on by having to remove books from people’s kindles because Amazon had screwed up the copyrights. They seem to have worked hard to iron that out.

    The only real annoyance is the selection. While Amazon’s library of Kindle books grows, there are plenty of under- or un- represented authors. I would check amazon.com’s kindle store to see if there are enough of the books you would want on there to justify the purchase.

    I saved up forever for the Kindle. I doubt I can afford the iSlate (lowball guesses are coming in at around $700, with most thinking it will sit closer to $1000), but if you are interested in the iSlate, the below link should be helpful:

    http://gizmodo.com/5434566/the-exhaustive-guide-to-apple-tablet-rumors

    I just can’t justify the price for a huge ipod touch with 3g.

  25. Andy Lucy says:

    Comment by PS:

    “Amazon got burned early on by having to remove books from people’s kindles because Amazon had screwed up the copyrights. They seem to have worked hard to iron that out.”

    My problem is not that Amazon messed up. Nor that they have “ironed that out.” My problem with the whole system is that they can come on to my reader and remove content without my approval. Maybe I have become like Bill Adama early in BSG’s run, but there is a limit to how connected I need to be. Allowing anyone, even the purveyor of the e-books, access to my reader is one thing. But these guys don’t even have to tell you. I guess I am just a technological Luddite… like an Amish with a Z-28. lol

    I will stick with my Sony 600… and as long as Project Gutenberg is up and running, I’ll have a huge supply of stuff to read… for free!!

  26. catholicmidwest says:

    Ok, I have a couple of questions:

    I am hearing that if you have a kindle (v. 2) and you buy 10 books, for instance, that you can store them on the kindle or you can store them at Amazon or you can store them on your computer (or maybe all 3?), correct?

    Is there any way to get books directly from the computer to the kindle (or from the kindle to the computer) without involving Amazon?

    And of course, I’m assuming that you can only open and read on one device at any given time, since you only bought one copy, correct?

  27. catholicmidwest says:

    I’d love to have one of these things. I own thousands of books and some of the books I buy I only read once anyway and they just take up shelf space unless I give them away.

    Buying a book at $20, reading it once and giving it away is more expensive than paying $9.95 or whatever, reading it that once and being done with it. Newspapers, same thing.

    Some books, I’d never buy for this thing: things I want to keep, things that NEED color illustrations, but all the books I buy aren’t like that….

  28. BillR says:

    I have used a kindle and my wife has kindle software on her iTouch. The technology is pretty impressive and will surely get better with time. The only issue I have with kindle, nook, & PRS is that they are single use tools that only display black and white. The cost of the screen technology (and they are all made by the same company) made bundling cost prohibitive. That will soon change and in a year or so you will find something the size of a kindle but operates like a light laptop or a large iTouch with a full color screen. Apple’s tablet will open the door but there are others who will be close behind.

  29. Jaibee says:

    I got a Kindle for my birthday this December and so far I love it.

    I have a neuromuscular condition, so it’s a great help to be able to have my Bible, Catechism, and Vatican II documents on my Kindle, as opposed to carrying around 3 heavy books to my classes at seminary.

    In addition, you are able to upload your own content to the device. I can download papal encyclicals from Vatican.va and my priests’ homilies.

    It has support for MP3 playback, so I can even put the rosary on it!

    The Kindle will sync between your PC and your iPhone, and I believe that each book that you buy can simultaneously be on up to 6 devices.

    The new version of the Kindle 2 has international support, so you can buy books when you are traveling. Everything, even your notes, are backed up on Amazon’s server, so you don’t lose anything, even if your device breaks — which is an advantage over some of the other readers, where your content is only saved locally on a memory card.

  30. catholicmidwest says:

    Jaibee,
    How do you “upload your own data?” Do you sent it to Amazon and they send it back? Or is there a way to USB it over from your computer to the Kindle?

  31. Bill in Texas says:

    My wife and both of my daughters have Kindle 2s. They love them. They read books. They read a *lot* more books on the Kindle than they read dead tree versions. In fact, I don’t believe they have bought more than a handful of books each since they received the Kindles. They do not read magazines, weblogs, pdfs or other content on their Kindles. Just books. They like the Kindle because they can have it with them at all times and by doing so they have ALL of their books with them. (Wife is a NICU nurse, one daughter is a Physical Therapist, and the other is an emergency services dispatcher — they read on their breaks, not while/instead of working.)

    I read Kindle books on my iPhone. I love doing this. I am too cheap to buy a Kindle for myself (I paid for two of the three mentioned above), and I could not tear my wife’s Kindle from her hands if I tried. (I wouldn’t try. I love my wife, and it might damage the Kindle.) The smaller screen on the iPhone does not interfere with my enjoyment or with the value to me of the books that I read there. I still read regular books, however (more that way than on the iPhone — most of what I read isn’t available in Kindle format, being technical or religious in nature rather than popular fiction or non-fiction).

    I hope this is helpful to you.

  32. Jaibee says:

    Catholicmidwest,

    You can either e-mail it to yourself and have it automatically be sent wirelessly to your Kindle at yourname@kindle.com for a fee (I think 15 cents per megabyte). Or you can e-mail it to yourname@free.kindle.com and it will e-mail back to you a Kindle-compatible version. If you are e-mailing a PDF, type “Convert” in the subject line and it will convert this to a Kindle-friendly format. Then, you can take that file and put in on your Kindle using the USB cord — free! :)

    For content from the Vatican’s website, I’ve found it easier to copy-paste into Word, remove the frames, then upload the .doc to me@free.kindle.com, then put them on the device.

    I wonder, is there any copyright restriction from taking these Kindle-friendly files and posting them on my website, so that other Kindle users would have access to the papal documents without having to go through the extra steps? Does anyone know?