Kindle 3

October 02, 2010

I decided that I wanted an e-book reader several months ago but wasn’t fully convinced about any of the available options. Until now. I’ve just bought a Kindle 3 and I really like it! It fixes most of the issues I had with previous Kindle versions (price, size, screen, connectivity, etc) and it’s by far the best e-book reader around. It’s light, small, beautiful, and it has a very good e-ink screen. It’s exactly how Robert Love described it: “the small improvements add up to a significant improvement in usability”. Some more reasons I like Kindle 3 and e-book readers in general:

The screen

I don’t like to read books and long texts on computer screens. It’s just a tiring experience for my eyes. So, I like the obvious fact that e-ink screens look very similar to the usual ink on paper. Kindle 3 has an especially good contrast.

Ergonomics and focus

A couple things really annoy me about the usual printed books. The first one is ergonomics. With the usual books, you end up having to hold them with both hands to keep them open and in a good position for reading. The second is that you always see two pages at the same time. It’s a bit distracting. Kindle 3 is small and light enough to allow you to hold it however you feel more comfortable — including holding it with only one hand. And you only see one page at a time allowing a more focused reading experience.

Fonts and spacings

It’s very frustrating when you buy a book you’re eager to read but the actual reading experience turns out to be quite bad because the publisher chose a too small font and too tight line spacing. That’s especially frustrating if you usually read books while in a bus or tube. With Kindle — and with most e-book readers I guess — you can set the font size, word and line spacings that best fit your personal preferences. I read slightly faster on the Kindle because of that.

Online experience

I buy the great majority of my books (and MP3s) from UK’s Amazon. Hence, having a device that is tightly integrated with my favourite online book store makes the experience of buying books much nicer. It sucks that Kindle is Amazon-specific with an awful DRM but this doesn’t affect me much in practice. I hope Amazon ends up doing the right thing and offer DRM-free books in the future — just like they did with their MP3 store. Charles Stross wrote some interesting notes on why the commercial e-book market is broken.

I know: those are all old news for Kindle and e-book reader owners. But it was good to have such a good feeling about my first e-book reader. It does only one thing and it does it very well.

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