I’ve gotta admit it: I’ve fallen in love with Kindle — not with The Kindle, but with Kindle in the general sense. I have the desktop app on my desktops, and the Android app on my Droid, and I haunt the Amazon and free ebook sites in search of gems that I want to read — or re-read — from back in the long ago. Right now I’m finishing Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi,” which I read about fifty years ago and loved. I’m looking at it now from an entirely different perspective — still loving it — and getting much more out of it than I did as a callow sixteen-year-old.
I just bought my first ebook, in fact, a 300-volume collection of all Twain’s work — for five bucks. (Guess who’s my all-time fave writer.) Obviously this only works for stuff that’s out of copyright (most of which is free), but there was a whole bunch of good material written between Gutenberg’s day and the 1920’s.
I have to admit that I’m not really sanguine about paying ten bucks for a book that I can’t pass around freely. The six-reader limit that Amazon puts on purchased books burns my ass. I have more readers than that in my immediate family — not, unhappily, with access to the same computers. I could squeeze in my daughters and sons-in-law, but they wouldn’t have the option of reading on their phones, and there are more than the max number of appliances involved.
So, in that respect, I like Barnes and Noble much better, except for that 14-day limit on “loaning” books, during which time you can’t access it yourself. Also, you can only loan it to the same person once. And the Nook has
two other big weaknesses: no 3G one other big weakness: no Web browser. For fifty bucks over the cost of a Nook, I can get the 6″ Kindle 3G, if I decide I want one, and have unlimited WiFi and 3G access to not only the Amazon store, but the Web as well. Granted, it ain’t color; neither is Nook. But y’know what? I don’t really care, for occasional browsing. I’m typing this right now on a black background with green font, because I find it easier on my eyes and less distracting. I can live without color on the Kindle, as long as I can browse ATT 3G when I need to. I already have Verizon on the Droid, so why not cover the bases?
Point is, I see no reason to carry an appliance that’s bigger than my phone just to read ebooks. It needs at least minimal Web capability or it’s a waste, and WiFi alone don’t get it in my world.
Sony Reader? Also ran. Doesn’t cut it. Nice appliance with nowhere nearly enough support — and 512 MB of internal memory? You’ve gotta be kidding!
Naturally, the obvious question is, “Why not an iPad?”
1. It’s too big for casual use;
2. The reading experience on the e-ink surface is better;
3. Why haul around a $600-800 piece of eminently frangible and steal-able equipment when a $189 appliance is more portable — and expendable?
4. It’s made by Apple. I may end up a convert someday (after all, I once swore I’d never vote for a Democrat, and now I are one), but I’m a long way from brain-Jobbed so far.
Also, I love the Kindle apps, both mobile and desktop. They’re dead simple, and I like the automatic sync: start on the desktop, move seamlessly to the Droid, to a different desktop, and back, without losing your place. Cool!
These are just some thoughts of mine, quite of the moment. Chances are really good that I’ll end up with a ?Pad at some point in the future. But I’ll probably still have a Kindle appliance or app around close. In my book (sorry!) it’s the one to beat.
Addendum: But now I’m going to try out the Nook for PC and Android apps. Might be able to split the difference here, sharing-wise.
Addendum 2: Nook PC app won’t re-size to one page. It wants to show both pages. There doesn’t seem to be a way to change that. FAIL. I use it on 1/2 of a widescreen monitor.