So, I may have done a mini-squee over my new Kindle when it arrived a couple of weeks ago. Now that I’ve actually read some books on it, here are my thoughts (obviously with comparison to my Sony Reader, which is the second-generation PRS-505).
I know I went on and on about this in my first post, but the novelty hasn’t worn off. And when I adjust the font size and spacing? Pretty much instantaneous refresh. My Sony would think about it for a minute or so before actually updating, so this is excellent. And yes, I’m still loving the screen and the contrast as well.
That wireless thing
Umm. I’ve previously said that wireless connectivity was an optional when it came to ebook readers. And I still hold that view. But. It is just so convenient NOT to have to hook your reader up to the PC when you want to transfer a book. The sheer ease of emailing a book to your Kindle account and watching it pop up automatically. Very nice.
The “experimental” features
Okay, this falls under what I’ve previously considered optional as well. I tried out the web browser the other day and it was actually pretty good (see Refresh Rate). I was expecting something really slow, but it was decent. I’m never going to use my Kindle as my main internet device, but I like that I have it. Fickle = me.
Navigation within a book
With my Sony, I can hold down the page turn buttons, and jump forwards or backwards 10 pages at a time. There’s no way of doing so with the Kindle (if I’m wrong, please tell me!). So I either tap the page turn button multiple times or key in the location (see below for my next gripe) until I reach the passage I want, or just pass on the whole thing.
I never noticed how much I re-read passages until I started reading ebooks. My Sony Reader changed my habits somewhat, but I could still flip back and forth. With the Kindle, it’s almost impossible.
And maybe a hangover from the Sony Reader, but I have found myself accidentally using the 5-way controller to turn pages. Except it doesn’t work that way on the Kindle – that brings you to the next chapter break. If you’re not reading a document with no chapter breaks. Because if you are, you go straight to the end, and this leads me to…
Arrghh. Okay, I get that ordinary page numbering doesn’t work for ebooks if you change font size etc, but I am having so much trouble figuring out what 10627 locations mean in actual book length. And if you’re on location 10346-10355, how many more pages do you have until you hit the end of the story???
Also, it’s not easy to remember you’re on location 6782-6791 in a book. And if you – ahem – accidentally lose your place in a book (i.e. see above), I’ve found it massively difficult to get back. The Sony kept the last 100 pages or so in history, so I could always get back eventually, but it’s a lot harder on the Kindle.
Organising your books
The Sony wasn’t perfect, but neither is the Kindle. You have Collections, but it’s a bit of a faff adding books to a collection using the 5-way controller. I’ve figured out the easiest way is to select the book and add the collection from there, as opposed to selecting the collection and adding the book. I’m slightly obsessed with ensuring every book is in a collection at present, which means painfully tagging every newly-acquired book.
Well, this isn’t a Bad really. It’s more of a “what’s the point”. But then, I very rarely ever consult a dictionary when I read – if I do come across an unknown word, I make a guess based on context. Which has led to some interesting interpretations – for ages, I thought laconic meant sort of lazy and drawling, hence all the heroes speaking laconically in historicals. When I realised it meant terse, I had to do a mental readjustment.
But I digress. The dictionary isn’t something I use and because definitions flash up automatically when you use the 5-way controller, it’s sort of distracting.
So that’s it – my current thoughts on my Kindle. Even though I’ve gone on a bit about the downsides, I’m still liking it very much and planning on moving all my ebooks to it at some point, but it’s not the perfect ebook reader. Yet.
Oh, and before I forget, Jane @ Dear Author did an excellent post about converting PDFs so that they’re legible on ebook readers. I don’t get why PDF is even sold as a ebook format, but I’m going to give her tutorial a go and see if it works.