Report on the Kindle in Action

As I mentioned before leaving on vacation, I bought a Kindle from Amazon. The idea was to avoid having to carry a ton of books on the flight. I’d been putting off buying several books until my birthday, and my notion of “vacation” is to sit in a quiet place on the beach reading.

And I must say the Kindle performed extremely well.

* It was easy to read in the Bahamian sun on the beach.

* The worldwide free 3G service works in Nassau and Freeport just fine. Books download in less than a minute!

* It weighs next to nothing

* It has an electronic “dog ear” feature, allowing me to mark places that I can later return to when I write the review. Very cool.

* I read several books. Book reviews will forthcoming over the next several weeks, but I’ll share that my reading included —

The Naked Gospel: The Truth You May Never Hear in Church, by Andrew Farley (not on the Kindle)

The Last Word: Scripture and the Authority of God–Getting Beyond the Bible Wars, by N. T. Wright

Following Jesus, by N. T. Wright

Thomas Jefferson, by R. B. Bernstein (not to be reviewed, but an excellent read)

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller

The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation, by Barbara R. Rossing

* I found reading the books on the Kindle as easy or easier than a paperbook. I never had to break the binding so the book would stay open. I never lost my place. I could read the same books on my iPhone at no additional charge — which proved surprisingly easy — but the iPhone is useless on the beach and doesn’t have free international service. (If only I could use it in the bathtub …)

* I can also view the books — and my bookmarks — on my PC, which helps in writing a review. Unfortunately, I can’t drag and drop quotations. I understand the need to protect against my copying the whole book and emailing it to friends around the world, but the ability to copy up to 50 consecutive words, say, would really help.

* I could actually read the blog for free on the Kindle, but I honored my comment fast for the week. It’s not as slick as it could be, but it works.

* I can share books with a members of my family.

So although I had to pay for this myself, I’m delighted to have made the purchase. And while this isn’t an electronics review blog, I figure many readers here have the same problem I do with running out of space to store books and not wanting to carry heavy books on trips.


8 Responses

  1. How did you find your blog on Kindle? I did a search on mine using your name and your blog’ s name with no results.

  2. I am interested in a Kindle, but know very little about them. How do you download a book besides through your computer, and does the wireless one require a cellphone contract etc, or is it really a free download?

  3. James,

    It’s far from obvious. From Home, press Menu button. Click Experimental. Click Basic Web. Type in the “go to” bubble. I’m not listed among the pay-to-read blogs they offer, many with unmentionable titles.

    They strip out the sidebars and captions, which helps given the black-and-white presentation, but if you read the comments, you may to have press Prev Page 20 times to get back to the first page of a post and so go to the next post. Otherwise, it’s very readable and allows you to send your own comments.

  4. Paul,

    The Kindle has a literally, actually, for-real free 3G service via Sprint — forever, in 100 countries. It’s web functionality is very limited, in large part due to the black-and-white screen. But for some web sites, it works quite well.

    You can go to the Kindle Store, a subset of, and find and download books, charging to your credit card saved at Amazon. A 100-page book downloads in less than a minute. You are allowed about 6 total downloads of the same book, so you can download to your PC or iPhone, too, or you can — quite legally — allow your wife or very best friend to register a Kindle or other device on your account and use some of your permitted downloads. But you’d better flat trust them, because they’ll have the same charging privileges as you. Then again, you’ll never ever have to ask for a book back again.

    (You can save a download by downloading to your computer and then dragging and dropping over to the Kindle Documents folder. It’s entirely legit to do this, and it gives you a personal back up — assuming you back up your computer, of course.)

    Book, notes, dog ears are all saved at Amazon’s server, so when you change from Kindle to iPhone, the iPhone knows where you left off reading and has the bookmarks you made on the Kindle. Of course, so does your wife and best friend, if they share an account.

    You can’t legally share a book without sharing the account.

    Books are cheaper on the Kindle — but often not that much cheaper. Some out-of-copyright classics — Sherlock Holmes, Lewis Carroll — are free! And many texts aren’t yet available — especially more scholarly works. I’d love to buy a commentary set or two on the Kindle, because I have no place to store hard copies, but many aren’t yet available in digital format. But you have a MUCH greater chance of getting a digital version on Kindle than on any other device.

  5. I believe the current best practice for reading eBooks in the bath is to put the reader in a ziploc-type bag.

  6. Cathy,

    Thanks. I’ll see what we have in the kitchen.

  7. Jay,

    I know I’m days late on commenting on this, but I’m trying to decide on what I want to give myself for my birthday.

    Did you research Barnes & Nobles’ Nook? If so, what made you choose the Kindle over it?

  8. Micah,

    I didn’t spend much time on the Nook because —

    1. My son has had a Kindle for 6 months and loves it. I don’t know anyone with experience with a Nook.

    2. Kindle is established in the market. I don’t know whether the Nook will be around next year.

    3. I’m an Amazon fan, and Bezos knows how to leverage his market share.

    The Nook might be better for all I know. The feature allowing you to share books is very much an advantage. I can’t tell whether it comes with lifetime 3G.

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