I finally splurged and bought a Kindle Paperwhite–and immediately thereafter Amazon went ahead and announced a new improved model at the same price. Oh, well.
My lovely wife got an early-model Kindle a few years ago, and neither of us used it much–the interface was clunky, and the resolution wasn’t very good. I then used the Kindle app on my iPad 2, which was much better, but the iPad’s weight and form factor weren’t ideal for casual reading. The Paperwhite is much better.
Thoughts on the Paperwhite so far:
- The weight and form factor are fine. You can hold the thing in one hand while holding your beer in your other hand.
- It’s easier to use in sunlight than the iPad.
- The resolution in my model is good enough for me, although I’m always happier to get better resolution. The ability to change font size and screen brightness is a big plus (as it is on the iPad app).
- The built-in dictionary and Wikipedia are probably the biggest advantages for me over reading printed books. I’m currently reading a novel set in the ninth century called Pope Joan, and the author doesn’t spare the medieval vocabulary. (She does a good job with the olde-time dialog, although her characters aren’t particularly interesting so far) At my age I should know what a posset is, but OK, I don’t. It’s so easy to highlight the word and have the Kindle tell me what it means.
- I sure wish it had color, if just for the book covers.
- A battery charge lasts, like, forever.
And, of course, there’s the content. I was listening to Being Mortal, a wonderful book about old age and dying. The author mentioned Tolstoy’s novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich, which I haven’t read in decades. So I went to the Kindle store and found it for $1.99–in a book with everything else Tolstoy ever wrote. So now I have War and Peace and Anna Karenina on my Kindle, just in case. If I get tired of Tolstoy, I can always dip into the complete stories of H. P. Lovecraft, which I also picked up for $1.99. (I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Tolstoy is a better writer.) Or the complete stories of Chekhov. Or an old P. G. Wodehouse novel. Or the Federalist Papers, which I never got around to reading when I was in school.
So far I haven’t spent more than $1.99 on anything I’ve bought for the Paperwhite, and I probably have enough on it to last me the rest of the year. The older content has its share of typos and faulty layout, but the price is right.
Have I mentioned lately that my novels are all available for the Kindle Paperwhite at astonishingly low prices? No typos, no faulty layout.