Put a Kindle in the Window
They sent me a Kindle 2 to try out for 10 days. I just sent it back. Sadly. It was just like the end of Harry and the Hendersons, not the part where it turns out there are like LOTS of Bigfoots, but the part where John Lithgow slaps Harry and is like "you smell get lost creepo" but he's just doing it to save Harry from the Bigfoot hunter.
If I was rich, I'd probably buy the Kindle, for use while traveling and such. I'm not rich. I can't even afford to travel.
It's $350 for the device plus $10 or so per book. Some books are way cheaper, like $.99. A lot of old public domainish books on there. I was given a $30 account by the good people at Amazon to download from the Kindle's always open, always connected store. I found a collection of sci-fi short stories I hadn't heard of and decided to give it a try. It was only a buck. Pretty early on I was wondering why the author though he could get away with a piece of about a colony of Moonpeople interacting with the astronauts. then I looked up the story. It's from the 1940s. We've been to the Moon since then. Nobody there. So, I suppose there are good bargains on the Kindle, but you gotta be choosy.
I just started Infinite Jest, as the the Infinite Summer challenge. (Oh man, I wanna out-read Colin Melloy.) And I cannot deny that the considerably lighter Kindle would be way preferable to hauling David Foster Wallace's 1,000-page monsterpiece around.
And I like the way Kindle looks up words with the flick of the cursor, even if it can seem a little condescending when you do it accidentally. And I dig how you can download newspapers and magazines, though I wish they were more easily navigated, with expansive tables of contents. I really like the screen, and found bed-reading particularly comfortable.
Most people who checked out the Kindle were like, "I think I'd still prefer reading from a book." To which I say: Fine. But there's something to be said about the convenience and comfort of a digital reader. And there is much being said, mostly about stuff I wouldn't encounter after only 10 days with the thing.
- Kindle Copy Controls Stink on synching with the iPhone Kindle app
- Rethinking the Kindle on download limits
- Kindle gnaws at books' shelf-esteem one writer's love/hate affair with e-books, puns
- How to Add Color to the Kindle for some reason
- Kindle Could enjoy iPod-like Success no it couldn't
- Analysts: Kindle Book Price Hikes Are Coming great
- Kindle Content to Appear on More Devices well as long as the Kindle is content
- Old, Real Book vs. Kindle Alternative: Which Wins? great headline, guys
- Owly's Kindle Debut comic book on the Kindle
- Finding the Kindle Beater who can defeat this mighty juggernaut?
- E-Link's Acquisition Could Mean Cheaper Kindles good
- Kindle Joins a Bookstore Ritual on getting it autographed
They sent me a Kindle 2 to try out. It's due back in 4 days. This is gonna be just like The Amazing Race.
The Kindle's got a weird, clumsy little brower that tries, sometimes successfully, to make the web readable on its ghostly monotone screen. Meaning... You can read City Paper on a Kindle! Sort of!
|Look, a guy holding a Kindle.|
They sent me a Kindle 2 to try out. It's due back in 5 days. This is gonna be just like Gone in Sixty Seconds.
Been reading Oscar Wao. It's a little much. But I do like the Kindle's ambidexterous handling. Reading in bed is easy, thanks to little thumb flicks taking the place of full-arm page turning. Man, that sounded lazy.
The really interesting thing I've been checking out is the newspaper function. For $.75 I bought the current issue of the New York Times and flipped through the articles in all the sections. It didn't look like a newspaper ' the pages were bland pdf-looking things ' but it read like one. Everything seemed to be there.
And for a second I envisioned what the Amazons did: The future of newspapers would be a handheld device like this where you download your morning paper to read on the train or what have you. Too bad people think "information wants to be free," though. Sad face.
Anyway, Kindle, that little pause and blink between each page gets a little grating. I mean, if it can't be helped, that's cool, but it seems a touch Comcastic. In a bad way.
Brought the thing to Fergies last night to get a little reading done before meeting friends. Later, I passed it around. Everybody touched the screen, partly because they were expecting a touch screen, and partly because the Kindle's not very normal.
You remember how when you used to see digital watches on display at, say, KMart, there would be these little plastic pieces stuck to the screen saying 12:34 or what have you? The idea was to make it look like the watch was on without draining the batteries. That's what the Kindle screen looks like. It doesn't look like it's on. In fact, you can't really shut it off, far as I can tell. You just stop fiddling with it and it goes to sleep. The screen doesn't light up. It doesn't sound like there are any fans inside. The Kindle can go 30 hours without charging, which is nice.
Thanks to some tech support from the nice people who sent me the Kindle, I was able to download some books onto the thing (they gave me $30 store credit). I picked up The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. It took about a minute, maybe less, to have it on the device and ready to read. I also downloaded short "free sample" versions of a bunch' of other things, mostly short story collections.
There are somewhere in excess of 300,000 titles available for Kindle plus newspapers and such. That's actually not that high a number. Flipping through the search results for "short stories" I found:
- a bunch of literary anthologies, including many current ones: Best American, O Henry, etc.
- a ton of things that have been public domain for a long time: Dickens, Hawthorne, Bierce. These were priced cheap, often $.99.
- a surprisingly large number of erotic stories collections. Where there's internet there's porn, I guess.
Tomorrow: I read! From the Kindle! This is pretty exciting right? No? Oh.
They sent me a Kindle 2 to try out. It's due back in 10 days. This is gonna be just like Before Sunrise.
When Amazon finally mailed me a loaner Kindle 2, I couldn't help but walk it around the office holding it up like the staff of Ra. Why was I so excited? I dunno. I like reading. I like technology. I like to see them get along, I guess. And it's kind of pretty.
My co-workers were non-plussed. Drew Lazor was particularly blas'. "So. What does it do? It just holds a lot of books? How much are the books?"
The Kindle ' a white rectangle basically the size and shape of a DVD box, but heavier ' is Amazon's portable reading device. They want you to do all your non-Internet reading on it. Magazines, newspapers, books, whatever. They want it to do for their online virtual book sales what the iPod did for iTunes. Of course, on iTunes songs all cost either $.99 or $1.29, at least for the time being (plus you can get a lot of free content, like podcasts). So once you buy the device you know the music is cheap, plus you can load it up with the music you already own.
The Kindle's a different animal. You will never convert your paperback copy of Infinite Jest into a format this thing can handle. You have to buy the Kindle for $359, then download the book for $9.99 which is not bad, if you don't already own it: A 1,000 page book for the price of one album. Plus, and you can't say this about all books, the Kindle is way lighter. (Which could come in handy if you're planning to take part in the Infinite Summer challenge.) Other books will cost other prices, and there's nobody looking to make that uniform.
But how's the reading experience? Let's talk about that tomorrow when I figure out how to put some actual content on the damn thing. So far everything I've tried hasn't worked.
Will I learn to love this Kindle? We just met but I feel maybe a little smitten. Even though it's a little smudged from whichever reporter had it before me. You animal.
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