Amazon's Kindle

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Confessor, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Confessor

    Confessor New Member

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    Hey everyone, I'm considering purchasing a kindle. I'm looking at purchasing the Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology. Its currently sold at of course, Amazon.com. My main question is if anyone here owns one, is it worth the price? Also, I'm trying to find out what free books are on the kindle? If anyone knows of a website or an introduction packet that would be helpful??

    The main reason I'd like to get it, is of course, decrease the amount of books I own.
    Of course I will keep the books I have signed by authors and such but I'm running out of room for books. Any help would be greatly appreciated. If anyone here owns one, what are your thoughts??

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  2. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Give me a day or two and I can chime in (got one in the post now from Amazon :)).
    Personally I went with cheaper regular edition not the 3G version. I reasoned that if I'm ever in a country or place where I can't get to a computer or cybercafe or even a remote connection point for a laptop then there is a good chance there isn't 3G reception either ;) Further its easy to preplan and carry more books than you'll need on a trip esp if the books don't add any bulk or weight in the kindel.

    It's a nice feature I won't disagree on that front, but I felt that I didn't need it for purchasing more books. Furthermore the reports I've read on its websurfing are that its very limited and not that good yet. It might improve with updates and it might also improve with a new kindel generation release.



    Myself I got the kindel more to reduce the carrying weight and size when I move around the place - PDFs and textbooks can add a lot of bulk and weight to carrying so its a lot easier to have a copy on digital that I can read easily and lightly.
    Also remember that the kindel lets you easily read a lot of older print books for free (many classics are free) and there are several website listed on the amazon free section which link to various libraries and groups which have free PDF, kindel and other readable digital formats on to dip into.


    Book prices on Kindel are however interesting since many are not much cheaper than the paperback editions - excepting on generally the very mainstream releases. I'm hoping however that with the digital ease and speed of purchasing that the prices will start to lower as companies push for more sales - esp since there are now 0 production costs for the publishers.

    I'm also hoping that a lot of out of print and hard to find books will slowly work their way onto digital format - I hate it when there are old books that are only for sale in high priced limited editions or are in other countries (postage costs a fair bit).
     
  3. ML Hamilton

    ML Hamilton ML Hamilton

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    I went to Best Buy and looked at all of the different ereaders available on the market. I could hold them and try them out. I decided I would get the Kindle. It didn't have all the bells and whistles of the other ereaders, but it was the lightest and easiest to use. I don't know if that helps, but that's what I intend to buy as soon as I can.

    I know one of my students told me she bought a Nook and it came with a 100 free books. I don't think the Kindle comes with that; however, most of the books weren't ones she intended to keep.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Free books though is easy - most of the classics are free on the net anyway so they can just preload the unit with a load of free books plus a few popular fiction novels (which tend to be less in cost anway). Unless they were giving away really good books in that deal that were costing money otherwise it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me
     
  5. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    I've had an ebook reader - an Aluratek Libre - for close to a year now, and I'm not sure how I ever survived without one.

    While the Libre was cheap and convenient, it doesn't do some things I want, and the battery is giving me a little bit of trouble, so I'll be buying a Kindle 3 soon, without the WiFi since I could spend that $50 on books instead.

    Free books are a snap, though: Project Gutenberg has a vast selection of public-domain works. The American site is the biggest by far, but there are others as well.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    IT annoys me a little that Amazon USA has far more ebooks than Amazon UK and annoyingly you can't order from USA amazon in the UK (apparently there are some "tricks" but it relies on deceptive use of registered addresses and I'd rather keep a nice clean slate with amazon)
     
  7. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    I now has a kindely thingy!!

    Ok so lets go through this step by step

    It comes in a pretty large box and for a handheld digital device it looks big, though it is only common book size. Secondly it comes with one plastic sheet stuck on top and bottom for protection like most gadgets - so peel those off and you're left with that common stuck on sheet of stuff with the quick start guide words on it - so peel that off too.

    Only it won't peel off - because that is the kindels e-ink at work (it doesn't need a charge to retain display). So first shot yes e-ink really is as good as you've heard in these generation kindels.

    Onto the next phase the plug comes with a USB head connected into a power socket and a regular micro USB connection at the other end. You should be able to plug it into the computer and have it charge via USB whilst surfing and using the kindle as normal, but i've had troubles getting it out of the computer interface mass storage mode (even using hardware removal it does not seem to work). For now I've got it on regular power from the plug and I'll do a bit more reading on this part since it should be fairly simple.

    Next up the setup - if you bought it through Amazon it comes pre-loaded and registered to that Amazon account (great! :)), but of course you can change this at a later point (I'll make the assumption that if you gift it to someone using amazons gifting method that they won't auto register it to your account - though if you give it in person you will have to boot it up and de-register yourself from it).
    Secondly the kindle shop operates with the one click buying method on amazon (oooh so dangerous ;)) but if you've older (now disused/expired) cards in your amazon account listed the kindle/one click buy will auto pick the first in the list - which gives you a nice little warning on the kindle home page that something went wrong. I found it easier to fix this in the PC amazon version (removing the older cards) but you can fix it in kindle as well.

    Book purchasing is very simple one click affair and browsing is fairly simple as well through the amazon shop.


    So now onto operate now that we are through with the start up.
    First off its light and easy to hold, though being very thin it can be a little annoyance to hold in the hand, for this and for general protection I think the wallet holders you can buy are an ideal option (though I'm not buying an amazon one at £50 for a bit of leather with a few clips and a fold in the middle!).
    The first surprise is the back/forward controls. Each side there is a large scroll tab and above it a smaller one - both of the large ones (either side) scroll forward and both the upper small ones scroll back. This takes a moment to get used to, but it does mean you can hold the kindle in either hand and retain full control over back/forward control. My hands would have preferred them a little lower down the unit to make back a bit easier to reach- but also with the natural resting position of the hand I suspect this would be tricky without having back under your thumb the whole time (instead forward is which is more normal for book reading).

    Otherwise you've the small keyboard which allows you text and other controls - responsive, but of course through its small size you won't be writing your next novel on it. Numbers and symbols are selected through a menu option.

    Which brings us to the kindles scrolling/mouse control. This I think is my first downside point since (either though the kindles processing or the e-ink properties) it is a little slower than idea. It's not a snappy response like you get with your computer mouse, but the lag is not unbearable and selection of items is very easy once you get used to it. Menus and the kindle website is easily navigable with this setup. On the subject of delays you'll also notice the screen go a little odd when flicking the page (a blink) which again I assume is the e-ink reconfiguring itself to the new page. Something that I think most used to turning pages would get used to fairly fast, something that idealy would be improved upon in future editions, but is perfectly workable for the now.


    That's about as far as I've got thus far - not tried using the email send function or PDFs quite yet, but I've got a book on it and it seems to work very well; though I might mess around with font size to get a few more words on the page (I like a nice page of words to read).
    To sum up - it works, it works well and the e-ink is really as good as you've heard. The system is a little more sluggish in little ways as compared to a PC type computer, but not to a point where it becomes an annoyance.
    Now I'm just going to go and try to avoid spending 100s on books..

    Oh and I tried the text to speech function - it works better than I thought it would, but it is still a very robotic male/female voice. If you want a good listening experience audiobooks is the only real way forward, but this at least opens up options for a lot of the blind/hard of seeing people to get some access to books not currently in audiobook format

    Oh and for some reason Viginia Woolf appears on the front screen when in standby mode - not sure about that bit o_O ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011
  8. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Little update - tested PDF (lightly) and music playing

    Music playing first: Note this is listed as an experimental feature.
    Overall music quality sounds ok, even when using the kindles speakers, though their small size means you mostly lose the base. Headphones are far superior for getting a better sound quality. However the Kindle appears to have some power alloaction or processing problems when dealing with playing music and performing some actions.
    First up you can get a slight clip sound every now and again if you perform more complex actions (opening a document - scrolling fast through more than one page). For one page scrolling whilst reading it seems perfectly fine.
    I've also noticed that the volume can sometimes seem to dip and rise very slightly. This is a bit more erratic and does not happen all the time at all (and tends to be similar to the clipping effect).

    Note for the MPE test I turned the wireless off so as to reduce what the kindle was spending processing and battery power on at the same time. Overall its a decent quality and works well when normally reading a book. Biggest downside though is the lack or organisation and music management - you have two controls - pause/stop music and next track (as well as volume control of course). This means you can't have playsets, go back a track; fast forward;rewind etc.... Its not quite in the same league as a good MPE player would give you so there is some work for Amazon to improve upon, but as an extra feature it works well - though I'll stick to my MP3 player for music for now



    PDF - a little more tricky since you can get different results if you formate the PDF into different formats. Working with a straight adobe PDF your reading is limited. Unlike kindle books which are presented to you in a line by line format (not page by page) PDFs are presented full pages at a time on the reader. This can make the text rather small (ok for my eyes but some might have difficulty). Furthermore you cannot zoom in as easily since increasing the magnification only magnifies a section of the page rather than increasing the actual text size itself.
    This gets tricky because it means whilst you get an easier to read text the lines get the end chopped off and you have to scroll side to side to read the end of the line and then return to read the start of the next line. It's a little disappointing, but I'll have to play with other PDF type formats and see if there isn't one that offers a better integration with the Kindle. I'll note that US customers get to choose a 3rd 3rd generation kindle which is oversized (ok larger) which is oft recommended for better PDF reading (UK and european customers don't have this kindle on the market)
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011
  9. Sorcha

    Sorcha Moderator Staff Member

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    I love mine :) I have the wi-fi only version which has generally been fine. I'd like the 3G but the price was not worth it to me.

    I highly recommend this case if you get one. It's worth every penny.
     
  10. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    Overread, I don't know how it would work on a Kindle, but when I read some PDFs on my Libre it helps to switch to landscape, turn off refresh, then increase font size, but not so much that it runs off the right side of the screen. This works even better when the PDF was published in columns.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Landscape mode works well, save for the fact that it really messes with any tables or images in the PDF itself. for a straight text PDF its fine - but it seems to really mess up and not show tables or images present sometimes. Other times scrolling up and then down might show the table/image or it might not.

    So text reading is landscape and images is portrait - thus far ;)
     
  12. ML Hamilton

    ML Hamilton ML Hamilton

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    You people are making me want one right now. I'm trying to stop my need for instant gratification and rampant consumerism. Argh! I feel like a five year old again. I want a Kindle. I want a Kindle.
     
  13. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    This might or might not help your choice:
    http://www.thefantasyforum.com/showthread.php?t=24185

    not everything has to be commercial ;)

    But yes kindle makes book ordering dangerously easy since from the kindle itself its all one click ordering. I've not added it up yet, but I'm pretty sure I've burnt all the money I saved by not getting the leather wallet (yet..) or the 3G version on books :)

    Still good news is I now at least have a way to feed my Discworld addiction without having to wait days between books (though I'm going to have to get at least one copy of every version which has the proper original cover art on it - not these dark minimalist modern ones that seem to be all the rage right now)
     
  14. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

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    My ebook reader has already saved me money in free classics and the occasional 99-cent ebook.

    You can read Lord Dunsany, George MacDonald, Robert E. Howard, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, H. P. Lovecraft, Joseph Conrad, Jane Austen, Big Bill Shakespeare, Zane Grey, and so many others for free.

    Free.

    :gbounce:

    You can also find excellent writers like Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking in ebooks, but not in bookstores.
     
  15. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Just discovered - press ALT + SHIFT + M to start a minesweeper game!
    Also when in that game press G to play GoMoku (pressing M then returns you to minesweeper)
     
  16. Confessor

    Confessor New Member

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    Got the Kindle last week and Love it! I'm mainly using it for reading books. The quality of each book is really good. While some are a bit pricey, its worth spending 10 dollars over a 20 - 25 dollar hardcover. I've managed to downsize my collection by 80% with the exception of my signed by author - hard covers. I went with the 3g with free wifi version $180. So far I've bought about 8 books and uploaded a lot of free ones onto it. I'd recommend a kindle to anyone looking to downsize a collection. Only disadvantage, not all the books I currently own are available yet. Hopefully they will become available.
     
  17. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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