Should I get a Kindle?

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Should I get a Kindle?

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jul 31, 2010, 11:31pm

I am thinking that someone here will tell me where I have gone wrong in my thinking.

Now there's an improved version for $139, wifi only, which is fine by me. My first reaction was "Geez, that's cheap enough that I am tempted!"

Then I thought A) I like real books made of matter and B) I don't want to buy a new book and then add the Kindle edition on top. That just ups my total book cash payout without adding more books.

I will buy a Kindle when the purchase of a new hardcover automatically comes with a Kindle version.

I'd feel differently if I traveled a lot perhaps, but I don't. So I can't really think of a reason to own a Kindle, though I like the technology. It seems to me more spending without what is to me the advantage of owning the actual material book.

Have I overlooked something, given my particular preferences? I'd like an excuse to get one, but won't do it unless I can think of a better reason than that it would be cool to own a new piece of technology.

So what about the person who is an avid reader, likes collecting the actual book, is looking for new books (let's say the ones that are $17 hardcovers on Amazon or $10 to 13 for the Kindle edition) or expensive scholarly books, and doesn't want to pay twice for the same book?

Redigeret: aug 1, 2010, 12:15am

If you like owning the hardcovers, then that is definitely an added expense. I doubt Amazon will ever give you a deal that will include both editions. Of course, I could be wrong.

I have found, for my leisure reading, that I much prefer ebooks. I have a built-in dictionary. I have the ability to change font size. I can highlight and add notes without ruining the book. The K3 will also give me the option of changing line spacing and font style, which I do not have on my K1. I do most of my reading curled up in bed or traveling. In both cases, regular books are more difficult to hold. I have a comfy case on my kindle so I don't feel like I am holding a hard, cold plastic slab. I can have a book any time, anywhere. I am never lonely and without a book. That convenience alone is worth the price to me.

I have gotten to the point where reading a hardcopy book is less pleasurable, so I try to read as few of them as possible.

That being said, my K1 was not an overnight sensation. It took me about 4 days to fall completely and irrevocably in love with it. ;-)

Happy reading,


ETA: One other interesting aspect of owning a kindle is that I don't "overbuy" books. I used to go into a bookstore and buy 4 or 5 books, because I didn't know when I would be able to get back. Usually, I would end up reading only 2 or 3 of those, because the others no longer fit my mood. With the kindle, I can download free samples and only buy the 1 book I feel like reading at exactly that moment.

aug 1, 2010, 12:09am

You might find that there are a lot of "pop fiction" books you'd like to read but don't want to clutter up your shelves with in dead-tree version.

Also, there are a lot of public-domain classics available for free, both on Amazon's own Kindle Store and on freebie sites like Feedbooks (just as one example).

One caution. I would NOT buy the $139 wifi-only device. It's fine for people who already have a full-feature Kindle and want to get a second machine for some other family member (most particularly, for a child where the parents don't want the child to have full internet connectivity). My own personal opinion, though, is that sooner or later you're going to regret not having the full 3G internet connectivity of the $189 regular model. That's just me, so take it or leave it, but don't rush into a wifi-only purchase just because the $139 price initially looks real attractive.

Redigeret: aug 1, 2010, 1:50am

Thank you, guys. My wife is pushing for me to get it. Her arguments:

1. Free access to the complete works of Shakespeare and Dickens to have anywhere anytime would be worth the price of the Kindle even if nothing else is ever added.

2. It sounds fun.

The sum total of the arguments is getting to me...

aug 1, 2010, 3:23am

Dickens, great. (Or in my case, the Brontes.) But I do have to warn you, I don't know how satisfied you'll be with Shakespeare. Kindle may not be all that great at displaying verse (and for Shakespeare, even most of his plays are written in iambic pentameter). The problem is, in line-wrapping the Kindle will probably left-justify when it should indent slightly to indicate that a line of verse has broken and been carried over to the next line of screen text. I've seen a few books that have been extremely well formatted (for example, Trillium Classics has done a really nice job on a Christina Rossetti collection and somehow manages to force indents on carry-over lines, but it's rare for ePoetry publishers to be this conscientious).

In fact, Shakespearean plays might be even more difficult to format, because in addition to the complication of their being in verse, there's also the problem that lines of verse can break from character to character in dialogue, and when that happens printed texts position the indentation so that a pentameter line's positioning on the page is properly indented from dialogue break to dialogue break. I'm not sure I'm explaining this right, but do you get the idea?

It's not just Kindle, but eBooks generally don't do a good job of controlling the position of text on a page. They're great for prose, but you'll have some trouble with verse and even more so with verse dramas.

aug 1, 2010, 4:44am

I would definitely get the $189 Kindle. I love real books too, but there's just no space in my small apartment for 10,000 books. I own about 1,000 of them, mostly they predate my Kindle 2 by many years.

I love being able to download free books for my Kindle. Books that I'm not sure I'll like but am willing to take the chance on are good candidates for Kindle reading - provided they're reasonably priced. BTW, I do NOT consider $10 - 13 a reasonable price for eBooks. I've never actually paid more than $4 for an eBook and will not pay over $6.

Buying a book twice? No, I wouldn't; well, at least not on purpose. There's no sense in doing that. If I buy the eBook, that means I'm not investing in the hardcover or even a paperback.

Even just running errands down town where you're guaranteed to have some waiting time, having a Kindle with you can come in handy.

aug 1, 2010, 5:05am

I too like downloading a bunch of samples and just buying ones i like. I personally don't like reading a book for a while while I'm in the store. I use my Kindle to look up books while i'm in-store and download the sample and read them later. Lately, I walk out of a store with about 3-5 new sample books and most often, no physical books purchased (which I only now buy if it's not available on the Kindle or is cheaper physically).
What's got me sold on the Kindle is the amount of books I can carry at once. Being a nursing student, I got to use it to my full advantage. I have a bunch of reference books purchased (which reduced my load by 10 lbs!!). It was also a plus that I could browse basic web.
I also like to think I'm doing my part to "save the environment" by not buying dead tree editions. Authors and publishers get their share anyways.
The only downside for me is the fact that I can't sell/donate/trade ebooks. So, I'm out the entire price. On the other hand, I'm usually out the ebook price anyways.

Redigeret: aug 1, 2010, 10:06am

I'm a retired librarian, though not particularly a book collector except for those I particularly love or which have reference purposes. The Kindle is a superb way to

*read books you wouldn't keep after you read the hard copy
*read very long or heavy books (I just finished the Landmark Herodotus - 900+ pages, although in this case I bought both the ebook and physical book for ease of reading and ease of looking at maps, respectively).
*try samples. This has saved me lots of $$$ and also expanded my reading tastes
*always have a (huge!) selection on hand
*have a built-in dictionary available (and how I miss that when I'm reading a physical book now)
*carry all those classics, samples and other books (and a dictionary!) around in a device the size of a paperback
*instant download of samples or books wherever or whenever you might be, even in bed at midnight or sitting in a parking lot waiting for someone

And don't forget: there's a 30-day return period if you decide it's not for you. (I bet you won't return it, though .)

Also, I agree on the 3G. I almost bought the wifi, but decided for $50 I didn't want to be limited.

Redigeret: aug 1, 2010, 11:02am

Agree with CurrerBell on Shakespeare. You might want to "invest" the $2.39 and purchase the MobileReference version:

In fact, I was thinking of doing that myself once I received the K3.


aug 1, 2010, 11:48am

So does that mean the MobileReference editions are well-formatted, as opposed to downloading free copies of, for example, Shakespeare?

This (which I have on my LT profile page) explains something of why it is hard to consider having the ebook and ot the hard copy:

"'My books stand as guarantors of an extended life -- a life that is far more interesting and meaningful than the one I am forced to lead daily.' -- roughly recalled from memory of Saul Bellow's Dangling Man"

Which means in part that I like to gaze at the shelves, soaking in the feeling of all that waits patiently there. I don't know whether the Kindle provides that feeling. Maybe it does. I'll find out, as i think I am going to get one.

I don't have a space problem -- I have 4000 books on shelves, and room for expansion as needed.

Question: If I get the NY Times on my Kindle, I assume that is the same as the online edition I can access for free now? Do you pay for it on the Kindle? One thing that would be great would be to eliminate all that paper that now flows in and out of the house from newspaper deliveries!

aug 1, 2010, 11:54am

The NYT is $20/month on K. Way too much for me. As to exactly what content is available, I'm not sure, but once you have your K you can subscribe for 2 weeks for free to try it.

Redigeret: aug 1, 2010, 12:53pm

>10 stellarexplorer: I don't know if MobileReference is the best, but they do have a reputation for careful formatting of their books. You can, of course, get individual works of Shakespeare for free, but the whole shebang would be a challenge. I would guess that Feedbooks and MobileRead (they are free sites for out-of-copyright books - I have a lot of books from them) have some individual works of Shakespeare that have been carefully formatted, unlike Gutenberg, which tends to be less carefully proofread. The issue with "old" literature is that alot of it has been digitized through scanning and the optical character recognition software is not very accurate. I imagine it would take a real scholar to proofread all of Shakespeare!

Another free site is I get books there when feedbooks and mobileread don't have them.

At least with MobiRef, you can download a free sample before buying to see if you like the formatting. And Amazon has an ebook return policy - 7 days, I think?


aug 4, 2010, 3:43pm

If you feel that you have to own the DTB version, and you never travel, and you have plenty of space for more DTBs, then I don't see how an ereader would be of any use to you.

I'm the opposite, I'm not into the whole 'sensual thing' with books, I just read 'em. I have no space for DTBs in the house, but I've got over 700 ebooks on my Kindle. I don't travel long distances, but I spend a lot of time waiting around in doctor's offices. It's nice to have my whole library with me instead of having to read five year old editions of US magazine that have been handled by thousands of sick people!

aug 4, 2010, 6:05pm

>13 garrybuck: Yes, I've been think about that. I do like the DTBs, I don't travel much, etc. But perhaps there is room to consider that I don't need to own every book I read. Maybe just nonfiction books and hardcovers of novels that are important to me. Maybe the run-of-the-mill paperback could go on a Kindle...

aug 4, 2010, 8:18pm

>14 stellarexplorer:, I understand the love of looking at your books on a bookshelf. That is why I haven't been able to get rid of any of mine yet. On the other hand, I seem to be satisfied with looking at the titles of my kindle books without owning hard copies. Of course, they are listed on LT so I can see everything I have read in one place. Just try for a month and see how you feel. You might not need to own hard copies if you have access to the wonderful words where ever you go.


aug 5, 2010, 1:20am

Thank you -- will report back. Perhaps after my birthday? :)

aug 10, 2010, 1:08pm

I just thought of a reason to own a Kindle even it you have a lot of DTBs. The ability quickly search the collection for a particular word.

On my K1, I remove books I've finished in order to keep from cluttering up the Home Page. With the K3, I will be able to create groups, which means I can segregate things I've finished reading. I'm really looking forward to having that capability. It's the only reason I'm upgrading from the K1 to the K3.

aug 10, 2010, 9:30pm

>17 garrybuck: So you can quickly search all your ebooks for a particular word or phrase?

aug 11, 2010, 11:26am

>18 stellarexplorer: I wouldn't say use the word "quickly" because if you try searching an entire collection and you've got a few hundred books on your Kindle, the search is going to be painfully slow. It's quicker if you do a word-or-phrase search on a single book, but even there, don't expect a result in five to ten seconds because it may take as long as thirty seconds to a minute.

At least it seems that long when you're sitting there with your Kindle idle, because Kindle doesn't multi-task so you won't be able to continue reading while the search is going on.

The Kindle has a processor designed to energy efficiency to prolong battery life between charges, so it's not designed for the high-speed processing that's required for searching humongous amounts of text.

One thing I don't like about Kindle is the apparent inability to abort a search that's taking too long, where it's gotten to the point that your Kindle seems to have frozen. In that case, I've had to do a forced restart, which is also quite time-consuming and a real pain in the neck. What's really annoying about this is that it's possible (because of the interface design, which is too complicated to explain except through show-and-tell, so just take my word on this) to accidentally start a search of the Kindle hard-drive when you really wanted to do a Google or Wikipedia search, and if that happens, you may have to do a forced re-start to terminate the search.

You CAN abort loading a page into the Kindle web browser if it's taking too long, so it would be nice if Amazon could set up a similar feature for aborting the search function.

aug 11, 2010, 3:44pm

'Quickly' is a relative term. The original thread was about getting a Kindle versus staying with DTBs. Sure, the Kindle is a little pokey searching through hundreds of books, but I think it's still 'quicker' and more accurate than ME manually searching through hundreds of DTBs.

What I wish Amazon would do is update the Kindle for PC application to do indexed searches. On a fast PC, that would be virtually instantaneous.

aug 11, 2010, 9:52pm

I haven't done a big search in awhile. I just now did a 'quick' test on my K1. I have 730 books on it and it searched through them all in just under 2 minutes. I'm quite pleased with that.

Quicker would be better of course, but I can live with this. I'm hoping the K3 will be even better.

aug 27, 2010, 12:32am

A new reason to own a Kindle: I'd canceled an Amazon pre-order because was on vacation this week. A new book came out, much in demand, and I wanted to read it immediately. I couldn't get it from the local small bookstore. The owner told me that a Borders or BN that orders 100 copies gets priority. I drove 50 miles while on vacation to get the book from Borders. If I'd had a Kindle, I'd have been reading it instead of driving. This is the last time I'm in that position. As an aside, I tried to order a Kindle figuring the charge for overnight delivery, or even two-day, would be preferable to the 100 mile round trip drive. Back ordered. Expected mid-September. My friend here on LT read it already on her Kindle. She told me, emphasizing that she was not gloating. And told me! Of course she wasn't gloating! Sometimes it pays too be an early adopter.

aug 27, 2010, 2:55am

22>> That wouldn't be Mockingjay by any chance, would it? ;->

(I bought mine in treeware at my local B&N, promotional 20% off plus 10% off on my B&N card, so I wouldn't have had much of a Kindle savings anyway, and Mockingjay's one I want to keep since I have the other two in hardcover.)

Redigeret: aug 27, 2010, 10:31am

hahaaha it must be Mockingjay, I can't imagine it wouldn't be.. what else came out this weekend that everyone wants?

Stellar, I totally understand. Usually when I pre-order books on amazon they get to me ON the day of release.. they are usually really good about that. This year it hadn't even shipped on the 23rd, and I was staring at my phone going "WHY? WHY?" .. but then I got lucky and found it on sale a day early (a fluke, but a happy one) at a book kiosk in an airport that could care less about official release dates. So then I read it before everyone I know and they were all jealous lol My amazon pre-order came yesterday, too little too late! I rejected delivery.

I have a kindle! I definitely recommend them for the instant gratification abilities. So many times I have been up at 1am just finished a book and want the next one in the series immediately. The Kindle is great for that.

aug 27, 2010, 12:03pm

:) Yes, I didn't want to distract from the pain by introducing the Mockingjay issue -- I might well have posted this in the "What's wrong with the book industry" Group --

>22 stellarexplorer: Makes sense, but I just wanted it in any form; I wasn't looking for e-savings this time...

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