Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Amazon’s Kindle, after more than a year

Using the Amazon Kindle (2nd generation) now for over a year I must say it was worth the high international shipment price. What’s great:

  • Its great paperback replacement. You read slightly slower than with a real book but it is definitely easier to handle.
  • It’s weight and operation time. This is one of the only electronic devices which need only to be recharged once a week after moderate usage.
  • WhisperNet and the online shop works flawless.
  • The always present dictionary is one of the best ideas so far for eBook readers
  • Text-to-Speech works well and is sometimes useful (if you are too tired to read ;-))

So as replacement for paperbacks, the Kindle is perfect. Yes, the E Ink Display can be better (it is, with the 3rd generation). But the Kindle has also some flaws:

  • The platform remains closed without any good reason (and open it for simple games makes no sense so far)
  • Direct ePub rendering would be fine (but you can always convert any book to the MOBI format with good results, DRM is not an issue any more)
  • The not so good typographic rendering: not the worst for reading, but if you take a higher quality book, you see the difference. Maybe this is a second chance for TeX 😉

This flaws can be solved easily by Amazon but the real problem for all eBook readers are currently the publishers who try to block any success of the platform, especially in Europe:

  • A lot of publications available in US are not available here
  • Several months ago eBooks costs (naturally) less than Hardcovers, now prices are equal or higher (with nearly zero production costs). This is pure greed because the authors are not getting more as they got from a paperback sale …
  • The silly idea of DRMs (which cost two clicks to be removed nowadays)
  • Nearly no German publications in the Amazon Store (but you can buy it on or Thalia as ePub and copy it over)

I currently hope the market force of Google, Amazon and Apple combined will derail the current publishers (as they have done with the records industry) so that most books really get available with a reasonable price.
Will be interesting of the new 7” tablets will be finally replace the Kindle, but for now it is definitely the best electronic reading device so far … for the current price it is a certainly bargain.