Friday, 29 October 2010

The Kindle Experience, Part 2

The Amazon Kindle ebook reader was just further promoted up the ebook ranks with the recent announcement from Barnes & Noble. B&N's second generation Nook ebook reader, the Nook Color, will be a Google Android driven tablet computer with an LCD screen. In plain English, it is going to be a low key Apple iPad; it is also not going to be as good a book reader as the Kindle is, by virtue of the fact it will sport a backlit screen that is uncomfortable for extended reading or reading in broad daylight (unlike the Kindle and the old Nook’s electronic ink screen, which is very similar to properly printed paper in its characteristics). Perhaps the new Nook would be good for browsing magazines online or for simple web surfing; I can't see how an LCD screen can provide a satisfying book reading experience, though.
With the Kindle dominance in mind, I would like to report the further story of my own Kindle experience, first discussed here. In particular I would like to say something about the way it revolutionized my reading habits.

It really is simple. In the past, when I wanted a book, I used to have to think about it a lot – simply because I had the time to think about it prior to putting my hands on the book. I had no choice in the matter. I would have to wait till opportunity presented itself for me to go to a book shop, I used to wait until Borders issued discount vouchers (regularly a monthly habit of theirs), or I used to wait a month or so for the book I ordered from Amazon to arrive. That time meant I could ponder over my purchases, and often enough with the passage of time my passion waned. By the time its turn came up my mind would have been on another book.
With the Kindle the experience is different. I hear of a book and within minutes I have the book with me. It really is that simple! The phenomenon repeats itself: I read of a book that sparkles my imagination at one of my favorite blogs (usually Boing Boing or John Scalzi’s Whatever). The fuse is lit, and within minutes I decide I want the book. It’s a similar story with my wife: She reads of a new book release in The Age, and her fuse is lit. In both cases we tend to have the books on our Kindles (note the use of plural form) by the time we go to bed. If anything, this is testimony for Amazon’s ability to have the vast majority of new releases available for sale in the Kindle format.
There are side effects to the ease and speed with which books are acquired. First, visiting books shops is not half the fun it used to be. Second, it becomes hard to focus on reading one book when you’re carrying so many other tempting titles with you at the same time. And third, this temptation causes me to want to finish my current book quickly so I can start reading the next one I already bought.
What I’m trying to say is, with the Kindle I find myself reading more. Yes, I am very happy with my Kindle!


Moshe said...

Have you heard of The Book Depository? ( I don't know how it compares to Amazon, but I found that site to be a cheap source of books (free shipping, also).

Moshe Reuveni said...

I have heard of this website before but never knew the exact link. Thank you thank you thank you - it is by far the cheapest source of [paper] books I am aware of!
Pity they don't sell Kindle versions...

MC said...

Book depository isn't bad, but like everything you need to do your research. As a generalisation, single paper back books are usually cheaper on BD than Amazon, but with hardbacks & particularly when you buy a number of books, it can work out cheaper on Amazon.

BTW follow up question on the kindle, do you recommend a cover? I was thinking the kindle cover as I know the kindle will be taken on lots of trips, but any feedback would be welcome. Also how long did it take for your kindle to arrive? Putting in delivery to Australia & I'm quoted shipping in 7-9 weeks, with priority shipping. That's like 12th Jan, surely it can't take that long given that they're in stock...

Moshe Reuveni said...

I don't know about recommending covers, but I definitely use one because whenever I transport my Kindle it's between loads of other stuff and without a cover it would easily get damaged.
Amazon offers stupidly expensive covers, but I got ours on eBay for like $5-$6. We went for foamy ones. However, they are a bit of a pain because you need to take the Kindle out of the cover and hold it in your hands when you want to read.
The cover I'd really want is the type that's like a folder. This should allow me to never take it out of the cover (at the price of extra bulk to hold while reading). However, the models on offer at eBay did not convince me about their quality.

Arrival time:
Once sent, it took our Kindles 3-4 days to arrive. I got the first Kindle sent immediately after the new version became available (having ordered it two months ahead of its release); with the second one we only had to wait a day or two before they had it in stock. I suspect what you're encountering now is the Xmess craze.

For the record, yesterday's Bleeding Edge column on The Age talked about how libraries support the ePub format which the Kindle cannot handle. It also talked about how more Aussie publishers are now supporting Borders' Kobo. Perhaps this would sway you against the Kindle; with my reading profile, the Kindle is still the number one choice by a very wide margin.

MC said...

Thanks for your help. I agree, the idea of the folder seems very attractive, which my I was considering the Amazon Kindle cover, it folds over etc. but the price seems excessive, I'll ponder this one. Unfortunately I have been distracted with other issues, which led me to delaying the purchase of the Kindle, because it definitely wasn't such a long wait period a week ago, ah well, looks like I'll just have to my chance and hope it arrives earlier (mind you its only for international sites, and not ot the US or UK.) If it wasn't for the fact of having a global warranty I'd see whether I'd get a friend in the US to send one over.

Moshe Reuveni said...

Oh, but if you get an American friend to post it to you then you will receive it with an American power plug, whereas if you order the international version you'd get a USB cable with no power plug.
I know it sounds like I'm joking but I'm not; I'm only pointing a finger.

Good luck with the distractions.

MC said...

Greg has his Kindle, the time Amazon said it would take to deliver was accurate, it really did take 7 weeks...

Anyhow there is a colleague's sister who has also obtained a Kindle, do you mind if I forward your tips on expnaing the Kindle's buying reach :)

As it turns out, the first book Greg is reading is a free book by someone who has self published.

Moshe Reuveni said...

Congratulations to Greg! If his experience goes like that of most others I know, I would soon be congratulating you. It's also see self-publishing works.

As for the distribution of blog info: this blog is public, for a start, and some of its posts - like the one on using VPN to acquire books - were written in order to help as many as possible. For the record, blog statistics indicate these are this blog's most popular posts (and I thought people would be interested in my personal life).
So go ahead and distribute!