A while back, I bought a Kindle . I’d been playing with the iPhone version for a while, and with the onset of Big Commute, thought I’d give it a thrash.
In general, I have to say I’ve been pretty impressed with it.
On the downside, I’m now on my third one – the displays don’t appear to be strong enough to withstand being carried in a backpack without an additional case. The first one cracked after a couple of weeks, the second one cracked within 24 hours, and the third one has been fine – allbeit because I’ve now got a purple leather case for the damn thing.
Throughout the problems, and the need to replace two devices, I was really impressed with Amazon’s customer services. In both cases, I went to the website, registered the issue, and clicked “Call me now”. Immediately, the phone rang, I was put through to an adviser, and the issue got sorted. The replacement was couriered out (and arrived next day) and I then had 28 days each time to send the broken device back – again, postage paid and done by courier. It was the most painless returns scheme I’ve seen in a very long time – and impressively done.
As for the Kindle itself, it’s a nice bit of kit. The eInk display is a bit slow and weird to update, but you get used to it very quickly. Actually, the entire thing is a bit slow – if you’re used to blipping through options etc., you have to learn to slow down a bit. I think it’s all down to the limitations of the display, but it’s livable-with.
Reading on it is – I find – very simple. No eye-strain (there’s no backlight, so it’s black text on a grey screen) and no problems. The text is clear, regardless of font size, and all told it’s pretty good. Purchasing books is totally painless – click to order the book, and within 30 seconds it’s on the device. Very nice indeed.
It’s not the same as reading a ‘proper’ book- but it’s also a lot less intrusive, and easier in crowded situations. A lot of the books I’m reading at the moment are “trade paperback” size – which seems to mean ‘about the same size as a hardback’ – and on the Tube or whatever, they’d be a pain to read while people thump past all the time. With the Kindle, it’s a lot easier.
All told, I doubt Kindle will replace my books totally. However, when it comes to reading while commuting, it may just make the difference.