Kindle again

I got hold of a Kindle at work the other day, only for an evening as I had to pass it on. I didn’t have it for long enough to form any realistic impression and I did not read a book on it. However, even based on this limited exposure, I thought that the reaction of my 9-year old son, Eoghan, was interesting.
He loved it, and for a few hours it even made it to the top of his Christmas list …
What really struck me was that his positive reaction seemed to relate to how the device brought together a web experience and a book experience. It made reading more like the experience of the web, and it is the latter that conditions his experiences. But it did it in a way that made the experience portable.
So, he liked the fact that he could see reviews, other books by the author, samples and so on. He liked the ability to search, to browse other titles while reading, to collect materials into his own space.
He thought that the searching was poor, because it required you actually to spell things correctly 😉 His searching expectation includes spelling correction or a ‘did you mean’ feature.
In short he liked the ‘in-book web experience’ or maybe the ‘in-web book experience’. He liked the ways in which reading a book mapped his more general web experience, and that he could carry it around.
This was in addition to a reading experience which seemed to work very well – he read several of the downloaded samples concentratedly. The expressed design goal of making the mechanics of reading disappear into the experience seemed to be achieved.
Sure, the device is not as smooth as an iPod but this didn’t seem to be an issue for him: maybe it would be over time, I don’t know. What was more important for him though than any clumsiness of navigation or control was what could be done with it.
The main downside to emerge – remember in a very short exposure – was the size of the available collection on Amazon. He was impressed that various titles were available, but we only found between a third and a half of what we looked for.
That said, Guitar Hero III has gone back to the top of the Christmas list 😉
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3 thoughts on “Kindle again”

  1. I keep going back and forth about adding it to my Christmas list as well … I think I might wait for 2.0 – since the complaints I’ve heard all sound like they could be fixed with some simple improvements to the interface … maybe in a release next year 🙂

  2. I think I’ll be giving the Kindle a miss. Aside from the DRM lock-in, and a network architecture that means it can’t be used in Europe – the best bit is that the device reports back information related to the content stored on the device and your use of it.

    Imagine borrowing a book from the Library and having someone peeking over your shoulder noting where you have placed your book mark, how many pages you have read…

  3. I got a Kindle for my birthday and think it’s the best thing since sliced bread! I read about 8 books per month and listen to that many audiobooks in my car via my iPod. As an avid reader, there is nothing worse than being out somewhere with some free time, or on an airplane, finish a book and not have another one to start. This definitely solves that problem!
    I’d like to comment on some of the things others have said. i just got back from Europe, spending 2 weeks hitting London, Berlin, Belgium, Amsterdam and many other places and my Kindle worked like a charm! I didn’t try to download anything, as I already had 10 books downloaded to it, but as far as not working there, it’s crap. I did however, receive my subscription to when I would turn the wireless on, so obviously it worked.
    As far as someone looking over your shoulder, download the content to your computer and transfer it via usb and don’t turn the wireless on. When it’s not on, they can’t tell what your reading and why would you care anyway! I am always more than happy to share with people my experience with books!
    the only downfall I have found is that the keys to turn the pages are too close to the edge or too large. It’s sometimes difficult, such as on an airplace, to get comfortable with the book without flipping pages accidentally.
    the fact that I can take it outside at high noon and there not be a glare won me right from the start!

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