Amazon Kindle?

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Eric
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Amazon Kindle?

Post by Eric » 24 Apr 2008, 17:26

Has anyone in this forum bought an Amazon Kindle yet? I'm considering buying one this weekend, but I would like to get some feedback on the device before coughing up the $400! I've been looking through the available Kindle books on Amazon's website and I'm still undecided. The prices are excellent ($10 or less for most books), but the selection isn't as great as I would have liked...although they are adding new titles every day, apparently.

Any feedback from Kindle owners would be much appreciated! :D
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Post by Scott » 24 Apr 2008, 22:15

I have not used it, and I am not planning on getting it. Anyway, here is the link to purchase it: Kindle: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device

Thanks,
Scott
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Post by Erasmus_Folly » 25 Apr 2008, 01:43

I have not bought one and do not plan to. I belong to another forum that has discussed this and some people have reported problems. For what it's worth here are some sample comments (some of this is technical and beyond my comprehension):

Re: Amazon Kindle Review: Igniting Interest in E-Books?
The big drawback, IMHO, is that you have to pay to put your own ebooks onto the device and you can't buy from any other source except Amazon.com without pain. This is like sneaking in a very restrictive DRM.

Re: Amazon Kindle Review: Igniting Interest in E-Books?
Actually you can put any compatible book onto the device using the included USB cable, something Amazon.com has been playing down, probably in favor of showing how easily one can use the Kindle and how its not computer centralized.
About the emailing of files, any non DRMed files (AKA files that are not Sony Connect/other book stores that use DRM) that are incompatible with the Kindle can be converted for free by sending them to a special Amazon.com email address that converts your file and emails it back to you automatically for free, which, as stated earlier can be placed onto the device by hand. This is a different email address than the one assigned to your Kindle. It only costs if you send to your Kindle's email address to send the file over the EVDO network directly to the Kindle. I assume the reason that Amazon doesn't just offer a program for converting files is so they don't have to create a version for the PC/Mac/Linux and any other OS.

Re: Amazon Kindle Review: Igniting Interest in E-Books?
Me? I'm a Boomer. I like my real books. The Kindle is supposedly named after kindling wood, which is what they are going to use to burn all the real books once e-books take over the world. Not for me. (Book paper burns at Fahrenheit 451)


Re: Amazon Kindle Review: Igniting Interest in E-Books?
I think you missed the point. Even with the USB connection, you need to convert many books. For example, I've amassed hundreds of ebooks, mostly pdf or HTML reference books that I'd like to have at my fingertips, but Kindle only handles AZW, MOBI, and TXT format. This conversion fee is a surcharge on books I already own. No thank you. I'm picking up a Bookeen Cybook Gen 3 unit that doesn't have hidden costs.

Re: Amazon Kindle Review: Igniting Interest in E-Books?
My point, however, was that there is no conversion charge unless you send it wirelessly, using Sprint's network, to the Kindle.

You're basically given 2 options.

Option A(Free Option): You send it to an email address like free@kindle.com, and it will send it back to your email in the proper format for free. Also, so you don't have to add loads of files to an email at once you can send a zip of many files. Then you must manually move said file onto the Kindle through the USB.

Option B(Charge Option): You send it to an email address like sendittomykindle@kindle.com and it will convert it

Re: Amazon Kindle Review: Igniting Interest in E-Books?
Sorry, I tried option A and it doesn't work...
1) It didn't recognize my .zip file. It completely ignored it and then tried to convert my signature (.vcf) file.
2) It doesn't handle pdf files! Here is the relevant email message body:
The following document and image types are supported as attachments:Personal documents: Unprotected Microsoft Word documents (*.doc), HTML documents
(*.html, .htm), and Text documents (.txt)Images: JPEGs (*.jpg), GIFs (*.gif), Bitmaps (*.bmp), and PNG images (*.png)
So, the Kindle doesn't support 70% of my ebooks. No pdf, no chm, no odf. Of course I could preconvert my pdfs to pictures, but talk about memory consumption.

Re: Amazon Kindle Review: Igniting Interest in E-Books?
Huh, the ZDNet review said PDFs can be converted. I'd been looking at the Kindle to replace my Reader so this was something I was trying to find out considering I have quite a few Public Domain books from feedbooks.com

"...You can convert files in one of two ways: you can either send attachments wirelessly to the device's personal e-mail address, which will cost you $.10 per attachment. Or you can send them to a "free" Kindle e-mail address that you access via your Windows or Mac OS computer and then transfer the converted files to your Kindle manually via USB (it appears as a drive). According to Amazon, to reduce wireless charges, your best bet is to zip up a bunch of files in an attachment, then send the ZIP file wirelessly to the Kindle's personal e-mail address, where the ZIP file will automatically be unzipped and the files converted.

PDF files can also be converted and viewed, but like with Sony's Reader, they won't necessarily display properly because the PDF is scaled to fit the screen. You can increase the font size of Word documents but you can't zoom in on PDF files, which can makes them hard to read because they're being reduced to fit on the screen. PDF's take several seconds to load (as they often do on a computer). Also, one image-based PDF we tried (an architectural floor plan) wasn't viewable at all."

Perhaps these paragraph sections are separate, I just assumed the PDFs were converted by the email. Maybe the Kindle converts the file on the fly, dunno. I'll have to look into it some more. I didn't even think to try the email address, I assumed it wouldn't do it unless your email account was connected to a Kindle.

Re: Amazon Kindle Review: Igniting Interest in E-Books?
Wow. I just realized that the Kindle costs the same as a 4G Asus Eee PC.
Hmm.
I can still read books on the Eee PC, and surf the net, and do word processing, and have about the same amount of battery life, and read my eBooks (in a ton of formats) on an Eee PC outdoors, it's not much bigger than a Kindle, I can use my flash drive with it, and much more.
Conclusion: Eee PC gives more bang for the buck, from what I can see. $399 on a Kindle or $399 on a fully-functional PC. No Kindle for me!


Re: Amazon Kindle Review: Igniting Interest in E-Books?
If you buy a Kindle, be sure to save all the original boxes and packaging. Mine quit receiving downloads after two weeks (although I had connectivity and it happily would allow me to order more books, etc. from the "Kindle Store"). Amazon would be happy to take it back... if I had the original packaging, which I foolishly discarded, thinking a $400 item would actually work. I compute my bargain books so far cost me close to $70 each... Don't expect any support from Kindle "Support"...I gave up after almost 2 hours on hold on the phone. Email replies are perfunctory "Gee, we dunno, we'll get back to you later." I regard this is a massive marketing rip-off and system failure. Something is very wrong with the vaunted Amazon system. I am chalking this up to a hard lesson learned. Mine is now an expensive piece of junk!

Re: Amazon Kindle Review: Igniting Interest in E-Books?
God this one of the most brutally ugly products I have EVER seen!


Re: Amazon Kindle Review: Igniting Interest in E-Books? I think my Kindle is the most beautiful product I have ever seen. I judge it on the basis of what it does for me, not for what it looks like -- that's a very shallow viewpoint. And I ruly love mhy Kindle -- it goes with me everywhere -- to the join, to the restaurant, to bed with me where I found it is the only book I can read in bed (try turning the page of a regular book with one hand like I used to read my Kindle). I keep my charger by my bed and regharge it every night like Kindle recommends. That way I can keep th wireless switch on at all times, unless I am on an airplane, which I just turn it off, but keep the Kindle on with no problem. While I buy a reasonable number of books from the Kindle store, most books I get are free from the out-of-copyright free ebooks available on the internet. These are the true classics of the world, and the books I learned to love reading in my youth before there was even radio much less TV or computers to distract me like there is today

My own comment is in bold type.

Until recently Amazon did not have any user comments on their own site like they do with all other products they sell. They do now but IMO the rave reviews there look too professionally produced so I would take them with a grain of salt.
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Post by Eric » 25 Apr 2008, 06:06

Thanks, Erasmus! I actually felt the same way about e-books as you do, but I was won over when I read a cover story about the Kindle in Newsweek last year. When I thought about getting on a plane with a whole library in my carry-on bag, I was pretty impressed. I would have killed for one of these things when I was in the Peace Corps and didn't have access to new books all the time. My two main problems are somewhat contradictory:

1. the selection of books is good for popular books and bestsellers, but many of the books I searched for on Amazon.com (esp. philosophy) were not available. For example, most or all of the following authors' works (some of my favorites) were unavailable as Kindle books: Luis-Ferdinand Celine, Slavoj Zizek, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, and many others.

2. on the other hand, I am worried that the large selection of very cheap Kindle books may break me! Most classic fiction and philosophy books are offered for $0.80 to $2.00. I could see myself continually buying these cheap books, only to have them add up without me realizing it!

I guess I'm still undecided...
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Post by Eric » 25 Apr 2008, 10:25

Ok, so I just placed an order for the Kindle. It'll be here in 2 days. That's typical of me: ask for feedback, then ignore it and go ahead and do what I was probably going to do in the first place! After spending some time on the Amazon website and seeing Toni Morrison's ringing endorsement of the Kindle, I was sold on it. Then I noticed that I can get the collected works of authors like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky for under $5 apiece! I'll post again when I get it and let you all know what my opinion is then. :D
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Post by Erasmus_Folly » 25 Apr 2008, 10:49

8) 8) 8) Just don't throw away the packaging. :D :D :D
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Post by Booktk » 25 Apr 2008, 19:18

I seriously thought about buying the Kindle but I think I'll wait for version two. The current version is being sold very quickly, but I assume (and hoping) version 2 will have a colored screen. The technology is already in the labs its only a matter of 2-3 years.

If you don't mind color though I would recommend buying it as it has so many advantages and most Kindle books are cheaper than print.

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Post by Pappy » 27 Apr 2008, 15:24

I think the Kindle is probably one of the best gadgets out there right now. There are a few drawbacks but the drawbacks pale in comparison to the potential. I wrote Amazon with some questions and recommendations to help people see some things about the Kindle (like how books like I am America and So Can You has jokes in the margin and how would that translate to the Kindle version) and they wrote back saying that if there was any book I wanted to see transribed to the Kindle to email them and they would contact the publisher to try to get it worked on as soon as possible.

I'm not worried about color especially at this point in time. Magazines with Kindle support are not using it to its full advantage anyway. Time is not putting things like graphs and pictures in there, newspapers aren't publishing comics and why? Certainly not because the Kindle can't support it. Just looking at the common picture depicting the cover of Freakonomics shows that it can support pictures, and even look pretty good doing it and yet these companies aren't doing their part. If they don't get on the ball it won't matter if the kindle has color support or not. It would be like having an unelievably fast car to drive to the corner store and back with. All that potential and no use for it.

But imagine how great it would be to store not only your recreational reading on it, but educational and professional books too. Imagine being a doctor and having all of your references right there in your bag or on your desk instead of on the book shelves or stored in your computer. Imagine being a college student and having to tote around your kindle in your backpack instead of the twenty or so pounds of books. In my career, I have publications that easily, EASILY go beyound three thousand pages and it would be a ton easier to have all that in something like the Kindle.

And price. College text books are so pricey, but if they offered them at a price that's reasonable considering they're cutting out distributors, printers, transport, and shelf space, then that savings would be passed on to the buyer. Imagine a whole semester's worth of books for 100.00 instead of 600.00.

Also, one of the things I really like about it is the fact that I could read all sorts of books and then populate my bookshelf with printed books that are ESPECIALLY amazing to me. My particular favorites. Over the years I've bought a ton of books I thought would be good only to be disappointed and those ones end up in totes which is just wasted space honestly.

It's an AMAZING invention as far as I'm concerned and most of the things that people complain about are either because they haven't lookd far enough into it, or because they're expecting something entirely different than what the device is meant to be. You don't buy a book expecting it to also function as, say, a hammer, even though if it's heavy and sturdy enough it could. So why expect an e-reader to also be an MP3 player?

I also don't mind it not having a backlight. I just got done reading Survivor by the same author as Fight Club (can never remember how to spell his last name) on my computer and it was horribly hard on my eyes.

So all in all, it seems like a great invention for me, but I could see why people might not like it. I can especially see why book fans wouldn't like it, especially when you get into the idea that it or something like it might replace printed books as we know it (something I don't believe at all but have heard concerns about).

All of that being said (and I do apologize for the length) I do think the price of the device is REALLY high. I also think the prices for magazine and newspaper subscriptions are also pretty high. True, the prices of magazines aren't so bad, but they aren't good enough when you think about all the money that is being saved by the company by publishing it on the Kindle as opposed to print. The profit margin should be the same percent in my opinion.

And if they were to lower the price of the device to get it into more people's hands, more people would be buying more books, and more money and profit would be generated. Most video game developers lose money on every platform they make but make up for the money in software sold. Well, that used to be the case, anyway. I don't know about now with 600.00 systems out there. Anyhoo, this is a lesson I would urge Amazon to take heed of even though it's constantly sold out now.

I don't have one yet. It would be amazingly useful to me since I'm flying pretty often and always in need of a book, but I'm not in a place financially where I could justify getting it.

So, again, sorry for the long rant. It's just a device with a ton of potential that I feel doesn't get voiced enough.

Edit: I also apologize for any misspelled words. I'm a fast typist but my accuracy isn't so great.
Last edited by Pappy on 27 Apr 2008, 15:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Erasmus_Folly » 27 Apr 2008, 15:32

8) Excellent comments. Well wriiten. I would think about getting one if the price dropped and the availability of books expanded, especially in the non-fiction catagory. :D :D
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Post by Eric » 27 Apr 2008, 16:53

Pappy wrote:they wrote back saying that if there was any book I wanted to see transribed to the Kindle to email them and they would contact the publisher to try to get it worked on as soon as possible.
That's great news! I noticed some glaring holes in their catalog at the moment. For instance, they have no Kindle books by Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Albert Camus! :shock:

My Kindle should arrive on Tuesday. I already have a lengthy list of books to buy in the first week. :lol:
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Post by Eric » 30 Apr 2008, 03:29

I finally received my Kindle in the mail today! I went from excited to incredibly disappointed to mostly content. Very briefly, this is why:

When the FedEx truck arrived at my house, I practically had to force myself not to run out to meet the delivery-guy in the driveway! After a quick read of the instruction manual I plugged it in and started exploring its functions. For some reason, though, it was not able to establish a wireless connection. I walked all around the house, thinking that maybe it was just the spot in which I was standing. Still nothing.

I contacted Kindle Support, assuming that it was some minor issue, or possibly a major issue that might require me to exchange my Kindle for another one. After I gave my home address to the troubleshooter, he said, "Oh, that explains it. The wireless connection uses Sprint wireless technology, and there is no Sprint wireless providers in your area." I was shocked and replied, "Do you mean that none of the features utilizing the wireless service [buying books directly from your Kindle, Wikipedia access, Google maps access, etc.] can be used as long as I live in this area?" "Yes," he answered.

My immediate decision was that I should return it and get my money back as soon as possible. Then I decided to give it a try without the wireless features. I bought a book from the website and transferred it to my Kindle via USB cable. It's still a great device, even without some of the coolest features.

Then I discovered the site http://www.manybooks.net, where I can download tons of Kindle-compatible e-books for FREE! All of the e-books were in the public domain [Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Woolf, etc.]. It only takes a few seconds to download the book and transfer it to the Kindle. I now have over fifty books on the Kindle, and I only bought three of them!

Overall, it's a great invention...I just hope that they will eventually enable everyone, regardless of location, to get the full appreciation of the product.
Freedom of conscience entails more dangers than authority and despotism. -- Michel Foucault

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Post by Writer44 » 03 May 2008, 10:04

I have a kindle now and love it for one reason: I can tote an absolute ton of books with me while I travel and I travel frequently and to places where books are not readily available.

The device has a few flaws, like the big page turn button the right as opposed to a smaller one and the on/off switch at the back is oddly located.

The screen is excellent and enlarging the type is great for tired eyes.

I'm hoping that Amazon keeps up the list of titles and continues to expand. This may depend on the authors/publishers.

All in all, a great machine, especially for hauling the library.

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Post by bookie20 » 08 May 2008, 00:27

I was playing with one the other day and it's pretty nice. It has a great display and very easy on the eyes. But, some of the controls are located at the weirdest places. The 'next' button is on the side, so it's sort of hard holding it without accidentally hitting the button.

If you can wait, I would and hopefully they fix the small design issues.

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Post by austen_inspired » 10 May 2008, 23:38

Eric wrote:Ok, so I just placed an order for the Kindle. It'll be here in 2 days. That's typical of me: ask for feedback, then ignore it and go ahead and do what I was probably going to do in the first place! After spending some time on the Amazon website and seeing Toni Morrison's ringing endorsement of the Kindle, I was sold on it. Then I noticed that I can get the collected works of authors like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky for under $5 apiece! I'll post again when I get it and let you all know what my opinion is then. :D
What I love about Kindle is the independent writers I found that are able to publish their unknown books into the Kindle Store. Amazon keeps a tiny portion, aparently and I'm considering putting up a book (when I finish it)

I cannot say enough about ebooks; I read some from Belator Books recently and loved them. The authors there just put two books up in the Kindle Store: Draw Me a Picture (romance) and The Road to the King (hist fic). I hope they get the rest of them up into it soon. Happy Kindling!

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Post by Kaabi » 09 Jun 2008, 21:03

I would definitely wait awhile before purchasing The Kindle. I read an article about it, and apparently the price and quality of the device will go up in a couple of years. I don't think it's worth it at this point to purchase it, unless you are unspeakably wealthy.

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