Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why I Bought a New Kindle (as an iPad Accessory)

I'm back.  It's been one year to the day since my last Kindleville post and I've decided to resurrect this blog.  After using my iPad exclusively for ebook reading for a year I went out last week and bought a new, $139, wifi-only Kindle.  I'm not abandoning my iPad.  Far from it.  But after playing around a bit with a friend's graphite Kindle I decided I needed one too.  I'm glad I bought it as we just wrapped up a family vacation and I was able to give my wife my first-gen Kindle while I tried out the new one.

I recently read a statement about the relationship between iPad and Kindle and I think it's very true: The Kindle is a terrific iPad accessory.  I'll still read a ton of short-form content on my iPad but it's nice to have the Kindle option when I want a device that's even lighter.  For the record, I've never had any eyestrain or other problems reading on my iPad, even when outside.  The Kindle offers a better direct sunlight option but I've always been able to read my iPad on my back deck, for example.

When you can get a Kindle for as little as $139 they're almost disposable.  It reminds me of the VCR evolution.  My first one cost $500 back in 1983 and before DVDs became more popular you could get one for every TV in your house for well under $100.  I like having two in the family since it enables my wife and I to read the same books and only pay for them once.  Sharing across accounts is still clunky but sharing within an account is wonderful, as long as you're both bookmarking to avoid a collision when sync-ing to the furthest point read.

I also don't see the need for 3G service, which is why I went with wifi-only.  I'm almost always in a hotspot and I don't anticipate using the Kindle for magazines or newspapers since the user experience is still awful.  It's long-form content only for me on the Kindle and I'm quite content with buying and/or syncing up on my home wifi connection before heading out.

Finally, since I skipped the second-gen and went directly from first- to third-gen I have to say the new Kindle form factor is terrific.  The control buttons are still clumsy but this new Kindle is so small it fits comfortably in the sleeve of my favorite iPad case.  So I can take both my iPad and my Kindle with me on the road in a case that's about the size as the one I used for my first-gen Kindle.  Very nice.

Kindleville is alive and well again.  I plan to post at least once a week and more frequently when possible.  If you're interested in writing a Kindleville post or two let me know.  It's nice to be back!


Nathaniel Hoffelder said...

Let me be the first to say Welcome Back to the Dark Side.

Seriously, you might want to look into the free games for the Kindle. Most aren't all that great, but some are fun.

Joe Wikert said...

Thanks Nathaniel. I'm not much of a gamer. If I were though I'd be much more likely to buy games for my iPad/iPhone than my Kindle. The Kindle does one thing well and that's letting you read long-form content so that's probably what I'll stick with on it.

Anonymous said...

No SD slot -- Speaking of memory, would it really have killed anyone to include an SD slot on this model? It feels very Apple-esque without an option to add memory, particularly since the older Kindles used to support this.

The SD slot is something I also miss. Kindle 3 memory is the minimum I consider acceptable and I'd be happier if it was two or three times that.

But what I don't miss? My old Kindle was twice as thick (and it felt like it was twice as heavy) as my Kindle 3.


Anonymous said...

The Kindle is a great accessory for phone, iPad or laptop users. It is light, has a great battery life and the ability to sync to various devices is WONDERFUL. Glad to hear an iPad user saying that the Kindle is a viable option. It really is the best of both worlds.

Andrys Basten said...

Joe, I forgot to recommend an app.

It's notepad (active content) and not the ebook 'notepads' that are not getting high ratings. The one by 7 Dragons was #2 in the Kindle store within a few days of release.

Best Kindle app I've downloaded. You're used to a touch scren though, so I'm not sure you'd like it as much as some of us do.

It gets '5' stars average, though, with lots of reviewers.