Second Impressions…

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).


The Good

Refresh rate

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.


The Bad

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.


The dictionary

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.


18 thoughts on “Second Impressions…

  1. Hmm, the few times I bought ebooks ( short stories, actually I could not get on another way) I bought those on pdf. I don´t have an ebook reader, do not want one (maybe an ipad in a few years, but a dedicated ebook reader, no way) and PDF is my favorite format to read on the computer. HTML will do I guess, but I prefer pdf because I can adjust viewing as I like and can remember page numbers and got easier navigation and word search tools. I have no interest on files ebook reader dependent formats – and yes I have calibre. so I am pro-pdf as an option for ebook sales.

    • Oh, a different take.

      I see your point, but I’ve Mobipocket Reader and Adobe Digital Editions on my laptop, which can read .mobi and .epub files respectively (both free). Both have exactly the same advantages you cite for PDF, so I don’t view those formats as being for ebook readers only, if that makes sense?

      • I never tried to read .mobi or -epub with acrobat reader. I do not have mobipocket reader installed, I think I only have the freeware adobe software. I do not want to have to installa extra crapa, ehm, programs in my computer in order to be able to read an ebook I bought – plus I might want to read it on another platform, perhaps even Linux 😉 The one advantage of pdf is that it is multiplatform, for all computer OS. I think you guys are objecting the *computer* part, but let´s face it, some of us will read ebooks on a computer, not a handheld device.

        so yay for PDFs for sale.

        One question though, surely you can buy books in other formats? I am not totally sure why the person on the post you linked to did not buy instead on another format so that she nows needs to mess up with coding. why buy the pdfs then? I realize some public domain things might be on pdf, but they are likely to be on html and rtf or even txt and be easy enough to convert.

      • You have me on the multiplatform point – I’m coming to this from a very Windows-oriented perspective!

        I concede – there are reasons why PDF is being offered as an ebook format 😀

        Re buying books in other formats, I can only speak for myself, but the PDF books I’m going to try and convert (when I have time!) were freebies offered by various authors and publishers a while back. I tried reading them on my ereader and gave up, so they have languished unread ever since.

        Also, I remember once an author announcing her books were being sold as ebooks – I went to check them out and PDFs were the only format offered. Small publisher (can’t remember details now) and I did want to try the author’s work, but I passed because it was too much hassle for me.

        I think people are a lot more clued up now, and ebook doesn’t necessarily mean only PDF now – certainly my little folder of PDF books dates back to the early days of ebook reading!

      • Ok, I get it – but you know I think the ebook reader industry should perhaps look at it the other way. At least if adobe allows it, but some way to make pdf formats more readable in phones and other handheld thingies. PDF is multiplatform, cheap and somewhat tamper proof ( somewhat, at least easily) I can not see it disappearing or becoming obsolete any time soon.

  2. I have the original Kindle which I love. I won’t upgrade because there isn’t expandable memory in anything BUT the first one. Sigh. For the re-reading passages, are these passages you like to go back to because you enjoyed it so much? Because those, I just dog-ear all those pages. This way, when I can go back to all my favourite passages and skip around. It’s also known as book marking. I am guessing it works the same way as it does in the 1st generation, but I could be wrong.

    For the locations, I adjusted to this by looking at the dots. Do you have dots at the bottom of your screen on this generation? Mine has it. I generally know much more I have to enjoy based upon how full my dots are. I can also guess how many pages a book is based upon the download and how many dots I have. Email me if this doesn’t make sense. I’ll videotape my explanation and send you a link to see it.

    My kindle always saves the last page I read if I switch to another book. I’m guessing this is if you accidentally go to another chapter. Does the Back button work? I’d say we just send enhancements to Kindle for software update requests. This technically shouldn’t be a hard thing to code for, however, it may take up temp memory that Kindle would rather not waste which could be why the refresh rate is so very fast.

    • I didn’t even think about expandable memory (or lack thereof)! I’ve a couple of memory cards for my Sony Reader, but have never come close to the space limits which is probably why it wasn’t a consideration.

      Re-reading… not really for favourite passages but for instance, when reference is made to a previous event in the book, and I think “ah, let me check” – impossible!

      And I think I will eventually adjust to the “dots” – I know exactly what you mean. To be fair, I had to adjust to the Sony Reader pagecount too, so this is probably temporary.

      And thank you for the tips about bookmarking and Back buttons – I have to figure out how to make them work for me!

    • Yes – all in all, I am still glad I bought the Kindle.

      I think ereaders are still very much evolving – I bet in ten years’ time, we’ll be like “I can’t believe I actually used that to read ebooks”!

    • Not sure if the same advertising goes on where you are, but Amazon are advertising the Kindle everywhere on the Underground – if I hadn’t caved and bought it last month, I would so have by now 😉

      It’s a tough call – I haven’t actually used my Sony since I got my Kindle (but then, I haven’t done much reading recently full stop), it will be interesting to see if the Sony refresh rate now bothers me!

  3. Re-reading… not really for favourite passages but for instance, when reference is made to a previous event in the book, and I think “ah, let me check” – impossible!

    I see, in this instance, I’m not sure if the new Kindle does it, but my kindle, I just use the search feature and every single instance of my query comes up. I was a bit startled how thorough the search feature was because it searched across the 600 plus books I have.

    The reason why I have problems with the memory limitation is that I own over 1000 physical books. This is only because I keep getting rid of books I won’t read again. So I sell them at garage sales or give it to friends who may be interested in them. Last year, I gave away 400 books because I had no room and yes, I still at around 1000 books!

    When I received my kindle, within the first 6 months, I had 400 books. I’ve been slowing down but, if I could do 400 in 6 months and if I start actively collecting books again, 1200 is not a high limit for me. If the limit was closer to 50,000, then I ‘d have no worries.

    Besides, their limits are really just the electronic size of the books – memory space. So at any point, if there is a software change and the standard 400 page book changes in size due to graphics or something, then I can save less books.

    Lastly, I don’t purchase books only from Amazon because some of the more “Adult” female literature isn’t offered at Amazon. I have to go to those ePublishers which are all over the place in the US internet space. Since I can only download the book once, it’s easier just to download onto the memory card.

    I do back up my memory card in the event that something happens. 🙂 I realize Amazon stores it in their cloud but that is only for books I buy from them. It doesn’t include all the other sources. And there are some places I can receive lots of free books if I am willing to use my mobi translator program. That takes effort too. 🙂

    • I haven’t tried out the Search feature yet – am not used to having a keyboard 😀 I’ll give that a go, thanks! I am slowly getting up to speed with all the Kindle features…

      I save copies of my ebooks on my laptop but not on memory cards – I really should back them up because I would be completely lost if my laptop crashed… touch wood!

      No idea how many ebooks I have at the moment, it’s probably around the 500 mark, but that would be over hmmm… three years? Nowhere close to 400 in six months 😉 *impressed*

  4. I can recommend applying for that PDFtoEPUB thing Janine linked to in the comments. I got the software free (the offer is open till the 10th) although I truthfully said I was not an author.

    Since I’m an impulse buyer the more I read about the new Kindle and the new Sony, the clearer it remains that I’ll stay with the sony (I already buy way to many ebooks per month).

    • I have just given that a go, Estara! Thanks for the tip.

      The wireless connectivity to the Kindle store could definitely be dangerous to the wallet. I spotted the new Sonys in Waterstones the other day, but didn’t have time to play around with them – maybe tomorrow…

  5. Pingback: 2010: Recap of My Reading Year Part 3 | Me and My Books

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