Wednesday, 22 February 2012

On the Kindle

Everyone knows the Kindle. It’s a great product. It’s also pretty revolutionary. I thought I’d write down the pros and cons of a Kindle (you may substitute any similarly-featured ebook reader) versus a book, in approximate order of importance in each category.

  • Many classic books are available for free, e.g. on Project Gutenberg
  • It features a convenient built-in dictionary
  • You can purchase books anywhere with WiFi / 3G (depending on your model)
  • Many books are cheaper, including current bestsellers
  • No need for bookmarks, the device remembers it for you
  • If you have lots of books on it, and you lose your Kindle, replacing it is easier (and certainly more convenient) than replacing all the books
  • Nobody knows that you're reading the latest Twilight movie tie-in (but then you’re not, so that's okay!)

  • It Just Isn’t The Same Feeling
  • You cannot rapidly flick through the book, or rapidly look at the previous page; the E-Ink screen is just too slow
  • Nobody knows that you're reading an excellent and very erudite/hip (delete as appropriate) novel
  • On a Kindle, all books look the same; there is no individuality in terms of paper quality and thickness, font face and size, page margin etc. etc. While some of these options can be configured on the Kindle, there is no way to set them per book.
  • If you only have a few books on it, and you lose your Kindle, then replacing it will be more expensive than purchasing the same books again
  • If you’re somewhere without electricity for a long time (a few weeks to a month), you won’t have anything to read
I’ve listed these because they make a rather interesting set of advantages and disadvantages. There is no clear winner here; to me, both have their deserved place. It really is revolutionary.