9 Comments

Summary:

I really like the new (third-generation) Amazon Kindle as an e-book reader. It’s by far the best reading device that I’ve tried. But because it’s focused on being such a great e-reader, its usefulness for web working may be limited.

Kindle Wireless Reading Device

I really like the new (third-generation) Amazon Kindle as an e-book reader. It’s by far the best reading device that I’ve tried. But because it’s focused on being such a great e-reader, its usefulness for web working may be limited.

The Kindle’s screen is sharp and clear, and text has high contrast and is very easy to read. Battery life is excellent. Ordering books from Amazon.com is a breeze with 3G wireless or Wi-Fi; new books appear on the Kindle within a couple of seconds. Users can also subscribe to periodicals and blogs, including the GigaOM Kindle edition.

And it’s possible to obtain materials from other sources, including many public libraries and websites; just download them to your computer and copy the files to the Kindle, which appears as a hard drive to your operating system when it’s connected via USB.

The Kindle now supports several formats (although not ePub, yet) and I’ve had good luck converting non-protected e-books from formats that the Kindle doesn’t support using Calibre.

The new Kindle is lighter than the old model, and is very comfortable to handle. I’ve even found it comfortable to read on my back in bed, especially with the addition of the Kindle Lighted Leather Cover, which works very well.

So can the Kindle replace, say, an iPad, an iPod touch, or an Android device in a work environment? In a word, no.

The new Kindle has a web browser (marked “Experimental”), but it’s rudimentary at best, and is difficult to navigate, since the Kindle lacks a touch screen. And the Kindle doesn’t offer apps — not even a calendar, address book or email client.

If you’re a voracious reader like me, the new Kindle is definitely a great addition to your gadget bag. The version with 3G retails for $189; the Wi-Fi only version is $139. It’s sold out as of this writing, but Amazon is accepting orders to ship around September 20.

But don’t expect to use it for anything more than reading. I think you’ll find yourself continuing to use your favorite iOS or Android device during the workday.

Do you use en e-book reader in your job?

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  1. I’d buy one straight away if I could borrow New York Public Library eBooks with it, but you can’t. Actually the Kindle isn’t compatible with many libraries. I may be mistaken, but other eReaders – Sony/Nook – are much better in this regard.

    1. John,

      Unfortunately, you are correct that the Kindle doesn’t interface with my public library, or with other libraries that use Overdrive Digital Library Reserve: http://www.overdrive.com/products/dlr/

      But I have found the Sony readers and the Nook to be heavy, and slow. Let’s hope that their technology catches up, and/or Amazon starts supporting ePub.

      1. Agreed.

        Right now, you can buy a used Sony for around $100 and a new Kindle as a stopgap. I think this is the way I’ll “fix” this problem for now.

  2. Many libraries use the ePub format so I am not sure how easy it is to borrow from these with Kindle, since it does not support this format.

    Some things I personally have against Kindle are the lack of SD card slot, lack of touch screen, and awkward navigation. So at the moment I am thinking about buying the iriver cover story instead.

    1. jjoensuu,

      The Kindle doesn’t allow library borrowing yet, although I suspect that Amazon will need to provide this service in order to stay competitive.

      You are correct that it doesn’t have an SD slot, and the navigation could definitely be improved. I’m actually happy that it doesn’t have a touch screen, thus avoiding smudgy fingerprints.

  3. I love my Kindle – exactly because all I can do with it is read. For a while, I lusted after an iPad, but I think what I need more for my work and also my general peace of mind is focus. With the Kindle, it’s easy to focus and at the same time do in-depth research consulting different books, without the constant lure of We browsing, mail checking etc.

  4. Darrell Etherington Monday, September 13, 2010

    I use my Kindle DX for work all the time, but not directly. I just use it to read long-form articles from the New Yorker, the Atlantic and The Economist. I like to think it keeps my writing sharp, and it helps me stay current in a way that’s much different from being aware of what the latest trending Twitter story is.

    It’s true I could do this on the computer or on my iPad, but for reading, nothing beat e-ink.

  5. I switched out my Kindle 2 for a 3 and am really enjoying the new model. First, it’s smaller and lighter. Second, the improved speed and contrast makes a difference. Third, the cover with embedded light is wonderful.

    I prefer the simplicity and focus of the Kindle over the iPad. Candidly, I’d be distracted from reading if it had other useful features.

    I also like Amazon’s Kindle highlights and notes website. I recently wrote a blog post on how an eReader like the Kindle helps you remember more of what you’ve read and easily share it with others, which makes the Kindle a great leadership tool.

    http://www.itsworthnoting.com/blog/2010/09/using-a-kindle-or-ereader-as-a-leadership-tool.html

    As far as accessing other book libraries on your Kindle, you can use a site like http://www.retroread.com to convert google books to amazon format. Software from http://www.calibre-ebook.com allows you to convert even more formats.

  6. As far as the browser’s concerned, the trick is to use mobile websites, which load faster and use less scripting. Kinstant.com is a good start point for finding sites that work on Kindle.

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