Anyway, I haven’t quite worked out how to access all the promotional stuff, but I have been reading a substantial book with the Kindle, Hilary Mantel’s excellent Booker prize winning novel Wolf Hall. The hero is pictured, left, with his own leather-bound reading device.
Some preliminary observations about the kit:
- The screen is brilliant. There are five sizes of text, all very clear, and you can adjust the gaps between words as well as the size. I have been reading the smallest size perfectly comfortably. e-ink is very restful to read, and quite clear enough with a small reading light at night, for those who like to read their novels under the bedclothes overnight.
- Content Delivery: The 3G mobile signal, which is slightly questionable in these parts on mobiles, is strong and good on the Kindle. Hilary Mantel’s substantial opus downloaded in just under two minutes.I didn’t think it would make much difference, but the whole acquiring of information is pleasantly smooth and uncomplicated. Buying a book in the conventional way from the Kindle store is also remarkably painless. You just do what you always did on Amazon, and the book appears within a couple of minutes by magic on your Kindle.
- Controls, apart from the keyboard, are ergonomically sound and, although I am not proud of the fact, the left hand second control for thumbing through pages is immensely useful if you're reading in bed. Some operations take longer than others, but the general feel for most operations is smooth and non-kludgy. I wish there were a “history” shortcut back to the latest 100 pages read, like on the Sony Reader, though. Maybe there is...
- The Keyboard is a bit more of a pickle, though it may be that those with more developed Blackerry Thumb would find it more convenient. I am not convinced an iPhone like screen based keyboard wouldn’t have been faster to use. It does however do what it says. Perhaps all such entry devices take a few weeks before they feel natural to use, but I suspect I would be finding the keyboard more ergonomic if I were a spider than as a human being.
- Design of books themselves does seem rather easier than on my Sony Reader. I like the system for telling you instantly how far through a text you are (percentage, paragraph number and a bar that fills up), and the system is free of the rather annoying occasional random line breaks that I have hitherto experienced in e-Books.
- Content: We Brits are currently allowed US content licensed for the UK market — a goodly but not infinite selection. It's funny what you can and can’t get in a Kindle edition just now. As someone who likes an occasional read in French or German, I do wonder when some of the publishing industry’s copyright walls will be readjusted to allow proper paid access across national boundaries — all it would mean for them is increased trade. I can currently get physical books from amazon.fr or amazon.de, but not Kindle editions. Bah! Humbug!
I will, however, try and post a more detailed review comparing the Kindle experience to the Sony Reader one, sooner rather than later.