Kindle: Week 3

I've had my Kindle long enough to get a good feel for it. I still stand by everything I said in my Kindle 3 Review but I wanted to add a little more.

I'm really excited for the beginning of March. Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss and The Crippled God by Steven Erikson both come out on the first of that month. Those are both books in the "I don't care how poor I am I'm getting them" realm. However, the problem with these books go much deeper than whether I can really afford them. The problem is: which do I read first? I mean, seriously. How am I gonna choose? I've already decided that they will be the first two new books I buy on my Kindle. I will one day own the hardcover of both--I know, it's weird to buy a book twice, but I don't mind--and it's not like I'm exactly swimming in bookshelf space at my current house. These will therefor be the first giant epic fantasies I will have read on the Kindle. I'm curious how, if at all, this will change the experience for me.

Certainly my arms won't be as tired after reading for 18 hours straight.

I've discovered that my Kindle balances perfectly on the ipod holder on our elliptical. This is kind of a major breakthrough because it means I can read while I exercise. I love wheeling my desk over there and watched some Craig Ferguson on the laptop while I work out, but it doesn't release me from the torture that is prolonged movement quite the way that reading a book or a series of articles does.

My Kindle 3 Review

The Good:
Screen size and weight. It feels like holding a (very) light paperback. I had no problems reading on my back for hours, holding the screen over my head (can't say the same for a Steven Erikson hardcover). The print size is adjustable for those with bad eyesight though I kept it at a standard paper-back sized font.
Didn't hurt my eyes one bit. The e-ink technology they use feels to the eyes just like reading a regular book and I don't know if I will ever touch my Kindle for PC application again.
The web browser is more of a pleasant bonus than anything else. As one of those barbarians without a smart phone it will be nice for checking things on wikipedia or reading my daily blogs when I'm someplace without my computer (but with wireless, for I did not get the 3G model for the extra $50).
It can hold MP3s. I'm sure I read this somewhere before buying, but it surprised me anyway. I threw a couple episodes of Writing Excuses on there yesterday but for anyone with an MP3 player this really isn't that fantastic. It doesn't have a lot of memory but will be a good place to keep audio books--if I ever buy one. What it does not have is a navigable menu for your MP3s; simply a press and play.

The "Meh":
The web browser goes under this, too. It has a tough time rendering pictures and can be slow and choppy. It has an awkward cursor thing that lets you navigate but is less than functional if you're in a hurry or at all impatient.
The touted free ebook archive we've heard so much about is kinda underwhelming. I'd hoped for something that I could browse during work, plucking this book and that and whisking it to my kindle. Instead I found links to several websites (archive.org, openlibrary.org, and gutenburg.org) not a single one of which I found "browseable." Go ahead and call me lazy. I don't mind. It just didn't live up to my expectations. I'd hoped to have hundreds of awesome old books on my kindle in a few days. I'm up to about sixteen that caught my interest and those were mostly childhood reads (Les Mis, Count of Monte Cristo, etc). If a book is public domain and you know exactly what you want, you will probably find it on one of those sites. But don't expect to jump on the internet and fill your bookshelf. Running down a brightly lit bookstore aisle with a shopping cart and carte-blanche this is not.

The Coolest Thing So Far:
I figured out how to put my own work on the kindle. It's really quite simple once you figure out how to save your files and where to put them. The formatting isn't perfect and I won't be able to effectively edit on the thing. What makes me the most excited is my ability to have a non-editing, comfortable read through of one of my books without having to sit at the computer. I kicked back on the couch and read Drums of War on and off throughout the last day and a half and was delighted.
It gave me a feel for how the book would look on a printed page. It didn't hurt my eyes or back and it didn't feel at all like a chore or work. It felt like I was on my couch reading a paperback. And that alone may be worth getting a kindle.

My Kindle is on the Way

My awesome family banded together to get me a kindle for my birthday. I'm quite excited and while it won't be here for at least a few days I've started browsing the free books on Amazon. They are, of course, one of the biggest reasons I wanted a Kindle and definitely one of the big ways Amazon is marketing the kindle. I've already got some of the classics like Count of Monte Cristo, The Odyssey, The Iliad, Dracula, Art of War, The Prince, and Treasure Island. I look forward to reading them on my MAGICAL ELECTRONIC BOOK DEVICE!

Ebooks and a New Project

About eight weeks ago my wife asked me what I thought about the Kindle. My response was something along the lines of "It's a vanity toy for technocrats and businessmen."

Yeah, I said that. I'm not proud.

Over the holiday season I read a slew of blogs and articles about ebooks ranging from fear that they're going to drive publishers out of business to jubilation that the next real thresh hold of printing technology has been reached.

I'm withholding judgment for now, and I may be for another twenty years because ereaders and the like are going to continue to change and develop just as fast as any other technology. I do think the development is wonderful. I also think it's scary, as I'll be entering my own writing career during a wave of changing practices and technologies and if I or any of the people I work with make the wrong decision at some point it could cost me a career--or at least hamper it decently.

I've done a lot of reading about ereaders lately. I have to admit. They look fun. Between constant promotional sales by some of my favorite authors like Steven Erikson and the giant library of free books Amazon has, I've decided it would be both practical and enjoyable. Mostly enjoyable.

So, tail between my legs, I went to Michele the other day and admitted I wanted a Kindle for my birthday. I've dropped some not-so-subtle hints to family members and maybe I can schmooze save up enough to buy one.