Thursday, May 22, 2008


For the past 2 weeks I've been the lucky test subject for an Amazon Kindle (That's me in the photo on a sun-drenched Bellingham beach)

I chose to download and read David Gilmour's memoir The Film Club. It's a wonderful book about time the author spent with his wayward teenage son watching and discussing movies. Aside from great movie trivia, and great ideas of what to watch - Gilmour was a Canadian film critic for years - it's an an extremely moving story.

Here's my report on the Kindle:

  • The Kindle is cool, lightweight, compact (10.3 ounces, 7.5 x 5 inches)
  • Electronic paper/ink gives incredible contrast - no eye strain
  • Wireless - it downloaded The Film Club in less than a minute
  • Fully searchable
  • Incredible battery life - only needed to charge it once
  • Over 120,000 book choices that Amazon has digitized, along with blogs, newspapers, etc.
  • 3 gig storage holds up to 200 books
  • Book prices are only around $9-$10
  • Displays graphics
  • Can use it on the treadmill easily - no need to hold it and turn pages
  • Adjustable font size for tired old eyes
  • Has a dictionary and rudimentary web look-up features
  • There are already a number of support blogs, etc. online

  • Cost - pricey at $400
  • Can't "borrow" books - have to buy novels, etc., which I usually don't buy
  • Navigation can be a bit tricky (menu-driven, but wording can be confusing - no obvious Help choice)
  • Navigation buttons (previous page, next page) are too large and poorly placed - I hit these inadvertently many times which took me from the page I was reading

  • Can it display color?
  • Can one download from sites like Project Gutenberg?

Overall Recommendation

This is by far the best e-book reader I've seen (I've tested some of the early readers), and the best marketed. I would certainly buy one given a few major changes: lower the price; fix the navigation buttons; and allow library check out of books so everything doesn't need to be purchased. But then again, I might buy one anyway. It's pretty cool.

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