I’ve been reading on an Amazon Kindle the past four days and am growing fonder of the device with every passing day. (It’s a $350 “electronic book” with WIFI for wireless downloading of books, magazines, newspapers). Somehow one got ordered and charged to my account (I suspect some idiot in the house logged in and stuck it in my cart. But I am so enamored I think I will keep it.
Ergonomically it’s a bit of a mess — I’m sure everyone who has used one has bitched about the previous and next buttons and the lack of a great gripping experience — the leather cover barely hangs on, but the text is very crisp and the lighting is essentially nonexistent — meaning you need to seek an external light source just as you would with a book.
Battery life is long. Images are okay (grey-scale). So far I have subscribed to Forbes (no images or ads), one day of the New York Times (no images or ads), ordered the Ken Follett sequel to Pillars of the Earth and am nearly halfway through Dave Egger’s What is the What about the Lost Boys of the Sudan.
I can see the Kindle earning a place in my knapsack for travel and sparing me the usual three-title mess I usually jam in there. Only problem is lack of titles, not everything is in Kindle format and the books I want aren’t necessarily there. I will probably shove an SD card in for more memory space and have yet to connect it to my PC via USB to back stuff down. The browser is decent, the keyboard … at least it is QWERTY. All in all I like it on some levels, hate it on others (can’t loan a book to a buddy, can’t stick a book on a shelf, can’t have an author sign the flyleaf).
Verdict: for serious travelling readers, a good idea.