Saturday, January 10, 2009

To kindle or not to kindle?

I'm not buying one now, in these tight economic times, but I'm kind of intrigued by the Amazon Kindle.

Those of you who have them or have played with one: Is it true they don't have a built-in light? So I couldn't sit in bed with the top light off and read? If that's true, that seems really lame. I read on my iPhone in bed and it doesn't bother Rob. If the Kindle doesn't light up, no way would I buy one.

I actually just wish I could download books from Amazon to my iPhone. I have downloaded some of those e-reader programs to my iPhone, but the only books you can get are ancient works that (I guess) are in the public domain or otherwise available.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are right, the Kindle has no back light, so you can't use it at night on its own.

You can buy newer books for your iPhone, though. The Stanza app and the eReader app will both let you do that. The apps are free, but you pay for the books. They're not perfect, but they both have their points.

Ann (Miss Sweetstory) said...

I just saw a short review of the Kindle vs the Sony Reader done by a European travel writer. He, and his interview subjects, came down firmly on the side of the Reader. They particularly liked the intuitive design, the physical sleekness, and the fact that they could get download signal worldwide...which they said was much spottier with the Kindle.

A friend of Andy's has both and prefers the Reader as well, although no specifics as to "why"

Sara said...

I have a Kindle, which I got as a gift, and I really think that the more you use it, the more you like it. I read a lot, and the instant gratification of getting a book delivered to my Kindle a minute after I order it is something I never get tired of. It's true that it doesn't light up, but you can attach a light to it so that you can read at night, and that works perfectly well.

Anonymous said...

there is a light you can buy from Amazon specifically designed for the kingle and is really nifty, plugs into the left side and works great. hope this is helpful!

Megan said...

I hate to say it, but you're right. No light on the Kindle. You can buy them, but they don't light up. I have to say though, their screen is way easier on the eyes than any other electronic device I've ever used. It's designed to read like paper, rather than with a glow behind it.

Grammar Geek said...

Have you tried Fictionwise, which lets you download all sorts of new releases to your iPhone, as does Stanza - http://www.booksonboard.com/index.php?F=iPhone_ebooks?

I don't have the kindle, but I have the Sony eReader, and I love the convenience. (Also, the new Sony comes with a built-in light and the Sony 505 can have a cover/light add-on.

My only complaint would be the need for a way to read different formats on each reader - I have three different types of files, thus needing three different readers.

growler said...

Get Stanza for your iPhone. Yeah, there's a lot of old public-domain stuff, but Random House now offers a few current titles for free, and you can download new books from some outfit called Fictionwise.

Emily said...

I have a Kindle and I love it. It's true that it doesn't have a light. That's a function of the screen; e-ink screens are not backlit. I actually prefer it that way. The display looks like a page from an actual book and is incredibly easy to read. To my mind, the benefits of the Kindle over a traditional book are three-fold. First, I really like the sampling feature. I frequently buy a book, get halfway though it, and find that I'm not really interested in the end of the book. With the Kindle I can get a free sample of the first chapter so I can decide if I'm *really* interested in reading it. Secondly, I love how portable it is. With an SD card it can hold something like 200 books, so when I'm traveling I can just bring my Kindle and I don't run out of reading material. Third, I love how quickly I can get books. I don't have much patience for waiting weeks for a book to be available at the library or even a few days for shipping from Amazon. With the Kindle, it literally takes less than a minute for new books to available to read.

SO. No, it's not backlit, but for my purposes the other benefits outweigh the minor negative.

Anonymous said...

I too received a kindle for christmas from my kids - they were concerned that I would not like it as I love to read physical books - I am a huge convert and cannot even imagine having to hold a heavy hard cover book while sprawled on the sofa. You really would not want it to be backlit, as in it's present mode it really looks like a page of a book. One feature that I love is that you can change the font size - so I do not have to have my reading glasses to read. There are also websites out there where you can download free books to Kindle - mostly classics that the copyrights have expired on.

Perhaps the biggest selling point for me is the "green" aspect of the Kindle. I like to read books when they come out - and I have so many books in bookcases and have a difficult time finding a place to donate them. This is a "paperless" way to read - saving some trees in the process!

auntiezel said...

My husband has both a Kindle and a Sony. He wants to publish ebooks so he needs to compare. He likes the Kindle, I don't think he's used the Sony much since I just got it for him for Christmas, but I got the light attachment for it too. My problem with the Kindle is the same as others, no back light for reading in bed.

Melissa said...

I have a kindle, and an iPhone. I use the eReader app on the iPhone to download books I've purchased from both Fictionwise.com and eReader.com. (eReader has a nice, iPhone optimized mobile site that you can buy books from on your phone as well)

I like them both, and can get different books on each. I slightly prefer my iPhone, beccause I always have it with me, and its backlit - but I like the Kindle as well. The Kindle's screen is a little easier on my eyes.

( I've been reading ebooks for years - through eReader for Palm back when it was PeanutPress, because they also had a Mac application that meant I could buy the book once and read it on my Palm or my laptop)

Ginger said...

I have a kindle and LOVE it.. the book lights work perfectly. I researched both it and the sony and everything seemed to point to the kindle being a better fit for me. I think that if you get one you will find many reasons to love it even without the backlight. An added benefit for me is the free samples and free books that they offer at amazon I have found many great books that I would not have normally even picked up.