I got a Kindle for Christmas! A Kindle DX to be exact, meaning it’s the large version. A friend of mine asked to share my opinion of it on Facebook. I told her that I would write a review after I had used it for a few weeks, so here it is.
I really love my Kindle. The few minor problems that I have encountered do not stop me from enjoying it. The very best thing about the Kindle is that it makes reading as physically effortless as it was when I was in college. I had not even realized how much more effort I had been making to read recently until I started reading books and periodicals — especially periodicals — on the Kindle.
The ease of reading on the Kindle is only partly due to the ability to increase the font size. I can increase the font size on my laptop, but the Kindle is still easier to read. I think the clarity of the font, the particular ratio of print-background contrast and the all-lighting-friendly screen play a part, too. I must say that there are times when it would be nice if the Kindle screen could be backlit — reading a night in a car, for instance — but I would never trade that feature for a decrease in ease of reading.
When you buy a Kindle, you get a special Kindle email address that you can use to send documents to your Kindle. You can send them two ways: converted-for-Kindle and unconverted. Conversion costs 15 cents per megabyte. Since there are very few documents that are heavier than a meg, you can basically count on paying 15 cents per document. I always convert, because then I can change the font size, which is very important to me when I’m reading a .pdf file. Here’s how I put interesting articles from the web on my Kindle in order to comfortably reread them later: I use my browser’s “print” command to create a .pdf file, save in on my hard drive, and send it with the “convert” command to my Kindle.
(Note: You need to have Adobe Acrobat Writer on your computer in order to create a .pdf file in this manner.)
I haven’t used the bookmarking and highlighting features, but my daughter has. She’s reading her English assignment, Orwell’s 1984, on my Kindle. This brings me to a frustration that has nothing to do with Amazon, but rather the publisher: some books do not have a table of contents! 1984 does not, so my daughter has to remember to bookmark the beginning of chapters so that she can easily find them. I am currently reading Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, which does have a table of contents, so if I should like to go back to chapter three, for example, I can just click on it from the TOC.
The only time that an item on the Kindle is difficult to read is when I must finish reading a blog or periodical article on the web. Yes, the Kindle has limited web-browsing capabilities, and no, finish-on-the-web is not something that Amazon can control; the blog or periodical itself decides what appears in full on the Kindle. For example, I subscribe to the Vanity Fair and Huffington Post blogs. I can read some of their articles in their entirety, and others must be finished on the web. (And, of course, if you follow a link in an article, you end up on the web.) Using the web on the Kindle can be difficult for two reasons: first, you can’t always adjust the font size, and second, browsing with the Kindle is rather slow.
Kindle has a new free service now in Beta: Kindle on your PC. It synchronizes your Kindle eReader contents with a Kindle application on your PC. A Mac version is also in the works. When I first saw this, I wondered, if I have a Kindle, why would I want this? Then I realized that what they are really offering is Kindle eBook/ePeriodical service for people who do not have Kindles. The only advantage to people who already have Kindles, I think, is that you can look at illustrations in color. I’m going to try this, of course, to see what it’s like.
So, to Jenny, and any other curious friends, I say, I’m glad I have a Kindle!
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