For three weeks now I'm the happy owner of a Kindle and it is just awesome. It's not perfect ... but it is awesome. Let me elaborate a little.

Why it isn't perfect:

  • It's bound to Amazon. Everything in the kindle is geared to buy from Amazon and to be bound to Amazon the content is encumbered with Amazons DRM. This isn't much of a problem right now, but I don't like that situation a bit.
  • It's not an iPad. Don't get me wrong, I'm not much interested in an iPad. If I would win won, I would be happy to sell it and to buy books for the money, but It would be cool if the kindle would have the fast color display, touchscreen and a sensor to tell it its orientation in space.

But the kindle is awesome because it is the perfect gadget for the purpose for which I bought it: Reading.

  • The kindle is small and light. You can hold it for a long time in one hand, e.g. while walking. Try that with an iPad.
  • It has a display that is so paper like that I actually thought it would be a piece of paper I had to pull of before using the kindle when I unwrapped it. You can read in in bright sunlight at an angle at which a normal computer screen would act like a mirror
  • You can put it to the side for 5 seconds or 5 days without worrying about the page you where reading. Great if you want to read near kids who ask a question approximately every 12.57 seconds.
  • Kindle books are cheap. This might confuse you because a lot of people complain that Kindle books are only a little cheaper than hard covers and more expensive than paper back editions. But if you buy English books at you pay the american price for the kindle book which is in many cases way cheaper than the German book price.

One complain you often here is that the handling of PDFs and other document formats is bad. Well it depends on what you expect. PDF is a page oriented format without any semantic information. For example a footnote is just a piece of text inside PDF an in no way tied to the place where the footnote is referenced. If you convert such a format to the kindle format you get some not so nice effects, but it was absolutely usable in about half a dozen cases where I tried it. If the layout is to complex, possibly with tables and graphics you can read PDF directly without converting it, which works ok, when holding the Kindle sideways. It will enlarge the PDF so the width fills the screen. And 'turning the page' will actually scroll down the page in about two steps before actually proceeding to the next page. Again not perfect, but absolutely usable.

So if you read a lot and are interested in English Tech Books or old Classics (which are often free) chances are you want a Kindle.