I am starting to use my Kindle more and more. Hence it was time to finally write about it. To start with, I have to say that I really like it, just so you have a frame of reference for the rest of this article. I will try to go into some of the bad things as well as things that I would categorize as weird, as well as the good sides, finishing of with some basic ideas of where this will go in the future.
So let’s start with the bad and the weird side. This really only comes up when you use the thing for some time. First of all, you need to teach yourself that this is a book. Sadly I am a geek and this is technology. So I carry it around with me at all times. Obviously I forgot it in the office over the weekend. That would never have happened with a book because you would not carry it around with you to all places. As the Kindle has all your books you are then missing all your books. So handle it like a book and keep it at the night stand
This brings me to the second point. We all want some kind of haptic feedback with buttons, a kind of clicking sound when we press them. But for this device it might be something you don’t want. In bed with my wife, not reading something but more scanning it, can get … click … really … click … annoying … click … for my … click … wife. click. In the long run this is not a problem but for now people are not used to books clicking.
But that is mostly it with the bad sides for me. I really like the device. The most important thing, the reading quality, is really good and on par with paper. Standby/Reading time is great. The wireless works like a charm and buying books was great. Working well is also the Amazon conversion question, though I mostly used the free system where the converted files end up in your mailbox to be moved to the Kindle via USB.
I am actually moving a lot of my “Read Later” items to the Kindle and used it on a recent flight to Zurich as my way to read up on all the articles I still wanted to read. I actually built myself a small Automator Script that takes the current clipboard, creates a text file, attaches it to an email and sends that to my free Kindle e-mail for conversion.
The other great item is the sample chapter bit for books. It brings browsing back to the digital world and I am actually getting some ideas for new interfaces to Amazon that enable that on your browser. This free first chapter and general book wireless transfer to the Kindle is actually something I would want to have for any content I have to admit. Having to move text to the Kindle per USB is a pain and again makes you take the Kindle with you, which again brings you back to the problem I talked about earlier: forgetting the Kindle somewhere. I am currently not doing this wirelessly as it costs too much money for the international version, $0.99 per transfer and MB to be exact. That really needs to change.
I really think that this is the first step to a lot of things changing in the future and some things I see as a requirement for future eReaders and improvements to the Kindle, some of which I am sure will be coming.
Wireless is a must
The will need to have full wireless for all things and somebody needs to find a solution for sending stuff into the system for free or a good fee (e.g. 5 EURs a month for 100MB and unlimited amount of transfers per month). Only through this will it be something that you leave around everywhere and are sure that it is always synced. This could theoretically also be simple Wifi but …
Great treat from Amazon. I will get my books and magazines and articles wherever. On holiday. Before a flight, after a flight. You will want to get them at any time and this is why it needs to be real wireless not only Wifi. Wifi is just not available everywhere and still not easy enough to log in to.
A New Browsing System
The sample chapter bit enables digital browsing. I want an interface that allows me to scan racks of book covers, giving me a sample chapter with one click on the cover. This re-enables browsing in the digital world. Somebody build that please, thank you.
Syncing of clippings back into Amazon
I really like the clipping system and I would love it to sync back into Amazon or somewhere where I can easily get a hold of my clippings. These are a) too valuable to get lost and b) I would often like to add quotes to a Tumbler Blog or somewhere else.
Better Organization Capabilities
I need an option to make folders and things, to be better able to order lots and lots of different articles and things. The defaults are just too chaotic.
I would like to send stuff I read, possibly with clippings attached and everything to things like Evernote. I just don’t want to loose these things. I think this is the same for other people. Due to the natur of this things you will want to have further interactions around the book. Looking at comments and clippings from my friends would obviously be nice. Imagine a corporate clipping service running on this.
All in all there is still a long way in front of us for the perfect device. The Kindle is better than good enough for my taste though. It provides the basics that are needed to get me to change my habits and adapt a new way to read written words. This is what this device does very well and having taken a look at others, and looked at the entire package they offer, the Kindle is the only one that really delivers the goods.
So yes, I would buy it again.