Amazon Kindle

Has somebody already tried this device, or some other e-book reader? What do you think about it?

Thank you

You should read this great article in The New Yorker: … table=true

I am unsure if it is possible to get the Kindle device and ebooks for it outside the US, the iPhone application at least is not available, neither can non-US residents publish using this service.

I love ebooks (got the first one about 10 years back in .lit format when Mobipocket was just born and totally unusable), but the DRM issue has been a real pain in the ***.

Currently, I am using eReader on my iPhone, I have been lucky with purchasing some books for it. Stanza cannot handle DRM. Currently, B&N has (almost?) no books for non-US residents.

Mobipocket is not available for Mac/iPhone. Non-US residents can publish for Mobipocket, but the payment issue via the Amazon store/Kindle for these books is very unclear to me.

The Kindle certainly isn’t available in the UK, which is really annoying as it has been out for some time now and I really thought it would filter out to other countries and would have got here by now. Because of this, Sony pretty much has things sewn up here with its eReader, the PR-505. Still, I really like my Sony Reader - the screen is easy to read, navigation is decent and with its cover it feels like carrying a real book, and it’s only a little less comfortable to hold. There is an updated version of Sony’s Reader available in the States (yet again, we don’t have that here, grr…) which has more memory, is much faster, and has a touch-screen. However, I compared them side-by-side in a Barnes & Noble when I was in San Francisco for Macworld in January, and the touch-screen is awful because it adds a layer of cloudiness. Side-by-side, the PRS-505 - the older model - is much, much clearer and nicer to read.

I think everyone is waiting for a really contender to become available, as from what I’ve heard about the Kindle - although people seem to like it - neither that nor the Reader is really iconic and the design of neither can really rival that of a paper book. I really want someone to produce the iPod of eReaders (it’s a shame Apple keep saying they aren’t interested); something book-sized that opens like a laptop and has an eInk screen on both sides, so that you can really read it like a book.)

All the best,

I’m not sure that an “iPod for Books” can even happen at all[1]. The iPod had an advantage that no book reader designer has: an audience that doesn’t care how it works so long as it works well. With the book crowd you have this huge group of nostalgic people that can’t get over the feel of paper and the flip of pages and on and on. There was nobody griping and whining about how MP3 players didn’t have the solid click of a CD-ROM, or the smell of a new cassette.

Until readers can get over the technology of what the book has been, it doesn’t matter how innovative or superior an ereader is.

I’d say the main thing missing from the Kindle and Sony style readers right now is skimming, though. This has been true of all e-readers, really. You can’t easily find a place that you only know of vaguely.

[size=80][1]: All right, never say never. Maybe the generation of video games and txt.msgs and endless television will rediscover books once they grow up, and when they do, they’ll want their books in a device, not huge clunky wall devouring stacks of mouldering paper that can’t even handle a search function.[/size]

hmm, not so sure really how “huge” that group of nostalgic people is relativ to those who do not care for that aspect of reading.

Concerning skimming: there is that slider thingy (in all/most of those readers) which works ok.

My kids (12 and 15) despise, no, hate the digital readers. They read so much that I figured they would like them as “cool”. Nope. They want paper. Not for margin notes (that is forbidden with my library) but, in my words, the tactile experience. They even refused my offer of a Pulse Pen for taking notes in school. “We don’t like computers like you do, yet.” So I bought myself a new monitor instead.

I think (a dangerous thing, I know) that the kids who would seem most likely use a digital format are the same ones who will refuse to give up their books. That is not to say that others may not get tuned into the reading program, but that to the avid reader, the passionate consumer of written word, there is something in the physical book, something like the smell of a lovers hair, that draws them to leather bindings and archival paper or card stack and crooked print. Each book is like a person, unique in weight, smell, texture, feel, personality. How can you replace that with unified interfaces and strings of ones and zeroes in a plastic case?

Granted my kids are nothing like normal. No TV, lots of “classic” lit (I buy those over priced leather bound editions from Easton) and parents that won’t buy video games. They me for a book though and we are in the car and on our way to the store. More than likely we are not a good representation of normal.

concerning “tactile experience”: it is in no way connected to the text read. so touching any dummy book while reading ebooks should actually do :wink:

the tactile experience when e.g. moving or travelling with a whole e-library is unbeatable!

Thank you very much for your answers to my question.
I found particularly useful the link submitted by rodix. The users reviews are quite different ! In Italy some e-reader appeared some weeks ago in Feltrinelli library in Milan and Rome (Feltrinelli is the most important bookstore in Italy). No Amazon Kindle, anyway.
My interest in the suject is due not because an e-copy of the book is a real substitute of the book itself, but because for my work I am obliged to spend a lot of ours in train with my eyes fitted on my MacBook to read pdfs, pdfs pdfs (non fictional literature, with a lot of footnotes etc.) … I really hoped that the epaper could improve my reading experience.
I am impressed from the “stanza” app for iPod touch/iPhone. Has anyone tried it with non fictional, home made, pdf (scanned books or article)?

All the best

I’ve just got a Kindle! It’s the UK WiFi one, and my first impression is that it’s great. In the past 48 hours, I have downloaded 30-odd public domain classics which I have somehow never got round to reading, and have also bought a couple of modern books at the market rate. The screen is easy to read, and by customising the print size, I can still read the text easily when the machine is sitting on my knee, so I don’t have to hold the thing (mildly arthritic fingers have curtailed my reading activity in recent years). I bought a “lighted cover” to go with it, which means that I can read in bed without disturbing my long-suffering husband (he has noticed the change himself, and recommends the lighted cover to the spouses of other nocturnal readers) – I just have to remember to rotate the display into landscape mode, otherwise I risk shining the light into his delicate little eyes.

Best of all, I have started on my masterplan, to read all twenty Rougon-Macquart novels by Emile Zola, in their order of publication. This plan has been much delayed by the knowledge that I have nowhere to put so many new paperbacks, but now I’ve downloaded e-versions of all but one of them (not as cheaply as I had hoped), which should keep me busy all winter without worsening my book shelving crisis. If anyone knows of an e-book of “Pot-bouille” in English translation, I’d be very grateful if you could please tell me where to find it! Otherwise I’ll be forced to read it in French, or to buy one of those old-fashioned paper versions. :slight_smile:

There’s a good comparison of various ebook reader capabilities here:

The main thing keeping me from the Kindle is its inability to handle .epub books. That’s essential for me, so the Kindle is pretty much out because of that one problem.

As I understand it, though, it is an easy conversion from ePub to Kindle, using something like Calibre. I’ve downloaded Calibre, but haven’t experimented with the conversion yet.

I must admit that I’m not that bothered about the specific format. I don’t read e-books on any other device, so as long as I can get the books I want to read on the device I want to read them on (even if it involves conversion), then I’m not fussy. There’s probably a fatal flaw in my thinking there…

Yeah, it is easy. The whole ePub thing is basically a non-argument, I put e-books that were once ePub files onto my Kindle with great frequency. :slight_smile: I also think I agree with Siren on this as well. I’m less interested in the format than the device I’m doing the reading on. There is so little difference between formats—no amazing advantages between one or the other, and it’s easy to convert the rare exception to what you cannot find in a supported format, if need be.

Waited a while before replying so I could get a real feel for it.

I really, really like it.

It’s a little bit heavier than I expected, though still lighter than a large paperback. The screen is fantastic; no problem at all when reading for hours at a stretch. I’m definitely an eBook convert.

The only bugbear I have is the keyboard. Surely it would have been better to have a soft keyboard and use the space for a larger screen. It doesn’t see a lot of use, so why bother?

Those fine people called thieves just stole my kindle on a bus journey from Mombasa to Nairobi. Brats. And then proceeded to download books on Histopathology and Christmas songs.
Anybody know if the inbuilt RIM card is any use for tracking down the culprit?


Sorry to hear that. I had my first Kindle stolen as well. Be sure to deauthorise it from your Amazon account page, and write to support letting them know that it was stolen and that the last few items purchased with it were not by you, they might give you a refund on them.

I did de-authorize, and then I attempted to send a similar email to support, but failed to find the correct address among the millions that they list. There doesn’t seem to be a support email for stolen kindles. Which one did you use?

In the meantime, I went to the bus company, who has a complete list of passengers, and their ID numbers. So if the police have the will, they can easily find out which of the passengers studies histopathology, and bam! Gotcha.
I have yet to find out if they will have the will. Kenyan police are not famous for helping in such circumstances, but if I give them a few leads they might be motivated to give it a shot. I hope!


I don’t recall which address I used; I think it was just the general Kindle tech support address as I didn’t know if they had a way to remotely erase the device. They denied any such power, but then about four months later the world learned they do in fact have such power, when they amusingly deleted a copy of 1984 from everyone’s Kindle.

Anyway, your issue sounds more like one to take up with accounts with the unauthorised purchases.

The Kindle has an unadvertised side-effect. Every time I read it in public (for example, in waiting rooms or cafés), absolutely without exception so far, it lures elderly gentlemen into approaching me with an air of hopeful expectation on their faces. “Is that an ebook?” “Is that an iPad?” “Is that an e-reader?” So, girls, if attracting elderly gentlemen is your aim, forget about spending your pocket money on haute couture and beauty treatments, and equip yourself with a Kindle instead! :smiley:

My favourite Kindle experience was a few years back, when I was commuting home by train. The device was fairly new at this time, and it just so happened that the train was packed with librarians going to a national library convention downtown.

That was a bit more… limelight than I ordinarily appreciate.