Digital Reader Review Week: The Kindle III

Book Cover I write this with dismay, honestly. Despite some major faults, the Kindle does digital book reading, loading, and buying so well, and works so well for me, I’m using the Kindle. Not even the Sony Mercedes ebook reader could lure me away.

Every time I sit down at my computer, I find out about a new way to read, load or access books on the Kindle. I can sync books purchased at Amazon across six devices at this point, and I can email files to my device anywhere. Because of the way I interact with books (lots of them, in different formats, moving around towards me, all the time, pretty much always) the Kindle is the easiest and most versatile device for me.

That said, I fully recognize that (a) many folks loathe Amazon, (b) the Kindle doesn’t work as well if you’re not in the US because of digital book international rights asshattery, and (c) there are other options that would work better for different readers, particularly if you like to borrow books from the library or like to shop at different places for books – or like to go to your local Barnes and Noble store, in which case I near the Nook enables you to get free chocolate. If my local BN didn’t give me hives with the size and immensity of it, I’d consider the free chocolate option.

Anyway, back to Kindle 3. I am dismayed that the Sony, even with the file organization, didn’t work for me. I want to be lured away from Amazon’s store. I’m happy to buy .mobi files elsewhere, strip the DRM and put them on the Kindle, even though that means I can only read them on the Kindle, and not on my phone, computer, iPad, Hubby’s phone, refrigerator, vacuum cleaner, and sock drawer. But Amazon’s Kindle 3 does so many little things so easily that my ability to be on auto-pilot with this device makes it essential and hard to relinquish.

The Kindle three is smaller than K2, it’s thinner, and it weighs just a bit less. The Whispernet wireless network works in zippyfast time – I updated the name of the Kindle and changed the email address on the Amazon website, and the device was updated within 10 seconds. Now, I thought the Kindle network was Sprint, but my box said “AT&T” on it. Yet, even in the New York metro area, where AT&T blows, sucks and everything in between, I’ve had no problems.

A word about the packaging: when I received my Nook, I thought I was going to break it trying to take it out of the clear plastic claw it comes in. The Sony arrives in a box that seems like it wouldn’t protect the device, and when I ship one I have to bubble wrap it. The Kindle comes in packaging that is so amazing, it has Apple-style beauty and welcoming texture. You get that, “Oooh, what’s this?” feeling like when you open an Apple product. The Kindle packaging is all paper based and recyclable, and at the bottom it says ‘Certified Frustration-Free Packaging.” Open box, ahoy, Kindle. No clamshell plastic in sight. And I can chuck the whole mess into the recycling box. That’s awesome, Amazon. Thank you.

What do I like about Kindle 3? It’s thinner, smaller, little, graphite and different.

– I like the rubber back of K3 vs. the metal back of K2, which was so slippery I had to cover it with a sticker.
– I like the graphite color VERY much though one scrape revealed some not-graphite beneath the surface. It’s a graphite veneer!
– I like the rougher texture of the buttons, which make me feel like device is more secure in my hands.
– I like the rounded corners, which are very comfortable to hold in one hand.
– I like how little it weighs, and how easy it is to hold.
– I like the new buttons to turn pages, though I do miss the toggle, which I like better than the recessed square button on the front.
– I like having multiple ways to load the device: plugged in via USB, from the website, via email, or, as I just learned from Jane L, navigating using the onboard browser to my Dropbox and downloading my files.

What do I really like about the K3, and the Kindle line in general? Everyone has a Kindle story, a story of how they bought a book in a location where they never thought they’d buy a book. Why is that not their newest commercial pitch idea? My Kindle story? I read about a book in the in-flight magazine while an airplane was taxiing. I reached down, switched on the wireless to the Kindle, and downloaded a sample before the plane took off, and then read the sample in the air when I was allowed to do so. Took me all of 10 seconds. I’ve met several people who are excited to tell you what strange location they’ve been in while buying a book – at this point the bathroom is mundane. Plus, with book syncing, you don’t bring your Kindle in to the lavatory with you. You bring your phone and pray you don’t drop it.

For those who aren’t as familiar with the Kindle method of managing files, there’s one short review and one longer account I can share. The short review: Kindle file management sucks. It’s awful. It’s rudimentary and awkward and freaking annoying. Books you buy from Amazon and remove from your device are stored at Amazon, or “in their cloud,” which is different from “the” cloud because Amazon is about as much like a cloud as I am, unless by cloud you mean “air biscuit,” in which case you might see the analogy a bit better. Or smell it anyway. There’s legions of stories about books in Amazon’s Air Biscuit Cloud that have disappeared or moved or been not really supposed to be for sale oops, we’ll just take that back, thanks.

Here’s what you need to know about buying books from Amazon: you’re paying money for a book you don’t really actually own unless you download it, strip the DRM off it with some process that at this point involves neuroscience and a micron laser, and then store it somewhere else. If you buy books elsewhere, strip the DRM off the .mobi file, or are in receipt of digital files in .doc, .rtf, or .whatever format, and you convert them and put them on the Kindle, yes, you own those files and can move them around. But if you buy a book from Amazon, you don’t really own it. You get a lease on it. You can calculate the term of that lease for use using the following equation:

Take the name of the book and count the letters in it, then divide by the number of days between Facebook privacy setting updates that you have to change lest Facebook make pictures of your backside visible to the astronauts in the Mir space station, then take the derivative of that number, multiply by the cosign of pi, and that’s the term of your time to read that Amazon digital book. Maybe. Macmillan and the Good Lord willing, creeks don’t rise, etc. etc. etc.

That’s the biggest problem with Amazon: you don’t really own your books, and they’re stored in Amazon’s Air Biscuit.

On top of all that, the Amazon Air Biscuit is difficult to navigate and cumbersome to use. And when you migrate from one device to another, there can be problems.  When I received Kindle 3, I hooked up K2 and K3 to my laptop to move the files over. I was in a hurry and wanted to set it up with the latest books I’d placed on K2, and didn’t want to download them individually – and to my knowledge there is no way to move a bunch of files out of the Amazon Air Biscuit all at once. In addition, some of the files I’d emailed to the device and those were obviously not going to be in the archive.

The emailed files transferred fine with no problems. But when I tried to open a book I’d already read, one that I’d downloaded from Amazon as part of a free promotion on K2 and moved physically over to K3, BOTH of which are on my Amazon account, I received the following message:

This item cannot be opened because it is licensed to a different user. Delete the item and download it from your Archived Items or purchase a copy from the Kindle Store.

What the hey now? I did buy this book. From the Kindle Store. On my account. And I only have one user account with Kindle (and, like, fourteen billion different locations to which I can download a file at this point). So what the hell went wrong? I really, really don’t want to have to click and download a bunch of individual files out of the archive, and thought bulk-moving would work. Apparently not.

What fixed it? Changing the name of K3 and K2. Once K3 had the name and email address I used for K2, those free download files worked just fine. VERY odd. And a total accident that I figured it out.

The Amazon Air Biscuit is also crappy in terms of how books are presented. You can’t sort by pub date or purchase date in the archive, and you can’t read or see a blurb in the archive listing.

The individual description page of books I’ve purchased contains precious little information and nothing additional is accessible without wireless connection to reach out to the Kindle Store and get the rest of the data. That’s bothersome in a big way, since I suck at remembering titles and plots together, and constant look up which book is which when I’m reading digitally. Is it really that difficult to include a description in the metadata that’s included on the book file housed on the Kindle? 

And finally, the lack of file management outside of the device itself is ri-freaking-diculous. Unless I am using the Kindle software on the Kindle itself, and moving files one by one, I cannot organize my files in bulk or move them en masse into collections. What the ever loving hell is that? I ran this picture with my review of the Sony Touch, and really, it demonstrates so clearly what’s wrong with the library management on the Kindle using the Kindle software. I know NetGalley is working on a solution to the Number Name problem, but Amazon does not seem very interested in hearing about their file management issues and fixing them.


Oddly, the Amazon customer support is goggle-eye good. Your eyes will bug out if you use it. I can get someone on the phone within seconds to help me work through a problem, and I’ve had Kindles that were broken or not working right replaced in 24 hours. I’ve had excellent support on both new and refurbished Kindles, and I’ve never had a problem calling and telling them that a book was poorly formatted or just plain ugly on the Kindle and immediately having the book removed from my account for a full refund. It’s a very, very big plus, especially if you are the type of user who is not tech-savvy and does not know, and does not want to know, how to use a device like a Kindle.

The actual reading experience isn’t so different from the K2. The graphite body, I think, highlights the increased contrast, which I loooooove, looooooooooove, LOOOOOOOVE with every one of the points of magnification of my eyeglasses. The eInk contrast is so improved, I have no regrets about upgrading. If you have a Kindle 1, and are thinking of upgrading, I think you will be very happy if you upgrade.

I like the weight of it, the texture of the buttons and the back – not having the slick metal back made me very happy indeed. I do miss the toggle bar, as it was easier to use without looking at it. With the indented square with thin bars that move the cursor up, down, left and right, I’m having to look to make sure I’m pressing the right thing, and not about to accidentally hit the middle of the button, which functions as an enter key.

I also have to look and confirm the locations of “menu,” “home,” and “back,” though I expect I’ll have them memorized soon enough.

The thinner page turn buttons are way, way thin, and I have to check to make sure I’m at the right place when I’m about to start turning pages, sort of like checking the position of your hands before you play the piano. The on/off switch is SO loose, I feel like one good nudge and it’s going to come off. It wiggles like a loose tooth. But I love that there is a light behind it that tells me it is on or off – it glows green when the device is on.

So why, when I load so much content onto the Kindle that ISN’T from Amazon, did I ultimately go back to the Kindle? The multiple venues of loading content wirelessly made it much easier to use, and if I’m attentive I can manage collections, though the method to do so on the device sucks out loud. If the question is File Organization and Shopping Options vs. Ease of Loading, I am going to go with Ease of Loading every time, simply because of what and how much I read. If I find a book I want, one click or one forwarded email, and it’s on the Kindle – I don’t have to think about it.

That said, I am not the same reader you are, and I don’t interact with and manage my books the same as everyone else. When I’ve been asked “What device should I buy?” I almost always start with the reading habits and the tech-savvy of the person asking. If they read frequently and are not tech-savvy, I recommend the Kindle, and to a lesser extent the Nook—and I don’t recommend the Nook at all for anyone who has arthritis in their hands. That bottom LCD would be very painful after a few hours. I don’t have arthritis and it bothered me.

I’m going to continue the Digital Reader Reviews this week (or very soon) with a review of the Kobo, but in the meantime, I want to welcome the Kindle users of any model to share why they like their Kindle, and what works for them.

ETA: Christina Dodd sent me this link on how to set up RSS feeds and online content via Instapaper and Calibre to deliver to the Kindle automatically. VERY cool.


General Bitching...

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    I just bought my first e-reader recently (Kindle 3), and I’ll admit it is very addictive how quick and easy it is to buy and download a book onto it. I agree that the organization on the Kindle sucks, and the resulting multiple collections I end up with on the home page is a bit overwhelming.

    Sarah, regarding organizing your files in bulk, did you know that you can pick a collection and right click on it and it will allow you to add books in bulk to that collection without having to open each book file individually?

  2. 2
    TKF says:

    you’re paying money for a book you don’t really actually own unless you download it, strip the DRM off it with some process that at this point involves neuroscience and a micron laser, and then store it somewhere else.

    It’s actually HELLA easy (oh, my 80s roots are showing). If I was able to figure it out, anyone can. Follow the directions HERE and you’re home free in about ten minutes.

    When FictionWise went tits-up, I discovered I couldn’t get a lot of books I wanted anymore for my CyBook (which uses MOBI or ADOBE, but not at the same time, and I was 200+ books into MOBI). I googled about (yes, it’s a verb) and found something that was easy and actually worked! Now I buy all my books at Amazon, strip ‘em, and sideload them to my CyBook. Easy-peasy.

  3. 3
    Brian says:

    Good review of the K3’s ups and downs.  I totally agree that the whole archive navigation thing sucks once you have a few books.  Luckily DRM is a snap to remove (just dl with Kindle 4PC and drag into Calibre using the K4PCDeDRM plugin and wallah) so it can be bypassed and DRM free backups kept (and easily converted).

    As far as the wireless goes the K1 and original K2 (and original Dx) use Sprint.  The newer K2i’s, Dxi’s, DxG’s and K3’s all use AT&T.

  4. 4
    Sarah says:

    OMGOMGOMG. Serves me right for not more-thorough-googling before I published. I’m going to lose hours stripping DRM today.

    Thank you!

  5. 5
    SB Sarah says:

    Ah! I see – the .azw files are crackable but the Topaz ones are still tricksy. Oh, have mercy, my afternoon schedule will be way different.

  6. 6
    becca says:

    It’s not only Amazon books that you don’t own. You don’t really own any book with DRM, whether it’s from Borders, B&N or Amazon. So this can’t be held as a strike against only the Kindle.

    That said, I have a K2, which I love. I’d rather have the k3, with it’s better screen, but my k2 was a gift.

    I do wish that I could organize my books through Calibre rather than the klunky “collections” feature. Surely it can’t be that hard to make nested folders!

    any75: I’ll take any 75 ebooks!

  7. 7
    Babs says:

    I love love love my K2 which was a present from my hubby almost a year ago.

    After looking at buying an e-reader for months I finally picked the Kindle because of the international 3G network which allows for downloads. My husband’s job means we spend big chunks of time outside of the US (while having a US address) and the Kindle has been a godsend. I am a voracious reader and the Kindle allows me to have easy access to English-language books at a price that is usually much less than any I can find on the local market in Europe! It makes travel so easy and saves so much luggage space that I am almost giddy whenever I have to pack and realize I don’t have to try to figure how many books to bring while not going over the luggage weight allotment.

    I also have only had excellent experiences with Kindle support—both on the phone and via email.

  8. 8
    TKF says:

    Ah! I see – the .azw files are crackable but the Topaz ones are still tricksy.

    So far, I’ve only bought one book that was Topaz (by accident), and Amazon refunded it when I emailed them to complain. You can tell which format the book will be in if you look at the Product Detail section. If the size is listed in KB, it will be .awz, and you’ll be home free.

  9. 9
    Meggrs says:

    I FLOVE my new Kindle III! I figure I can learn to strip the DRM and then I can manage my files how I prefer.

    My mom has the Kindle I, and she’s SUPER-jealous that I can organize collections on the III, which was a big deal for me. I love the size, the feel, and the beautiful eInk contrast.

    I’m bummed, however, by the fact that I need to buy a lighted cover (or some other light source, but the lighted cover is awfully attractive) in order to read in the dark. A backlight option in the future would be welcome.

    Still, I’ve been waiting for years to have an eReader, and I am NOT disappointed by the Kindle III.

  10. 10
    Karen H says:

    I am eagerly awaiting my Kindle 3, due by the end of the week.  I did some research and went to Best Buy so I could actually touch all 3 brands.  I’m happy to say that these reviews have not changed my mind about my decision, though I am very appreciative of your providing them.  (I would love the red Sony but I did get the red Kindle case with built-in light so that will be close enough.)

    I picked K3 because it was cheaper (way cheaper than Sony—I just do not get that they don’t have WI-FI, especially at those prices) and lighter and the screen quality looks great.  I also picked the graphite since it looked as if the text popped with the contrast as compared to the white case (which I did actually like better—that was a plus with the nook).  And it holds 3500 books without having to get extra memory.

    I didn’t see the advantage to the touch screen at the bottom of the nook and found it difficult to use as well. I don’t know anybody else with an e-reader so sharing books wasn’t an issue and though I would like to use the library e-books, the library is literally on my way home so it’s easy enough to stop in for a print book. 

    The potential sticking point was PDF files as I’m actually buying an e-reader mostly to carry my book list around more easily (it’s 38 pages and getting bigger).  I wanted a phone to do that but the smart phones, with the nice screens, all require a hefty monthly data charge even though I didn’t need to use the data capability!  But when I read I could read PDF files on the K3, my decision was made.  Plus I had credit card points so it’s basically free.

    I’m probably the only person getting an e-reader for a primary reason other than just reading but I will be reading also as there are so many free books available that I haven’t read, including Gabaldon’s “Outlander”.  I’ve got jury duty in a couple of weeks so the Kindle should be a big win!

  11. 11
    Vi says:

    I’ve only had my K3 for about s month (my first ereader). I heart it so much. It’s so easy to use. The one-click is my frenemy right now.  I dressed my baby up with an Oberon cover and the K3 is my best fashion accessory ever!

  12. 12
    Stephanie C. says:

    I love my K2 … I got it when they came out in Feb 09? At the time the only other option was Sony. I went with Kindle for the direct download option because I am constantly on the go and may not be near a computer when I want a book.

    When the nooks came out they were tempting but when my local B&N got the nook in I went and played with it. It does seem bottom heavy, the led screen is distracting, and I think the color/ touch screen would cause a battery drainage problem. I also had trouble with it responding to my commands but if I had one this would probably work itself out. I very happily take my kindle into B&N and sit in the cafe and read. I also like to correct the sales pitch given to people looking at the nook (its a lot of misinformation on the kindle, sony, and nook.)

    Overall I am happy with my K2. The small amount of organization it does have is much better than none at all and I have my books split into three folders, read, samples, and free.  All of my purchased books I leave on the home screen so I am sure to read them first. I also love customer service and have yet to have a problem with them.

    The only thing I can say is I WANT A K3! lol

  13. 13

    I did a review on my site comparing MOBI to various PDF layouts on my site…required reading if you (like me) want a K3 to read PDFs on.

    Spoiler: I was disappointed.

  14. 14
    Hannah says:

    I bought a Kindle 2 last spring, and upgraded to a Kindle 3 a few weeks ago. Overall I like the Kindle 3 much better. I liked the buttons on the K2 a lot more and in general found the K2 easier to hold—I have tiny paws so I can’t guess why this is so.
    I appreciate that on the K3 you can rotate PDF documents to landscape to make the text bigger. It’s still not perfect but much more readable.
    I haven’t used the text-to-speech function on the Kindle as much as I thought I would. I find that because of the vagaries of the computer-generated speech, I have to pay such close attention to the words that I can’t concentrate on anything else. But it’s useful for when I want my hands free for something else (usually folding laundry) and don’t want to worry about page turns.

  15. 15
    Jane O says:

    My husband just got a Kindle 3, the first ereader in the house, so naturally I’ve been playing with it. The stuff you can get for free is great fun. There are all sorts of old, out of copyright books that your local library probably doesn’t have. (The first thing I got was Rupert of Henzau, the sequel to The Prisoner of Zenda.

    However, it doesn’t handle pdfs of old books very well — it’s easiest to read them sideways, half a page at a time.

    My biggest problem with it is that I don’t find it nearly as pleasant to read as a real book. It would be useful for traveling or commuting, but I do most of my reading at home. Unless ebooks become much cheaper than paper books I don’t think I am likely to buy any.

    But the free stuff is fun.

  16. 16
    Phyl says:

    I’m another very, very happy K3 user. Yes, all those drawbacks are true, but it is such a delightfully pleasant experience to read using it, that I just can’t bring myself to care that much. I have no regrets.

  17. 17

    I looked at the major competitors before deciding on the Kindle: Nook and Sony. The deciding factor for me was that Amazon has a huge inventory, the largest of any other seller right now. And even though buying a pig in a poke goes against the grain for me, I was willing to take the chance on Kindle. I’d heard that they were test marketing in some Targets around the country, but not near me.

    Just about the time I scraped together enough money to buy a Kindle, Amazon made the jump to K3 and I was put on a waiting list. (I don’t know if their production has picked up the pace yet—I hope so since I’m giving one away on my website in November). SB is absolutely right about the fabulous packaging. It’s great. And so is the e-reader. It will do so many things and there are beta functions in the wings. I got to download a free word game to play, for example.

    It’s just about impossible for curious little fingers to mess up anything, beyond unintentional buys. I was showing it to a friend and she got panicky because she feared she’d lost my bookmark in whatever I was reading. Nope, it’s easy to get back.

    I’ve heard a rumor (NOTE: RUMOR) that a color Kindle is about a year away. If that’s so, it’ll be really interesting to see how things evolve.

    Since Kindle has the largest library of titles available I haven’t thought much about DRM. My own e-books are DRM-free. I’ll have to check into the removal methods mentioned here!

  18. 18

    I love my Kindle 3! It’s my first e-ink reader.
    I can’t strip the DRM off the Kindle books, using the script. I get “Unsupported version of Kindle for PC.” Uninstalled, tried again, still doesn’t work. Sigh. Maybe it’s because I’m in the UK or something like that.
    I’ll continue to buy my books elsewhere in the unlocked mobi format.
    Now can we talk lights? Or are you doing that in another post? (I’ve settled on the Mighty Bright Twin Music Light).

  19. 19
    Jessica says:

    Once I got the Collections feature set up on my K2 after the upgrade this summer, I really like them.  I don’t keep many of any of my books in the amazon cloud (archived) because I haven’t even come close yet to hitting the memory limits which I like very much. 

    I think there is a way to send multiple books to a new device.  When I was on amazon the other day I told it to send all kinds of books to my ipod touch that I dont use very much – when I turned it on two days later 15 books downloaded themselves to it which was pretty nice. 

    Have you ever checked out the blog, I Love My Kindle?  That answers all the questions you could ever have and has introduced me to all kinds of nifty features.  What I like best about my K2 is that when the K3 was coming they did do a huge upgrade to the K2 software to make it have nearly all the new features, which I really appreciated as an upgrade isn’t in my near future.

  20. 20
    Brian says:

    @Lynne, some of the Unswindle scripts only work with the early K4PC, but Skindle and K4PCDeDRM-Gui (or K4PCDeDRM plugin) should work fine.


    I just got an email from Staples.  Looks like they’re carrying Kindles now.

  21. 21
    beggar1015 says:

    My birthday is this Friday and as a gift to myself I just got this Kindle 3. While I already had an ebook reader, there were some ebooks that I couldn’t find anywhere else but Amazon. I’m totally computer illiterate so I’m not sure at all what this DRM stuff is and how to “strip” it, but I’m willing to give it a try.

    One stupid question: does this thing ever really turn off? While the pictures are nice that come up when I put the thing to sleep, I feel like I’ve left the thing on and the battery will drain. Or am I worrying for nothing?

  22. 22
    Jessica says:

    @Beggar – don’t worry!  The kindle doesn’t use any battery to display its screensaver images.  Which I think is the best part of eink.

  23. 23
    Claire says:

    I’m getting a Kindle 3 for my birthday next month (just need to tell my hubby!) and can’t wait.  After downloading the Kindle for Iphone app 4 months ago for a free book i wanted to read i now own 86 Kindle books (amazons ‘buy now with one click button’ was the work of an evil genius).  All theses reviews are jsut making me more excited and impatient.

  24. 24
    Cathy says:

    @beggar1015 – when it’s in standby mode (with the picture, as opposed to fully off) it still uses no power.  The bigger issue is to make sure to leave your wireless off to preserve batter life.

    I bought a K2 in Feb of last year, and even at twice the price of the current model, it was worth every penny.  My Kindle love even convinced my 5-books-a-year boyfriend to buy one, and he’s loving it and recommending a Kindle to everyone.

    Sarah, I’m curious about the “leigons of stories” about books disappearing from the Amazon cloud – I’ve only heard of the one time last year – what other books has it happened with?  I didn’t realize this was a reocurring issue, and it’s a bit worrisome if that’s still the case.

  25. 25
    joy says:

    You know this DRM stuff is ridiculous and WRONG.  I don’t plan on stealing any books or posting them on the internet or sharing them with anyone.  I’m very law abiding.  Computer guys love to play around with ways to crack DRM and it generally doesn’t hold up very long.  Why do they bother!!!

    I would actually buy a lot, LOTS more ebooks from Amazon if I didn’t have to mess around with them.  I love my Kindle3 just as I did the original Kindle.  I’d buy my “keepers” (and I must have hundreds!) all over again in eformat if I knew I could keep them just to save space in my house and declutter.  Doesn’t Amazon and the others realize they are really hurting their business and discouraging folks from buying their lovely Kindle (or whatever).  Give it up you guys.  The computer geeks out there love a challenge and DRM gets broken every time. Just stop wasting everyone’s time!

  26. 26
    Claire says:

    slightly off topic but is there any way (or website) where you can find out when books become available as Kindle editions, there are quite a lot of books i want to read but i dont want to buy paper copies and i find it a pain to check Amazon eveyr now and again to see if they are available yet.

  27. 27
    TKF says:

    “Unsupported version of Kindle for PC.”

    Did you make sure to load the old version that they link to and to set it to not update? A friend had that problem, but once I corrected the version of Kindle PC she was using, everything was fine.

  28. 28
    becca says:

    To the best of my knowledge, Amazon only took one single book off people’s kindles – which had the misfortune of being 1984, so the irony was heavy in Teh Intertubes. They’ve since put processes in place to prevent that happening.  Every once in awhile, someone posts a book on Amazon that they have no right posting – when this happens, they remove the book from The Cloud (the Fog Bank?), and send people an email saying why, but don’t remove it from their actual kindle.

    Plus, if you buy books from places like Baen and side-load your books, Amazon has no way of knowing what you’ve got on your kindle – they only track purchases made through them (which every etailer does).

    sales23: Amazon has made more than 23 sales to me since I got my Kindle.

  29. 29
    Meggrs says:

    @beggar1015: You can also turn it off by holding the power button for 10 seconds. This well and truly turns it off until you are ready to read again.


  30. 30
    Jae says:

    I LOVE love love the K2. I’ve always been a huge reader and since I haven’t had a proper nights sleep since acquiring the Kindle, I may find it necessary to hunt out a Readers Anonymous group, if such a thing exists. I got mine last year shortly before leaving for vacation and having to bring only this one small, light device was a life saver. When I travel I usually have to bring several books with because I read fairly fast. So not adding the weight of 4 books to my luggage was an incredible relief. And not having to carry a hardcover when I’m on the subway is cooler than I don’t know what.

    As far as the archive feature, it’s handy but I only have 4 items in there (3 of which are the user guides). I have more than 700 items in my K2 (incl. samples) but archiving seems to defeat the purpose of having my entire library instantly available. Plus if you edit any metadata using calibre, the changes are not saved if you archive and reload. Which sucks balls because it took days to get everything all pretty-like.

    @Claire, if you use you can paste the urls of books you want to see on Kindle and they’ll shoot you an email if and when it becomes available. They also have a price-drop feature which does the same thing. You specify the price threshold and they’ll track books for up to 180 days.

  31. 31
    Daz says:

    SB Sarah, I’ve read what you said about the “cloud” and I’m a bit concerned about the whole “lack of back up” thing. When Fictionwise and eReader went to pot at least I had all my books downloaded to my PC and I could then re-upload to my device (iPhone) when I wanted to. It sounds like I don’t have much of a choice when it comes to backing up books and to have a downloaded version on my PC that I can take around with me from PC to PC. Sounds like even on the PC, I’m still downloading from the “cloud”. Do you suggest that I download ALL my books to my Kindle 3? Since both my husband and I share the same Kindle account, I don’t want to end up with all his books on my Kindle, but I also don’t want to walk around with all the books in the “cloud” and not have them all on a device. What do you suggest I do?

  32. 32
    sandir says:

    To me the biggest difference between the Kindle and all the other ereaders is the FREE BOOKS. Not just one or two – I currently have 300 books I got from Amazon for free on my Kindle. I think I’ve downloaded about 20 in the past two weeks and I definitely do not download all the books available.

    I recommend the Books on the Knob blog for listings of all the free books Amazon offers for the Kindle – grab them fast because some don’t stay free for long.

  33. 33
    AmberG says:

    So, what exactly are the problems with the Kindle for a canadian user? Because I really want something like this, but i’m looking for something that I can use comfortably without having to deal with a bunch of annoyance due to where I live.

  34. 34
    Chris says:

    (b) the Kindle doesn’t work as well if you’re not in the US because of digital book international rights asshattery

    to be fair, all the ebook stores suffer from this asshattery. Some are much worse: B&N won’t sell you a Nook or any ebook outside of the US for example.

    I think Amazon should use this in their advertising – “We’re the least worst if your not in the US!”

  35. 35
    Daz says:

    Actually, B&N is the worse. I checked out the nook before I ended up with the Kindle. At least with Amazon, they will ship the Kindle to countries outside of the US and you can buy books even if you are not in the US – all you need is a US address in your profile and you can tag that your location is in the US by linking to that address. No “asshattery” problems at all.

  36. 36
    Batwater says:

    I LOVE (love, love, love) my Kindle 2, but my library is getting’s access to ebooks soon. Overdrive isn’t Kindle compatable. I’ve been thinking about a nook, but giving money to Barnes and Noble hurts my soul.
    Can anybody tell me about the Cybook (preferably the Opus). I keep seeing ads, but I’ve never seen one in person?

  37. 37
    Brian says:

    The Opus is quite a nice little reader.  It handle’s Adept DRM’d ePub’s (like what’s used by Overdrive and most stores except B&N and iBooks) just fine and being a 5” device is extremely portable.  It dosn’t have a Pearl screen like the K3 or new Sony’s, but it’s Viziplex screen is still quite good.  You also have the option of loading alternate firmware and having it read Mobi books instead of ePub if need be.  It uses real folders as opposed to the collection/tag systems Sony and Amazon offer.  You can also load your own fonts if you wish to. I primarily use my K3, but the Opus is a nice reader to have around too.

  38. 38
    SB Sarah says:

    @batwater: I’m tracking down some Cybook/Bookeen reviews asap. Also Kobo.

    @daz: this is a problem faced by many ebook fans when a store goes belly up. I think your best bet is to possibly crack the files you have and store them on a hard drive off the Kindle and not in Le Air Biscuit Cloud. I also had no idea it was easier now to tag an address in the Amazon profile to allow for Kindle usage. That’s rather awesome! Thank you for sharing that.

    @becca: you’re totally right about any DRM preventing you from truly owning the book file and holding onto it with your digital hands. B&N and Amazon wrap what I think of as an additional layer of DRM on top of already-DRM’d files from DRM-supporting publishers, so that makes it extra more annoying.

  39. 39
    Daz says:

    Yeah, it’s dead easy. Go to “Manage Your Kindle” then scroll down to “Your Country” and viola!

  40. 40
    Kate Pearce says:

    I’ve just downloaded all the apps from Kindle, Borders, Nook and Kobo onto my iPad so that, (along with the limitations and the delights of the iBook store), I can just pick and choose the best deals for my extensive reading habit. I did try my husband’s kindle first but found it increasingly clunky in some areas as I got used to the iPad.  And if I’d bought all the different e-readers and kindles over the past year or so, I’d have paid for my iPad.

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