Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It beats the Sony PRS and the Kindle in looks and share-ability. It beats both with the four color touch screen. It's reasonably priced. It's unfortunately named.
And it reminded me that I've not given a review of the Kindle that I've been beta-testing. I've even been interviewed for TV ("the PBS of Japan"), and I forgot to report back here.
Simply put, the Kindle is great but not perfect. (Sort of how I feel about my iPhone, honestly.) For speed reading, reading on the train, reading multiple books at once, lightening my bag, reading for work/school/pleasure--it's AWESOME. I'm reading almost a book a day for work on this thing, as well as plowing through Gone with the Wind. And of course, my assigned reading for school.
For notetaking and highlighting, it sucks. For web browsing (despite having Whispernet), it sucks. For durability, it sucks. I'm constantly afraid it's going to break--the case is as heavy as a hardcover book, but I have to carry that around because I don't trust it to be ok without it. (Consumerist recently posted a story about a guy who successfully won $400 from Amazon after their durability tests didn't live up to reality, so I'm definitely not the only one who believes the device itself is flimsy.)
Also, since I'm beta-testing, I'm having a hard time getting a real feel for how I might really use something like this. I refuse to purchase any Kindle versions of books--I'm supposed to give this back in two months, and I'm not going to pay to rent content for that short period of time. So the books that I'm reading on it are PDFs, which show up as an image and aren't searchable. (And yes, I pirated that content, but only for books which I have already purchased in hard copy--which probaby isn't a totally kosher line to draw, but it's where I'm drawing it.) I can't use the Kindle to "rent" books from my library, which would probably be a big way in which I'd actually use it.
While an ereader is unbelievably helpful for a voracious reader like me (and for anyone working in the publishing industry), I don't know that the Kindle is the best choice for me. But I can sum it up like this--the Sony PRS I'm supposed to get for work has been indefinitely delayed due to a stock situation. If I don't get it before I have to turn this Kindle in, I'm going to buy a device of my own. It's been far too helpful for work to go back to lugging around p-books.
I think I have the option to purchase this Kindle at the end of the beta test, but given some of the issues I have with it (useless keyboard, closed system, the hypothetical ability of Amazon to see anything I put on it, some of which are proprietary not-yet-published manuscripts) I'm not sure what I'd be willing to pay for it. Certainly not $489 (the current price of the Kindle DX). Not $300, the price of the Sony Touch Reader. But what about $250, the price of the Kindle 2, Nook and COOL-ER? What about $200, the price of the Sony Pocket Reader? The Kindle DX has a screen that's three inches larger than any of the other options. It's also the only one with a keyboard, as difficult as it is to use. I've yet to find an ereader device that meets all my requirements, so I have a hard time paying any of the going prices. On the other hand, I paid $200 for a novelty item that I basically use only as a telephone, so wouldn't it be worth paying at least that much for a device that I would use for multiple hours every day and which I could write off on my taxes?
I have to keep thinking about this.


  1. I've never heard of this product before. Where have I been? Living under a rock, apparently, because all my friends know about it too!

    It looks rather interesting, but unfortunetely I don't read much. Maybe I should start! That device would come in handy if I do.

    Thanks for the review. :)

  2. I want one so bad! However I wouldn't be willing to spend the money to purchase one...and then the money to put books on it...


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