Monday, 12 October 2009

Kindle

Kindle is coming to Europe.

The e-book market here has been daunting, with no good readers (afaik) available and high prices. The invasion by amazon might change that (one can hope that some competition wakes people up) - but just being able to use the Kindle over here is veerrrry interesting for a book-maniac like me.

So of course I pounced happily to look into it....

At first I was all "I want!!" at the good things.
That you can use it internationally - Amazon seems to have made deals with 3g, wifi and edge operators so downloading kindle content from them does not cost you any network fees. The coverage for europe seems good looking at their map.
Availability of books - for me hunting the books I want to read takes unecessarily much energy and sometimes travel time. This is pretty much instant, or so it says.

Then I started looking a bit more closely.
It is only the small Kindle that is available for international use. Means alot of clicking, several times a minute, to get to the next page: I read about 120 pages/hour in a regular massmarket paperback (of course affected by the amount of text on each page, some use larger some use smaller fonts) - there seems to be less than half the amount of text on each "page" with that format. Kindle thumb developing? The small version is about the dimensions of a regular paperback, but alot of surface goes to other things than the screen.
You need an adapter for charging it (unless you charge it via the computer).
The books are more expensive for Kindle than for buying a paperback from amazon. They are also more expensive internationally than in the US - USD4 per book seems to be the rule of thumb. That is a steep rise.
There are also fewer books available internationally: For sweden its about 60k fewer titles than in the US (350k). If that ratio is going to be stable it will always be a limited selection.
I did a search for the 10 first authors I could think of that I would want to buy another book from right now, and only five of them were available for Kindle. The authors, I didn't check if the actual book I wanted was available. This was US content, not for .se.
1 year warranty, you have to pay for 2 years. Here 2 years is the law. I would appreciate if they would sell it via Swedish vendors for that reason (but I guess they will not, seeing as it is amazon exclusive).

And I knew all along that it is "locked"; kindle content stays kindle content but I am ok about that as long as the reader continues working. What if you have bought 1500 books and the reader is no longer working, or they stop manufacturing it? Will you be able to read the books you actually bought in other ways? Battery - it is a common problem that after a few years battery life becomes extremely low from charge to charge. Can you get a new one?

There is also the 1984 case; where amazon pulled it from the market and yes that means it was deleted off people's Kindles. Their money was refunded.

Conclusion? I was hyped for a bit. But I wouldn't want to spend money on it today, not with the low selection. But yes, if some of the issues above is clarified and the selection grows, I might definitely want one. Or a similar gadget. I love my books but they do take alot of space, and carrying them with me wherever I go (I read on my commute, on my lunchbreak, on trips, etc..) wears both on my shoulder that has to carry them and the books that get to go through all sorts of weather and being stuffed into bags, and this would be a good solution to alot of my issues.

2 comments:

  1. Also looked into it, and it's just too expensive right now. Also, if I'm going to pay for a book, I want to be able to keep it even if the reader dies. If they include some kind of way to transfer the file off the Kindle, then I'd consider it. Also, I love turning the paper pages. There's a comfort feel to it. I've read books off my computer/laptop by necessity. It's not fun. I'll stick with my paper books. :)

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  2. I don't think the reader is expensive in itself, but the books would have to be cheaper. Right now its cheaper and feels more permanent to buy a paperback.

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Be nice!