It’s pretty good.

The worst part: On day one the screen froze and it wouldn’t even turn off.  Natasha had to read the instructions and press on a battery point with a pin to reboot it.  What if that happened to me on an airplane?  Must I now always carry around a small, sharp pin?

The best part: For fiction — that is fiction I’m actually going to read — I would rather use this screen than a traditional book.  It is somehow easier to have a more focused appreciation of the words without being distracted by the book as a whole.

The actual worst part: For non-fiction it is not fast enough for real scrolling, flipping through, browsing and reading.  The machine is best for linear, sequential consumption of the text.

I’m not sure if this entry should go under the "Books" or the "Web/Tech" category.


TypePad allows you to give posts multiple categories for just these kind of situations!

There's something about having an actual book or newspaper in your hand.....I suppose it gives one a better sense of perspective.

iz nawt uuser tuchable, dylan.

and, given tyler's professed reading speed, I take it that "the actual worst part" will not affect mere mortals.

What if that happened to me on an airplane? Must I now always carry around a small, sharp pin?

What do you think the odds are that the TSA (our government at work) would act to keep you from doing just that? Not to mention all those who believe economists and sharp objects should be kept far apart from one another....

You might try a paperclip instead of a sharp pin, if it's thin enough.

For me, physical books have a signal advantage: no digital rights management. Suppose Amazon doesn't make enough of a profit on the Kindle and decides to stop selling it. Or suppose the Kindle becomes obsolete and a new, incompatible platform comes to dominate the market. Then your Kindle breaks. Might you not be stuck with a lot of books you've paid for but cannot read?

T: If that performance is "pretty good" I'd hate to see what "bad" performance might be!

how is the wireless access? How is the web on the Kindle compared to the iPhone?

I had my Kindle completely freeze up yesterday, for the first time in the five months I've had it. I was at lunch and nothing I had with me would press the reset button, so I pulled the battery -- which is possible without any tools, paperclips, pins, or anything else.

The failure mode is strange. If you pull the battery from your laptop or phone, it immediately and obviously turns off. Because the Kindle's screen will keep displaying whatever it's displaying until power is applied to change it, turning the Kindle off while it's crashed, or pulling the battery, does not result in any obvious visual difference. The screen keeps displaying whatever was on it when it crashed until the software reboots and clears the screen.

The very best thing about the Kindle *is* the fact that it's easier to handle than a real book. I didn't consider this before buying the thing, but it's now one of my favorite features. It sits there on the table with no need for a bookweight or anything, and you can turn the page with a single stab of a finger. It's great for reading while eating.

I've heard that the Kindle lacks support for footnotes and the like. Many of the books I read (even the non-fiction) include footnotes. Have you had any experience with this yet?

I sincerely hope you don't encounter the real worst part: the darn thing breaks easily. One drop on hard concrete and my 400$ toy was dead. Paper books just don't do that.

Also the next/previous page buttons on the sides are very easy to click accidentally.

On the positive side, DRM has already been hacked:

In the process hackers have discovered a hidden easter egg - pressing Alt+Shit+M on the home page which pops up a version of Minesweeper game.

Does the "kindle" come with a free copy of Fahrenheit 451?

"The actual worst part: For non-fiction it is not fast enough for real scrolling, flipping through, browsing and reading. The machine is best for linear, sequential consumption of the text."

Can't you search through purchased material with the Kindle? Also, aren't the book indexes (indices?) linked? think these could give it a nice edge over traditional non-fiction books. I could see using a kindle for purchased technical books to quickly pull up sections on a topic I'm working on...

as far as non-fiction goes, the kindle is great for reading/browsing the 100+ per month ssrn & jstor pdf(s) that i go through . . . . . . much easier than printing 'em out & flipping pages on a subway or in a taxi; just emaill the pdf to your kindle the kindle's indexing & annotation abilities come in handy here too

Just email a PDF to the kindle . . . sometimes the graphics get a little screwed up, and equations tend to run down the page instead of across [actually, what happens is that the first time you hit a lower case greek symbol, the font size goes blewy and the equation runs down the page, but the normal ''paragraphed'' text recovers at the end of the equation]

but the Doctrow PDFs look great

Put it under "Web/Tech". "Books" would refer to specific books or their content?

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