My Kindle Review

Amazon Kindle

I got an Amazon Kindle (3rd generation) for my birthday last August. When it arrived, I opened the box and thought there was a sticker stuck to the screen. Nope! It just looked like a printed sticker. The text and images were produced by the screen itself!

One of the first books I read on it was Revolution in the Valley (stories from the people who made Apple’s first Mac computer). I could only get it onto my Kindle as a PDF. It rendered fine in portrait mode, but the text was too small to read comfortably – and the Kindle can’t reflow PDF text: it treats PDF pages like images as far as I can tell. So I read that book in landscape mode. That was a clunky but workable solution.

E-books intended for the Kindle (.mobi files) work much better because you can resize the text as big as you like (and it reflows).

Amazon’s website is one great source of ebooks. The Kindle version of a book often costs less than the equivalent paper version.

Project Gutenburg is an excellent source of free public-domain books. For each book, they often have it in multiple formats, including .mobi. Thanks to Project Gutenburg, I’ve read all the early Sherlock Holmes novels and stories, the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and Treasure Island.

I prefer to read in bed, and I’ve found that it can be tricky to hold the Kindle without dropping it. Maybe they should make it more rubbery on the back or give it a more organic shape to fit my hand. Maybe they’re just trying to sell covers or carrying cases.

I tried using my Kindle to jump around in reference books, but that didn’t work well. There’s a search feature, but it’s clunky. Page refreshing is also quite slow, which is fine for reading a novel, but sucks if you want to skim quickly to find something. I suspect an iPad would be better for that. I don’t have an iPad, so I tend to use paper books, web pages (web documentation plus sites like Stack Overflow), and PDFs on my computer as my reference materials.

Overall, I’m happy with my Kindle, for what it’s good at: reading books from start to finish.


Photo credits: Kindle Portrait by bfishadow on Flickr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.