Oh man, that slope looks slippery

A friend of mine – a very, very good friend of mine – just gave me a Kindle. Yeah, no shit.

So I’m downloading some stuff. This is tough, because I’m such a freaking cheapskate, so I sorted by price and started with a bunch of public domain books at a buck apiece – Darwin (Voyage of the Beagle, and Origin of Species, and his book on worms, which I’ve always kind of wanted to read), and Lewis and Clark.

Then this morning it occurred to me to check my wishlist for stuff available on Kindle, and I downloaded a couple more books (David Crystal’s How Language Works and Gordon Dahlquist’s Glass Books of the Dream Eaters – which I have tagged as a recommendation of “sdmb, not unambivalently”). And I check out a few more things as sample chapters and decide not to get them, which at least cleans up my wishlist a bit.

Then I start going through my recommendations, which leads me to buy a $.99 bio of Captain Cook and Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn – I liked the samples on these.

Dear god, stop me before I download again!

What’s it like to read the Kindle? I think it would feel weird, or hurt the eyes. I’m kind of interested, but sort of a stick in the mud who likes things a certain way and has a hard time adapting to new interfaces.

But it sounds awesome. So much reading!

I’m a total freaking Luddite, so was a trifle skeptical – but you get used to the “reading” part almost instantaneously. The print is black on a white background with a normal serif font. You press “next page” with your thumb and it’s like flipping a page – and you don’t think of it consciously any more than you think about the physical action of flipping a change in a paper book.

Size and weight, it feels like a paperback. You keep it in a hard-sided leather “book” that feels … like a book.

It is so goddamn freaking cool.

Yep. I’ve had mine for a few months now, and it’s hard to imagine reading a book or newspaper comfortably without it. That’s right, newspapers - you can get The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and several others for a monthly fee that’s substantially less than a daily newsstand purchase, delivered almost instantaneously every morning. That convenience was a real draw for me.

And the convenience is really what sells the device. The “whispernet” service really is fast - buy or sample a book, newspaper, magazine, blog, or whatever, and the item is ready to read right away. And carry any number of them around with you in a compact form (you can even augment the storage capacity with an SD card). Amazon may have nothing on Apple in terms of design (the new Kindle model supposedly coming out next year is much sleeker), but they got the convenience factor right.

Oh, and twickster? Check out Feedbooks for free downloads (the files are compatible or can be converted after download - their Help page has pretty good directions).

It sounds really cool, and if it actually feels like a paperback then I’m in.

Does anyone know a place where they sell them in a store so I can go fondle one? I’d really need to see what it felt like before I really consider getting one.

Oh, man, go ahead and throw me in that briar patch at the foot of the slippery slope! I knew there had to be a free site somewhere – I was just hoping it wouldn’t present itself on an afternoon when I’m supposed to be working… :wink:

Many, many thanks.

How are they with Graphic Novels?

Can they handle illos?

Do you get cover art?

Bad, no, no.

Who is this directed at, please?

Is the text backlit? Would you be able to read in the dark, or relative dark? Does it “bookmark” – save your place? Can you mark in it – like we do with stickies, for sections that we want to come back to later? Does it come with one font? Is it the font the book was printed in or is there a Kindle font?

Someone in my book group says hers came with a CD with 100 books on it. Did yours?

I had a go of the Sony reader the other day in a local store. I wasn’t impressed. I can imagine it would be useful for academics but as it currently stands, that device at least isn’t an obvious purchase in the way MP3 players were a few years ago and continue to be.

The Sony Reader comes with the 100 books CD.

You.

No on backlighting, so no on reading it in the dark. The screen is designed to be read in bright light, though, including outdoors.

Yes it saves your place.

Yes you can make notes and bookmark (and look up words in the installed dictionary) and do other tricks that I haven’t figured out yet.

Single font, AFAICT, and it seems to be the Kindle font.

You can adjust the size of the font, so “location” numbering isn’t to page number but a referent to the text as a whole, so you can tell a friend to look at location XXXX and he or she will be able to find the same passage, even if you’re using two different font sizes.

No CD, no installed books other than dictionary and how-to guide.
An Gadai – haven’t seen the Sony one, so can’t comment.

Oops, yeah, that’s the one she was talking about. She said she can store books on her PC and put them in the reader when she’s ready.

Does the Kindle do that too? Store books on the PC?

No, no PC storage – but the Kindle holds 200 books on its standard chip, and if you get addl. storage you can have up to 2000 on it. Plus Amazon keeps a record of what you buy, so anything you download can be re-downloaded again in the future.

Which, frankly, I think is preferable to having it on my PC, since that would use up a huge amt. of storage.

BTW – Oprah just endorsed it, so there’s a limited-time offer (one week, I think?) for $50 off the Kindle if you go through her web site.

I have the Sony Reader and I love it. I’m still a big fan of library books for day to day reading, but the Sony Reader is perfect for business travel (just wish books were a little less pricey - which is the reason I mainly use the library in the first place). I can store books on the PC and put only the ones I want on the Reader. Although I have all my digital books on the Reader right now - it has a pretty big hard drive. I might have to get more selective later.

I have the PRS-505 which doesn’t have a backlit screen, but Sony just launched the PRS-700 which has a ton of new, nifty features (including a touch screen, ability to annotate and a built-in light). I kind of wish I had waited!

good heavens!! your friend is oprah!

i’m hoping for one. that way i can cut back on paperbacks. i’ll still keep my super favourites in books. all the rest i’d want on a kindle.

Kindle + Sherlock Holmes (free) = good times!

You can drag & drop files back & forth between your PC & SD card, no problem. (But what is possible with a file downloaded from Amazon, I’m not sure.)

You’re welcome, and I’m sorry. :wink:

Right - you can transfer files between your PC and the Kindle using the included USB cable. So you can easily store whatever you like on your PC (or removable media) and load it onto the Kindle whenever you want. Although Amazon will only keep copies of your Amazon purchases in their “cloud” (Amazon calls it “Your Media Library”). So anything you download from Feedbooks or other sites (and even anything you get converted through the Amazon service) will not be backed up by Amazon (though of course you can back up any of those files yourself).

Almost forgot about this. It doesn’t really feel like a paperback - the book cover they ship with it is a leather-like hard-sided affair that’s about 1.5 inches thick on one side, tapering to about .75 inches on the other. It’s about 7.5 inches high and 5.5 inches wide. When reading, you fold the cover back and hold it so that your left thumb is right next to the “Next Page” button. If you hold it with two hands, your right thumb is next to the little scroll wheel that controls menu functions. All in all, it’s roughly the size of a trade paperback, but the size of the screen is somewhat less than that. I’d read that people have had a hard time adjusting to the way the screen flashes when you turn a page, but it hasn’t affected me. It’s designed to be read in light, just like a real book, so there’s no backlight (I don’t believe the eInk technology allows for it).

And as far as I know, you can only get it through Amazon, though they have begun trying to hook up prospective buyers with demonstrations given by current owners via their See a Kindle in Your City area.