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Likes/Dislikes of Kindle

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#1 csa/montana

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 10:13 PM

Title says it all; those of you that have one, what are the pros & cons of the Kindle?

Thanks! :)

#2 anat

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 11:21 PM

I like it very much and use it to control my SBIG SG4 and a DSLR via an Astro Wifi Hub acting as a webserver:
http://www.cloudynig...36/Main/3668340

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#3 anat

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 11:23 PM

Images can be downloaded and reviewed on the Kindle Browser.

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#4 anat

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 11:26 PM

I can control the autoguider as well. In summary, my eyes will not get exposed to any bright LCD screen :) No eye strain! And I can walk around :)

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#5 csa/montana

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 11:30 PM

Wow! Had no idea it was capable of things such as this :shocked:

#6 bicparker

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 11:40 PM

Likes:
-Long battery life (new model even longer, up to a month). This is very useful when you are traveling and don't know where your next charge will be.
-Easy to read in daylight
-Easy to read at night with a dim red light
-Font changes are across a useful range
-Nice compact size
-Generally fast response and it loads books quickly
-Built in dictionary (I use it more than I thought I would)
-Highlight/annotation features
-Reasonably decent search feature (I especially like how it returns hits)
-Enormous storage capacity
-Light weight
-Pretty darn easy to use (I have two older relatives who are computer challenged but took to the Kindle like a duck to water).

Cons:
-Keyboard keys are a bit small
-Larger graphics are not usable; this is really for standard text and pictures. graphic based reference books like atlases don't really work as well here.
-Cursor movement is a bit slow. If you are used to the responsiveness of touch screens like the iPad, you may be a bit frustrated.
-PDF's display - your mileage will vary. Some PDF's display and page well, others, not so much.

One thing that I have come to learn is that the way a book is organized in the Kindle format (i.e., index, table of contents, and other internal hyperlinks) will affect the quality of your experience considerably. This isn't such a big deal with general fiction books, but is a huge issue with reference books or books that you may be using for reference. This is where it is worth it to try book samples before you buy. Just remember that some of what may make a Kindle seem good or bad has more to do with how well the content is organized or set up, not with the device itself.

Overall, I really enjoy the Kindle. It is pretty simple and does what it is designed to do very well, i.e., operate as an electronic book. I love real books, but I also travel a lot for work and this has been a great way for me to take a huge library with me without the weight and size penalty.

#7 csa/montana

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 12:04 AM

Thanks Bic; your post is very informative, & appreciated!

#8 psonice

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 05:08 AM

I'm actually against these ebook readers in general, for now at least, and despite being a heavy reader of ebooks myself for nearly 10 years now. My thinking is roughly this:

You're buying a bit of electronic equipment. It's probably going to last 5 years max before needing an upgrade or the batteries dying or the display wearing out or whatever. Quite likely it'll be a lot less than 5. That makes it actually quite expensive and wasteful.

Plus, DRM. Most (all?) of the ebook stores use DRM to protect their books from what I've seen, so you can't copy them easily. Having seen the utter mess that DRMed content can leave you in with MP3s, I will never, ever buy content with DRM unless I know I can remove the protection easily, or it's standard enough to not be an issue (like DVD encryption isn't much of an issue).

To put this in perspective, there's a lot of people out there with a big music collection they bought online. The companies involved have given up on the business or moved to a new format, and have turned the DRM servers off. Next time these people buy a new computer, they're going to lose all of that music, and it's never going to play on any other MP3 players other than the ones they originally bought. Not good! If you're buying books for the kindle, check you'll be able to use them on some other random device from some other random manufacturer in a couple of years, or you might end up either locked into buying a kindle forever, or lose all the books you bought.

Ebook readers are still way behind actual books in most cases too. Actual books are much more readable, in any lighting except for dark. They can page turn instantly, in fact so fast you can flick through to find what you want instead of having to search or find the index. They have photo quality graphics. They last practically forever, and never run out of battery. There's no DRM. You can lend it to a friend easily, and when you've finished it you can sell it on or give it to a charity. They're even competitive on price, or quite often cheaper than the digital version, which is just silly when you think about it.

But the main thing for me is that it's an extra device to carry around that just does one single thing. Instead, I'd pick up an ipad or something - it's perhaps not as good for reading, but it's good enough and it'll do a ton of other useful things too. Or if I don't need the extra screen space, I'll use my phone. Ok, the screen is a bit small, but I can comfortably read a book on it. And I carry a phone around already, so it's effectively free and perfectly portable. I've read a lot of books on my phone :)

All that said, if you need an ebook reader, and it fits what you want to do with it, the kindle is supposed to be good.

As a side note, there's a new one called the 'nook colour'. It's LCD based, which has advantages and disadvantages, but it's something half way between a kindle and ipad, and runs android.

#9 csa/montana

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 09:51 AM

You're buying a bit of electronic equipment. It's probably going to last 5 years max before needing an upgrade or the batteries dying or the display wearing out or whatever. Quite likely it'll be a lot less than 5. That makes it actually quite expensive and wasteful.



For apprx $130; if it lasts a couple of years, I feel I've gotten my money's worth!

As far as music, I have no interest in any device, other than my computer or stereo system, and purchased cd's.

The lighted display will be very beneficial for me. The type of books I mainly am purchasing this for, is purely entertainment; mysteries, etc. I live quite a ways out of town, & the Kindle will certainly come in handy for purchasing books, when I'm unable to get into town.

But the main thing for me is that it's an extra device to carry around that just does one single thing. Instead, I'd pick up an ipad or something - it's perhaps not as good for reading, but it's good enough and it'll do a ton of other useful things too. Or if I don't need the extra screen space, I'll use my phone. Ok, the screen is a bit small, but I can comfortably read a book on it. And I carry a phone around already, so it's effectively free and perfectly portable. I've read a lot of books on my phone



About the only time I would be carrying it, is Dr. appts. My cell phone has very spotty coverage here; and I only carry it when I drive into town, in case of emergency. I use a prepaid phone, as I never use any minutes. Going on a regular plan of about $30 a month would not be an option in my case. I would love an ipad, but the difference in cost, for what I'd use it for; isn't cost effective in my case.

I do appreciate seeing the "down" side of the Kindle, you've made very good points; but for my casual usage & needs, I believe it will fit nicely for my reading. I'm way behind in the "techy" department, so do appreciate your feedback.

Thanks for your input, it definitely will give others considering one, points to consider.

#10 rboe

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 10:21 AM

Bic; which version of the Kindle do you use?

#11 psonice

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 11:05 AM

For apprx $130; if it lasts a couple of years, I feel I've gotten my money's worth!

As far as music, I have no interest in any device, other than my computer or stereo system, and purchased cd's.


Yeah. $130 is definitely cheap for a bit of kit like this at the moment. But whether it works out cheap or not long term depends on your reading habits I suspect. If you buy new books when they come out in hardback, it might work out cheaper, but if you buy old books from a charity shop or swap them with friends like I often do, your reading is about to get extremely expensive :)

The value of something like an ipad would be web browsing, watching films etc., games, and the many wonders of the app store more than music. If you don't need any of that, it's wasted money, although the app store should never be discounted - there's always something unexpected and super useful in there. I'd like one for instant + hassle free web browsing/email from the living room, things like the tv guide, recipe apps, and a todo list. Plus books. None of that really justifies the price though, so I'll do without :)

#12 BoriSpider

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 11:12 AM

Have you seen Calibre . The ebook organizer for your computer.
You can import ebooks of different flavors and then down
load them into different readers.

#13 bicparker

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 11:30 AM

Rob, I have the Kindle 2, which has just recently been superseded by a newer generation with more memory, longer battery life, better screen contrast, and a little bit better keypad and navigation widget. Plus you can use it over Wi-Fi, which can be a bit of a plus.

The wi-fi is sort of a non-item for me since I live in a metro area with good 3G and Amazon doesn't charge for that in any case. However, if you are away from the 'burb's and have readily accessible wi-fi, it is certainly a good option to have. I found that I only really use it when I am browsing and downloading books.

For Carol, there were a couple of things I should have mentioned to get if you buy Kindle:

1) Get a cover. A simple foldover cover is fine and the ones that are Amazon branded are among the best and are priced well, in my opinion. There are many reasons to have a cover, so just get one.
2) Get a book light. This is not just for reading in bed in the dark, but also for all of those places where the lighting may not be optimal.

A couple of other comments, too.

I looked at the Nook (the first generation model). It was way too slow at the time and its navigation interfaces were not as robust. B&N has improved its performance since then. They also came out with the "color" Nook, which basically sacrifices battery life for a color screen. In my opinion, you might as well just get a basic iPad and download the free Nook application instead (which I have on my iPad, btw). I'm still not crazy about the Nook device, as it seems that B&N has been a bit uneven in its QA for releases and also uncertain as to how they want to market it. It has a good stable underlying operating system (Android, which is a Linux derivative), as does the Kindle (which also uses a version of Linux). But you can tell the difference between the software development groups at B&N and Amazon (the latter has far more experience and is more deeply embedded into the core functions of the company). Amazon's overall software maturity made me more comfortable in purchasing the Kindle, in the final analysis.

That brings up another set of things that I generally like about both the Kindle and Nook e-readers for the iPad and iPhone (or any other device). They both have very good interfaces on the Apple devices, if you have those, and are really enjoyable to use (actually so does the iBook app, as well). Also, since the books are in Amazon and B&N's clouds, respectively, I can retrieve those books interchangeably between my devices in a fairly transparent fashion, with my last reading point and any bookmarks, notes, and highlights preserved. Those e-readers are free downloads and end up being a real plus if you also have those devices. And they don't require you to own a Nook or Kindle to use them, as far as that goes.

I really won't get into the real books vs ebooks debates. That is for another thread, perhaps. Carol, just get a Kindle, I think you will like it and it sounds like it will do what you want.

#14 psonice

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 11:32 AM

Yep, I've used that to put books onto my iphone. Actually, I don't really like it, but I have to say it was the best of the bunch I've tried :D After some learning it's pretty easy to get a book into the right format, then it can just be dropped onto itunes to load.

#15 psonice

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 12:04 PM

Bic, which of the iOS ebook apps do you find best? I've only bothered to use the ibooks one so far.

#16 csa/montana

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 12:54 PM

your reading is about to get extremely expensive



The convenience is well worth the cost, to me.

The value of something like an ipad would be web browsing, watching films etc., games, and the many wonders of the app store more than music.



I don't watch films, other than on the tv, any games I play are on my computer, which of course, also is my web browser.

#17 csa/montana

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 12:56 PM

:waytogo: Thanks for that link; I've bookmarked it!

#18 csa/montana

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 12:59 PM

Bic, thanks again for your response!

Carol, just get a Kindle, I think you will like it and it sounds like it will do what you want.



Yes, I'm definitely getting one! :jump:

#19 bicparker

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 03:18 PM

Bic, which of the iOS ebook apps do you find best? I've only bothered to use the ibooks one so far.


psonice,

That is a tough question because they all have very similar functionality and interfaces. Most of the differences are minor, except for the dictionary function, which is very good in Kindle, almost as good in iBooks, and more bare bones in Nook.

First, I have to say, especially on the iPad, these are really good book readers that let you read the book and don't really get in the way of that activity. That, in my mind, should be the primary goal of any book reader. To let you read. Everything else is fluff or sauce for the goose.

They all organize their libraries in a similar fashion, although iBooks has its "bookshelf" metaphor design, which functionally is still the same as the icon arrangement in Kindle and Nook. One weakness and criticism I have with all 3 apps is that you can only organize them according to most recently read, titles, and authors (for Nook and Kindle) and authors, titles, and categories (for iBooks). The categories in iBooks is somewhat useful, but you can't create your own categories or groupings. Nook and iBooks also have a search feature, which is also helpful, but if you have a lot of books in your collections, they are all a bit lacking in letting you organize your libraries.

iBooks keeps its store within the application, which I actually like a bit better than the other two, which go to their respective websites through the web browser (Safari, in this case). I like the dedicated app better since it is a bit more responsive and dedicated to book buying, so you don't have to navigate around a bunch of other stuff found on Amazon and B&N's sites. Additionally, you don't leave the iBook app, so you can go back to where you were without reloading/restarting the application (under the current iOS 3.x software). This is not really a deal breaker, of course, just a minor annoyance on my part. And part of that annoyance will go away on the iPad when the iOS 4 software comes out for it.

The reading experience under all 3 apps is more or less the same. Kindle and iBook let you turn pages (and even sort of half turn pages leisurely) while Nook lets you tap or slide pages from one to the next. One thing worth noting, however... the touch screen commands are slightly different between the applications. This isn't a problem, but you just have to remember that you double tap in one app to get the dictionary or to highlight, and you press and hold in another app.

They all let you adjust the font size but beyond that there are few differences. Again, none of these seemed significant enough to me to put one over the other. Here are some of the reading features compared:

Kindle -
Change font size
Change brightness
Change background (white, sepia, white on black)
Highlight for dictionary, annotation, bookmark
Highlight section for reference
Bookmark page
Search book for words, phrases, etc.
Basic reading mode (takes out the page turn animations and lets you just slide or tap from one page to the next)

Nook -
Change font size
Change brightness
Change margin
Highlight for dictionary, annotation
Highlight section for reference
Search book for words, phrases, etc.

iBook -
Change font size
Change brightness
Change background to sepia
Change fonts (really typefaces) between 6 different options
Highlight for dictionary, annotation, bookmark
Highlight section for reference
Bookmark page
Search book for words, phrases, etc.

So, really no huge differences. Kindle and iBook have a slight edge on features, but nothing that I would consider significant. I found I could read equally well on all 3 :). The best news is that there is nothing really bad about these readers that would make me tell someone else to not use them.

They do what they are supposed to do.

#20 Paula E

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 03:22 PM

I looked at the Nook (the first generation model). It was way too slow at the time and its navigation interfaces were not as robust. B&N has improved its performance since then.


FWIW we have both a Kindle and a Nook. My wife prefers the Nook. (I don't especially like either of them.)

The one thing to look at before you pick either one is to make sure that your favorite authors, works you are interested in, etc. are available on whichever device you choose. (We have a Nook because Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series stopped being available on Kindle!)

My opinion is that tablets are likely to absorb eReaders, it is just a matter of time.

In the meantime, if you are as compulsive of a reader as my wife is, these things are very useful. They save an enormous amount of space over physical books. They are vastly superior for travel to a real book, as well.

#21 psonice

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 05:03 PM

The convenience is well worth the cost, to me.


In that case, go for it :) The cost is not bad at all actually, other than that you lose the option to buy from the charity shop and swap with friends.

Although having said that I feel compelled to say that the price of digital media in general is way too high. Consider the cost of printing a book, and all the distribution costs etc., then compare printed and digital prices :( Same goes for music, it's rarely cheaper to buy digital, and you're getting an inferior sounding copy in most cases with no nice printed cover, lyrics and so on. It sure is convenient when you want just a single track though!

Bic: thanks, excellent breakdown there! I'll stick with ibooks then, if the others don't offer much improvement on the reading side. You're right about the store too. Ok, so I don't buy books in digital format, but there's a ton of classics on there for free :D

#22 csa/montana

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 05:15 PM

you lose the option to buy from the charity shop and swap with friends.



I've never done either in the past.

I know I'll be most happy with the Kindle, for my purpose. :grin:

#23 psonice

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 06:38 PM

I can recommend both :) Lots of good books to be had at the charity shops (here at least), for really low prices and you're supporting the charity. Only downside is you're not supporting the authors as they're generally second hand. Not much of an issue if the book is old and the author long dead, or the author is stinking rich already :D

Swapping books with friends is good, you get to discover lots of new authors, and you find people with the same taste as you who give you books you'll like. Good stuff.

#24 Paula E

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 06:39 PM

In that case, go for it :) The cost is not bad at all actually, other than that you lose the option to buy from the charity shop and swap with friends.


How do you lose the option to buy from a charity shop? You do lose the option to sell to them... ;)

Nook has an option to lend a book for 14 days. It's fairly limited, however, it's better than nothing.

#25 psonice

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 07:52 PM

yeah, true, you're still free to read books the old way as well (I normally have both an ebook and a regular book on the go at any given time, no compatibility issues ;))

Not being able to pass the book on at the end is kind of bugging me though.. books must make up a good percentage of my charitable donations.

I've seen that lending option mentioned somewhere. It's definitely a good start, and probably just enough for a short book. I think it's kind of a sad loss though if you can no longer pass a book around. Perhaps good for the publishers + authors? We'll have to see I guess.

Personally I'd like to see a system where I can buy an ebook, then when I've finished with it, give it to a friend. Then I can no longer read it, he/she can (to prevent simple piracy). It should be possible to give it to a charity too, who could then resell it second hand online on their own store. The authors and publishers won't like that, but how about this: we have to pay them a small sum each time the book is passed on. $1 or less perhaps. I'd happily pay that, the publishers would probably make more money, we'd keep the social aspect of book sharing, and the charity shops would probably be more successful than now.

Only problem with all that is it needs DRM. Well, maybe if all the publishers agreed a format and stuck to it.


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