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Old 03-01-2012, 09:18 PM   #1
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Default Should I buy a Kindle?

Background: I've been using the Kindle service on my android phone for about a year. I've actually only purchased one book on it- Steven Levy's "Hackers." I already own this book in hard-copy and have read it half a dozen times, but I was at an airport facing a seemingly endless delay, was bored, and had already exhausted my printed reading material. I've downloaded and read a bunch of previews (usually the first chapter or two of a book) as well. In fact, I just now ordered my second Kindle book, "Masters of Doom." (The story of John Carmack and John Romero.)

Given that I always have my phone on me, I find that having access to everything all the time is convenient. And, surprisingly, the form-factor of reading on a tiny Android screen isn't all that bad. On the downside, the battery life on my phone isn't all that great to begin with, and I find that if I spend an hour using Kindle on it, it really tends to suck the battery down.

Having a physical Kindle reader would provide a marginally better screen, and alleviate the battery issue altogether.

On the other hand, it's yet another gadget that I have to remember to drag around with me everywhere I go, and using one in public would make me one of "those people." Frankly, I have about the same opinion of people who I see using Kindii on airplanes, trains, etc as I do of hipsters wearing ironic T-shirts with pictures of cassette tapes on them.

On the gripping hand, not every title is available on the Kindle platform, and that annoys me. I tend to buy a lot of books secondhand, and pretty much every title imaginable is available on that platform, and also cheaper.

Make my decision for me. Justify your argument, being concise and specific. Estimate the differences in subsequent human cultures if the Kindle had been developed 500 million years earlier, with special attention to its probable effect on the English parliamentary system.
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I tend to buy a lot of books secondhand, and pretty much every title imaginable is available on that platform, and also cheaper.
Do you smell the used books? Just curious.


You travel enough to warrant one. (never had one)
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:37 PM   #3
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One kindle is less mass and less to deal with than even a single book Joe.

If I travelled as frequently as you do, I'd buy one hands down. Just IMO.
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:57 PM   #4
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There are books available on the Kindle that were never printed - thus, never available in a used bookstore. Boom.

There are a number of titles available for less than one 2012 US dollar. Goes the.

You think reading a Kindle is hispter but shopping at a "secondhand" bookstore is not? Dynamite.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:27 PM   #5
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Short answer: yes. Absolutely.

Longer answer: spring for the 3G model, and without ads. Yes, it's worth it.

The 3G is nice for when you're stuck somewhere and you really don't know what you want. Then you can surf the kindle store, and read previews and sometimes even full chapters of books. That alone can make the time fly by. If you find something you like, it's a click to DL the whole book in seconds.

The screen is so much nicer to read for long stretches than a regular screen. No eyestrain, no squinting at tiny text. It's about the same size as a book, so you soon forget all the mechanics of it and just read. My one gripe is the button layout is not customizable, and I often hit the wrong one to turn back a page, intead going forward a page. Once I have read a few pages, it's forgotten.

I bought one, and liked it so much that I told my wife, who often borrowed it. So I bought another one.

One last thing: get a cover. They're cheap insurance against scratches and screen damage when carrying it. They even have ones with a built in LED light, just for the geek in you.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:31 PM   #6
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I have one and love it. Bought the no ads Wifi only one and have been extremely happy with it.

For me, if you take 5 minutes to plan ahead for a trip, there's no reason why you would need the 3G version to get books on the go. They've definitely dropped in price since I bought mine and I would definitely recommend it. Something about E-Ink in general is much more pleasing to read than an LCD.

Oh, and if you use *cough* Demonoid *cough*, there are all the books you could ever want on there (including brand new ones).
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:36 PM   #7
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I can't speak for the kindle directly (nook owner here, bring on the lynch mob), but I really enjoy mine. The ability to take several good books with me on vacation without the hassle of packing them is just such a huge plus. My only regret is not getting the the touch screen model. In this age of mobile devices, the instinctive move of swiping my finger across the page to turn it took a while to break (I still do it sometimes).
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 94mx5red View Post
Do you smell the used books?
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
There are books available on the Kindle that were never printed - thus, never available in a used bookstore.
Could be. I don't believe I've ever come across one. In another generation this may become commonplace (as is becoming the case with music today), however a lot of the stuff that actually interests me has been in print for 10-20 years.


Quote:
There are a number of titles available for less than one 2012 US dollar.
There's a lot of Scotch available for less than $20 a bottle, too. Not that I'd want it.


Quote:
You think reading a Kindle is hispter but shopping at a "secondhand" bookstore is not?
Well, a lot of stuff I get off eBay / Half.com.

And since I've been shopping at secondhand bookstores since before hipsters existed. So by their own definition I was "doing it before it was cool to be doing it before it was cool," and thus, not a hipster.




Quote:
Originally Posted by rleete View Post
The screen is so much nicer to read for long stretches than a regular screen. No eyestrain, no squinting at tiny text. It's about the same size as a book, so you soon forget all the mechanics of it and just read.
I've seen them, and I am impressed by the display. But honestly, I don't find reading books on the phone to be problematic. I have the screen set dimly and reversed (grey text on black background) and I can easily read the whole E-train ride from Jamaica to 50th street (about 45 minutes) with no problems aside from drawing down on the battery.


Quote:
Originally Posted by karter74 View Post
Bought the no ads Wifi only one and have been extremely happy with it.
!?!

I just did a little research and, sure as hell- I have to pay an extra $40 to get a version that doesn't stream ads at me?


Quote:
Oh, and if you use *cough* Demonoid *cough*, there are all the books you could ever want on there (including brand new ones).
Interesting.

If a person were to have just now gone to Demonoid and downloaded torrented versions of the two eBooks that I mentioned in post 1, that person would find that they are in .PDF format. How well does that work as compared to the Kindle's native format? I know that native Kindle files are "pageless", in that they are just a stream of text dynamically formatted to fit the screen as needed, whereas PDFs are sort of locked down, formatting-wise.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_Ciesielski View Post
My only regret is not getting the the touch screen model. In this age of mobile devices, the instinctive move of swiping my finger across the page to turn it took a while to break (I still do it sometimes).
Apart from page-turning (I have no issues using buttons for this), does the touch screen have any real practical advantages?

On my Android phone, I typically find myself page-changing with the "trackball" rather than swiping the screen. It seems more natural.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rleete View Post
Short answer: yes. Absolutely.

Longer answer: spring for the 3G model, and without ads. Yes, it's worth it.
only someone who has never seen the "special offers" kindle would say that.

I've bought some of the kindle offers actually.. they're like groupon or livingsocial or google offers, but only show up on your "off" screen and at the bottom of the "home" page. Never EVER do they appear in any book.

But whatever, you're considering a Porsche and can afford another $30.

I read way more on the kindle than I ever did before. Go ahead, carry fifty farking giant books around in your schleppensack. Or one kindle with a month or two of battery life.

It is IDEAL for travel. lasts forever. not fatiguing. there's actually some fairly decent FREE books (Anomaly) and lots of free classics.

Just buy it. You can always sell it.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:07 PM   #10
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joe if you're smart, you'll get a previous generation "kindle keyboard" (before it had that name) and have free international 3G and a web browser that [sucks and] you can use for free internationally.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:19 PM   #11
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So y8s just g-ed me, asking "is a Kindle really expensive enough to justify a thread about one?"


No, and I guess I didn't really get to the core of the matter.


I'm struggling with whether getting an e-reader, and thus committing myself to a paperless future, is a wise decision. 30 years from now, will I regret having a "library" that exists only as data in a DRM-protected cloud? There's something gratifying about holding a physical book in your hands, or stopping by Strand Books while in Manhattan and browsing the shelves for hours to discover a few new titles you would have never found otherwise.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:23 PM   #12
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Also, in looking around eBay, I've seen "unlocked" Kindles advertised. What is "locked" about a Kindle in the first place? Or is this just BS?
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:00 AM   #13
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Those might be the kindle Fires? GF just got one and she also has one of the original "paper" screens. She says on lowest brightness setting it's just as fine as the "paper" screen, plus you can see it in the dark. Anyways, I don't think you're even considering the Fire?

She loves her kindle, although still reads paper backs occasionally. Either they're not available on Kindle, or $7.99 vs. $5.99 for a paper back. Rode all three Hunger Games on my iphone with the kindle app, definitely wanted a bigger screen with less harshness on my eyes.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:11 AM   #14
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A Kindle (either the B&W e-ink "keyboard", or the Fire), are lighter and smaller than one paperback, and can carry hundreds (or maybe thousands).

If like me you read a lot on trips, it's well worth it. I have a "keyboard" which I bought when it got down to $150, and I've used it many, many times. I have the (cheaper) Wifi only version (no 3G) and I just either plan ahead and download before a trip, or do it in an internet cafe or airport with wifi.

Lots of software de-crypt Kindle ebooks.
I've done it on a small handful of titles that I want to keep. On the fiction I enjoy I once, I don't bother.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:42 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Having a physical Kindle reader would provide a marginally better screen, and alleviate the battery issue altogether.
I don't think you're giving the Kindle e-ink screen any credit whatsoever there Joe.

It's 11ty billion times better than an OLED screen for reading text.

If you enjoy reading you'll find it much more enjoyable on a Kindle, though I do appreciate that it's an extra device to lug about.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:07 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I'm struggling with whether getting an e-reader, and thus committing myself to a paperless future, is a wise decision. 30 years from now, will I regret having a "library" that exists only as data in a DRM-protected cloud? There's something gratifying about holding a physical book in your hands, or stopping by Strand Books while in Manhattan and browsing the shelves for hours to discover a few new titles you would have never found otherwise.
Wait, so owning a Kindle stops you from buying real books as well
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:43 AM   #17
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Don't buy a Kindle.

Buy a portable charging device that works on your kinetic motion and charges your phone while you walk.
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:07 AM   #18
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I say no, and I have reasons!

1. Buy a Nook instead. The Nook readers allow you to do much more then the Kindle does. Aka not forced to get your books from amazon. The Nook will read any .epub file that you put on the SD card. The Kindle doesnt even have a SD slot. Plus the Nook lets you customize backgrounds and stuff like that.

2. Use a better reader app on your phone. This is what I do. I use an app called Cool Reader, it was one of the few that would read .epub files off my sd card. I dont pay to read a book the first time anymore. If its something I really enjoy then Ill add it to my bookshelf. The app gives you completely control over font size, screen brightness, font and background colors, fonts, formatting, and a ton of other stuff that I dont know what it does or have any reason to change. This app doesnt affect my battery much at all, and I read a lot though out the day.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:42 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
If a person were to have just now gone to Demonoid and downloaded torrented versions of the two eBooks that I mentioned in post 1, that person would find that they are in .PDF format. How well does that work as compared to the Kindle's native format? I know that native Kindle files are "pageless", in that they are just a stream of text dynamically formatted to fit the screen as needed, whereas PDFs are sort of locked down, formatting-wise.
There are ebook format converters (Here is a good one), also you can find torrents of ebooks already in kindle format.
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:09 AM   #20
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only someone who has never seen the "special offers" kindle would say that.
I have one of the early models, and it has features which they since have removed, because they suck so bad. Like a slight delay when turning off, so it goes into standby for a just a sec to show one more ad before it turns off. Like waking from standby to try to show a different ad, which kills the battery over time.


For 20 bucks, get the one without ads.
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