2008-06-23

Kindle

I got a Kindle a few months back, thanks to thumbs-ups from Sippey and Ev. Per David's request, here are a few thoughts:
  • I mainly got it to more efficiently annotate the books I read. I'm always taking notes and highlighting passages that resonate with me, but when I'm done reading, books go back on my shelf and I rarely pick them up again (though my mind continues referencing them, likely inaccurately). So I've taken to typing my notes into Google Docs so that they're searchable (and less Bus Factor-prone), but this takes lots of time. Thankfully Amazon's engineers store Kindle annotations in an ASCII file, which means I can easily copy/paste my notes into Docs. And unless I'm mistaken (which is likely), they also back up this file via the Whispernet, further bus-proofing it.
  • So far, reading and highlighting seem to be the only user-facing features I'm using. I do the other stuff (listen to audiobooks, search wikipedia, etc.) on my iPhone.
  • Buying books for it couldn't be simpler — a single click on Amazon's site and the book appears on the Kindle a few minutes later. It's indistinguishable from magic.
  • I've also started reading PDFs on it (such as Getting Real, the SVN Book and Producing OSS), which have long been languishing in a "to-read" folder on my laptop. This alone makes it a worthwhile purchase, and I wish there was a bookmarklet to send anything web-based to it. Leonard? ;)
  • Apple's spoiled us with good design, which makes bad design all the worse. Apologies to those involved, but I just find the Kindle's design terrible. It's nearly impossible to hold it without accidentally clicking a button (page forward/backward on the sides, volume on the bottom), and it's practically all angles. And why a Back button?
    • However, the vertical scroller is way cool.
  • You can't really charge it via USB, which I discovered on a recent week-long trip where I didn't bring along the AC charger.
  • I wish I could lease it from Amazon, rather than own it. When an improved next-gen model is available, I'll certainly upgrade, so what to do with this one? With iPods, I can always find a family member or friend to give my older one, but I doubt any of them would be interested in an old Kindle...



Overall, I'm satisfied with it and use it every day to read, think and annotate. Looking at all the books on my shelf that I still intend to read, I wish more of them were available electronically, because they mean that much more reading, highlighting with a pen, and typing up my notes...

Some other folks' thoughts on theirs:

2 comments:

  1. I don't actually have a Kindle, I just play a Kindle owner on the web. :)

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  2. Sam just gave me access to http://pushpopurl.com/ so I'll be adding some Kindle-friendlier features soon. Emailing the page is definitely on the TODO list.

    I've been collecting my Kindle +1 week RFEs (I've sent it to kindle-feedback already) but it's probably worth publishing when I get a chance.

    I started keeping a Google Spreadsheet of my purchases. Sadly, the Kindle doesn't have user-accessible usage data, but I think there'll be some interesting analysis that can be done just based on past and future buying history... (I've bought 2 books so far, saving $26 off the hardback equivalent price)

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