Archive for July, 2011

Paper superseded.

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Many of you know I am an avid reader – avid. I’ve even posted my book stacks before. Times a change and no more shall I be haunted by stacks of books.

I bought a Kindle.

Don’t get all hissy. And yes, I did sell out. Why? Travelling mainly – but a few reasons.

I’ve read roughly 30 books on the Kindle since purchased and I think its a massively good idea. Its size is the largest positive for me. Slips into a back pack with ease and can be whipped out when required – trains, bus, aeroplane etc. Awesome. Controlling the font size is also pretty cool and gives control of words per page. I like it small and teeny to minimise page turns. Connected to Amazon is a change and has its ups and downs. Ups, epic ebook selection at my fingertips – global 3g access pretty much means I can buy a book anywhere we head. Downs, I have to *buy* the ebook from Amazon. Pretty much directly removed myself from the second hand market.

A few bad notes but things I can live with as a tech-head. Battery life – I haven’t had it die on me in a time of need but I charge it when ever I feel I’m reading lots. Obviously you don’t have to charge a paper back. Format support – awww. No ePub support? Well I only recently delved into the Calibre world and started converting ePub to .mobi. Pretty easy conversion and was a one off for Jemma to read a book not available on Amazon. Price wise the device is cheap for what it is but you are spending more on *buying* books – a new release is usually around the $12 USD mark – cheap sure – but an older book might still cost $9 USD… bit more than in a dank second hand shop.

One of the biggest ups is the greater exposure to unknown authors through self publishing. An indy author can publish their own titles at their own prices (Amazon takes a massive cut) but it means you start to see books you normally wouldn’t see in say Dymocks or Borders. Some of the price points are amazing – $0.99 USD for example.

The build quality is high in my opinion – hardware feels strong and I haven’t lost any buttons to excessive use. I find the keyboard a little useless and much prefer to buy the books via a full featured browser on a PC rather than through the device. The software is pretty tight as well – there is good link in and you can see Amazon thought hard about trying to up sell/on sell. A few factors I dislike – the “highlights” system where a user can highlight content and its shared through WhisperNet (Amazon 3g network) for other readers. I still leave this feature on out of curiosity but the dribble people highlight never ceases to amaze me. Then other people seem to highlight it *just* because someone else did. WHY? I’d also like to see some way of providing feedback on editing. In a perfect world – I’d be able to highlight a typo and tag it for the publisher. The publisher would then be notified and be able to push a new version of the book with a batch of corrections. Sadly nothing like this.

My biggest hate? And this is the biggest. When the screen is ‘locked’ a screen is thrown with a notable author – there is a group of say 10 of these images all based on authors I have no interest in and then a few “Provide Feedback” or “Kindle” images. What I would like is control over this – personally I want it to rotate between the covers of the books I own each time I lock it. Too much to ask Amazon? Apparently so.

Which has just reminded me of another little niggle – apparently publishers don’t care much for eBook covers so they throw in some of the worst template covers. Essentially a grey background with Author Name Book Name. Horrid. At a minimum scan the real cover in monochrome and include that. Geez.

Apparently I’m on a negative spiral but this is the last problem I swear…. the publishers also get to set the ‘opening page’ so when you *start* a book it doesn’t open at the cover it normally starts at the first page of the book. Ok fine, this is a tough one as people will argue for either way but I want to start at the cover then flick through. The existing first page technique means you miss the author dedication among other things. Poor form!

Evidently this became a Kindle essay – sure there are some bad points but I love the dam thing. Its actually really easy to read. Its light and compact. Looks good. Feels good. Its sad not having to enter all the second hand book stores but I still do for a peak and maybe get some inspiration of what to read next.

And how about a shameless link? Sure – here is my Amazon wish list – I have no idea if other people can buy Kindle books for me but WHY NOT!

Shameless link to my wishlist