Kindle Paperwhite and Paperweights

Kindle Paperwhite - not accessible as far as I can tell. Sorry, blind readers. Amazon unveiled all the new toys today including the Kindle Paperwhite, available with WiFi only and with 3G access, and new Kindle Fire options with jaw-dropping cheap 4G dataplans. 

The Kindle Paperwhites come in a 3G version ($179 with Special Offers and $199 Without) and a Wifi version ($119 with Special Offers and $129 Without). 

There's been a good amount of chatter and coverage, and you can read a lot of the news articles about it at FastCompany (which is fast (hur) becoming one of my favorite magazines) and Mashable, and you can read a biiiiiiiig long page of specs at Amazon, too. 

But wait, there's more, though without paperwhiteage: the Amazon WiFi Kindle also received an upgrade in the pageturn speed and the rendering of text (said to be “crisper”), and is on sale now for $10 less than it used to be. That Kindle is $69 with Special Offers and $89 Without.

A few thoughts of mine own: 

Paperwhite bulbs in a small containerAmazon also sells paperwhite bulbs, should you wish to buy both (if someday on the Kindle Paperwhite page it says, “Customers also bought” and there's a picture of some bulbs, I will laugh for hours).

Could there be a more meh name than “Kindle Paperwhite?” It's a vowel sound away from “paperweight,” which is not how I use my Kindle.

Well, to be honest, my first Kindle Fire was a paperweight for awhile, until I flew to and from Anaheim for RWA, and loaded it up with rented videos and cheap tv show pilots that I'd never seen. It was marvelous for travel, and is much less of a paperweight now.

Speaking of the Fire! Big Daddy Fire HD is $499.99 with 4G LTE Wireless that's available for $50.00 for the YEAR. Some folks pay more than that per month on their cell phones. It's also available as a WiFi-only model for $299.00.

The Kindle Fire HD is also new, and costs $199 for 16GB and $249 for 32GB.

The HDs come with Fire-y upgrades, including more memory, more gadgetry, bigger scenes, more space, and Whipsersync for audio, which keeps the reader's place in the book between listening and reading, provided the reader has purchased both the print and audio versions. That's freaking nifty.

Kindle Free Time also allows parents to set time limits per child for reading, games, videos and apps, and turns the screen blue when their time is up. Plus, the HDs have solved one of my problems with the Kindle, which was that it only had speakers on one side, and made for a crappy listening experience when used without headphones. 

That's all very cool, but as I learned during the panel I moderated at RWA, the devices themselves are not universally accessible, and as @bardsong pointed out on Twitter, there was no mention of improved accessibility in the new devices. For example, for a visually impaired reader, there is no way to navigate the device itself with audio cues. It doesn't look like Amazon has added that accessibility to the present devices, which is a big ol' bummer, and will keep many blind readers on Apple devices, which have integrated accessibility.

That said, my Kindle keyboard, which I love, is cracked and slow, and I'm thinking I might upgrade to the Kindle Bulb – sorry, Kindle Paperwhite. 

What about you? Are you going to upgrade?



Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Christina says:

    I’ll stick with my Nook. ;o)

  2. 2

    I confess I’m now confused about the new backlit screen—will it not be readable in sunlight the way my trusty old Kindle KB is? I use it for books, and my Fire for video or reading in the dark. Is e-ink on the way out? I kinda thought that was the whole point of the Kindle.

    On the subject of accessibility, I’m already grumpy with Amazon for not making closed captioning available on their Instant Video. I got a very unsatisfactory reply when I wrote to Customer Service about that. Netflix has captions, why can’t Amazon?

  3. 3
    Evaine says:

    Yeah, I have a cell phone, a lap top and a desktop, so I’ll stick with my Kobo (which also announced some cool new stuff today).  It’s an e-reader pure and simple. 

  4. 4
    amywilkins says:

    I don’t think I will upgrade my Kindle but am in the market for a new touch epub reader. I will have to test out the Kobo Glo to see how fast it turns on—that’s been my main hesitation with their Touch reader. Was even considering a new Sony if it was as fast as their old models were.

  5. 5
    ChrisZ says:

    I watched a video about the “backlit screen” which says that it isn’t actually back lit.  Somehow they have lit the glass (I’m wondering if they have rubbed the butt end of lightning bugs all over the surfaces…..) and it is supposed to shine down into the kindle rather than up at your eyes.

    As a side note, they also removed the “register a kindle” option from and you must now register from your device, which I personally find a pain in the rear.

  6. 6
    ChrisZ says:

    Oh, also according to the video, there is a slide bar to adjust the amount of lighting based on the brightness of the environment.

  7. 7
    DreadPirateRachel says:

    I’m tempted to upgrade my Kindle Fire to the latest, largest edition, mostly because of the camera. I hate that I can’t Skype on my current Fire. I have family all over the world, and currently, if I want to see my niece in southern Mexico, I have to do it from my desktop (which maybe wouldn’t be such a pain in the ass if it weren’t located in my perpetually messy living room).

  8. 8
    Kerry Dustin says:

    I’m trying to figure it all out. My beloved Kindle Keyboard’s screen went kaput a few weeks ago and I need a new reader. However, it seems to have become very complicated.

    I want an e-reader, not a tablet. I want an e-ink reader. I don’t care about a light, so if there is a light, I want to have the option to turn it off. I don’t want a 5-way controller, because I like to take notes in my books and that would be a HUGE pain. Obviously, the paperwhite doesn’t have a keyboard, so I’m assuming it’s a touchscreen.

    So, I guess, if I want a new one with the specifications I want, that’s what I have to get.

    HOWEVER, I can’t actually order one anyway because I don’t have a US address, seeing as how I don’t live in the US.

    In fact, the only Kindle Amazon will deign to sell this non-US person is the very basic one with the 5-way controller that I already know I DO NOT want.

    So I have to admit to feeling highly pissed off about Amazon and the whole situation right now. I don’t want to change to another reader and ecosystem as they tend to have even less support here down under (New Zealand to be precise) than Amazon provides. Grrrrrrrrr.

    But I miss my reader and the ease with which it allows me to read all my beloved books.

    Not a happy camper.

  9. 9

    From what I’ve seen, the $50/year data plan for the 4G Kindle Fire model is for 250 MB a month. That’s right, megabytes! Since I’m in Canada, I’ll stick with Kobo, but will upgrade to the Glo model. My two daughters are already dying to get their hands on DH and my Kobo Touches. If anyone is in the market for a small epub reader, Kobo also released the Mini ereader – 5 inches, touch, but no glo. And what has me jealous – the back snaps on and off so you can change the color of the back cover.

  10. 10
    SB Sarah says:

    You have to register from the device only? Oy, that is a pain in the tuchas.

    As far as the light, it shines down onto the screen from the top edge – there’s a diagram of the layers of light-tasticness on the page for the Kindle Paperwhite: It has, whoa – a nanoimprinted light guide.

    Seriously, that is so going to show up in a book. Probably steampunk. Right?

  11. 11
    SB Sarah says:

    Can you buy one from eBay or a reseller? I confess to being a bit clueless as to how Kindle work or don’t work in NZ.

  12. 12
    Tabs says:

    I want to own the paperwhite right now!  I have a nook but have found that I do 90% of my ebook purchasing from amazon so switching to a kindle would really simplify my life.


  13. 13
    jane_mccarthy_osullivan says:

    Funny thing, my library card never needs to be upgraded, and it’s free. I think I’ll stick with that.

  14. 14

    but then the content is so limited by geo restrictions to NZ or Australia that together with the added whispernet fee it isn’t worth it. That is why we end up just sticking with ipads or going for android devices like Kobo ereader or the arc tablet which don’t have as much content or as great customer service as Amazon (in theory cos the service doesn’t matter if you have limited content) but they are accessible

    It is also why it is so frustrating when authors list with Amazon or Barnes & Powell only – at that point they are completely ignoring readers outside the USA.

  15. 15
    Meg says:

    I REALLY REALLY wanted a Paperwhite until I read the fine print on Amazon:

    The new Paperwhite only holds ONE THIRD of the books the Touch held.  I like the light-glowy-nano screen, but not at the expense of 2,000 books!  *hoping Amazon’s specs were just typos*

  16. 16
    Nita says:

    Meh. Is it wrong that the child in me just wants to say, “Um, yeah, Nook did this first. Good job for catching up.” But then, I’m just generally anti-Amazon, so…

  17. 17
    Kylie says:

    Not sure about NZ, but here in Australia the woolworths conglomerate is selling kindles.  This includes Dick Smith’s, Big W and woolworths ( an reader from a grocery store!). Last time I was in dickies they had a touch, a basic and a keyboard version. 
    And depending on what you have done to the screen, and if you have a spare kindle with a working screen, it is possible to change them. My husband dropped his on the tile and cracked the screen, we used the screen from my broken( screw loose) one to fix it

  18. 18
    DianaQ says:

    I have a Kindle Keyboard and so far it was worked wonderfully. I probably won’t upgrade until this one kicks the bucket.
    Although, the new one looks really cool.

  19. 19
    beanutputter says:

    I’ve been wanting a front-lit screen ever since I first heard about the (then outgoing) Sony that had it—or side lighting, but close enough.  The technology just keeps getting better—I pre-ordered the ‘Paperwhite’ and am dying to see it.  (Gotta agree about the name, though—sheesh).  Of course, I was excited about the Touch, too, and ended up going back to my Kindle Keyboard.

    Up until this last Kindle, the size of the hard drive was a major issue for me, but I’m so sick of copying my increasingly-large library from reader to reader, manually, one-by one…  If they can’t make it possible to download everything in one step (even if they have to space it out timewise, soas not to overwhelm their system), then I guess I don’t much care about a somewhat smaller hard drive.  Despite my best efforts, I haven’t managed to fill one up yet, so I’m not sure how much difference it will make.

  20. 20

    I love my iPad. Won’t be changing.

  21. 21
    ToppysMom says:

    Sigh. I finally break down and buy a Kindle Fire (with my various Target card discounts, TYVM!) and it’s already obsolete. But you WILL NOT tear it from my hands, damn you!! I have my books, my movies, my TV shows and my magazines on there and I will NOT abandon them!!

    Of course. if Amazon will transfer everything at no extra charge, yeah, well, all bets are off and I’m not proud.

  22. 22
    Lisa J says:

    My Sony PRS-T1 is the best!  You would have to pry it from cold dead heads to get it away from me.  I want a dedicated e-reader and have no plans to switch to a Kindle. 

    I don’t have a tablet and I’m not looking for one right now.  I’m waiting to see what the Microsoft tablet will offer.

  23. 23

    I have a Kindle 2nd gen and the Kindle Fire – I love both – I love gadgets, thus I will have to upgrade and carry three of them around with me. ?

  24. 24

    I’m tempted by the Paperwhite. I have a no-frills Sony PRS 350 (Pocket) that I like for its size and weight, but that new Kindle looks snazzy. One question: is it possible for me to transfer all my ePub novels on the Sony to the Kindle if I buy it?

  25. 25
    Mom_on_the_run2001 says:

    I have a Kindle with a keyboard, but if and when it bites the dust, I think I’ll just get an iPad. I’m the only one in my family of 6 who doesn’t have one, so I think it’s time. But I’m perfectly happy with the one I have for now.

  26. 26
    Karmyn says:

    I don’t plan on updating my Kindle unless I move somewhere with reliable 3G and/or wi-fi. I barely have reliable internet where I’m at.

  27. 27
    SB Sarah says:

    As of right now, ePub does not transfer to Kindle. But if your ePub files are DRM-free, you can convert them to Kindle format with Calibre:…

  28. 28
    Kathleen O says:

    At this time I don’t plan on updating my kindle, but when I have the money, you can bet I will.. I would love a lighted screen. I have a small light I attach to my kindle when I have to read in where the light is not good. But having a built in light would be a blessing.

  29. 29
    Flo_over says:

    Not changing from my Kindle.  That thing has taken a beating from a 2 year old and survived!  She chewed it, she threw it, she sat on it, I think she even rolled over it with her little riding machine… it’s staying until it finally gives up the ghost!  Then, and only then, will I consider going to a tablet.  Hopefully by then she won’t chew on our electronic devices.

  30. 30

    Bummer. Most of my books are from the Sony Reader Store and are not DRM free. Maybe what I’ll do is buy a Paperwhite down the road, and only add new books to it.

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