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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

A Year With My Kindle

I got my first Kin­dle a year ago. I quick­ly re­placed it with my cur­rent and sec­ond kindle, a Kin­dle Touch.

So, how well has it worked? Pret­ty damn well. I am a fair­ly heavy user, I think, and the Kin­dle has trav­eled quite a bit, in bags, suit­cas­es and car­go pock­et­s. The on­ly care I take is to use a leather cov­er when out­side the house.

I have read, ac­cord­ing to goodread­s.­com, some­what over 17000 pages in this year, in 61 book­s. That' a lot of pages. And if you look at the gad­get now, it still looks brand new. No scratch­es, ev­ery­thing op­er­ates cor­rect­ly, even the bat­tery still holds the charge fine even if it's down to about two weeks per charge in­stead of al­most three.

I still miss the old­er kindle's page-­turn­ing but­ton­s. Us­ing a touch­screen to turn pages is id­i­ot­ic. but hey, it work­s, and I can still do it one-hand­ed (yay for huge-­hand boy here!)

The on­ly things I don't quite like are the same ones as when I bought it.

  • The page has too lit­­tle con­­trast when not ide­al­­ly light­ed.

  • You can't read in the dark.

Since the new pa­per­white fix­es both of those, I am get­ting one. I have al­ready sold this one, and the dif­fer­ence is not a lot, so it's a very cheap up­grade.

Quite hap­py about Ama­zon's abil­i­ty to not suck at giv­ing me goods in ex­change for mon­ey, too! It's rare that I want a book and it's not out there in Kin­dle for­mat (still wait­ing for Evan Dara's Easy Chain!)

So, no un­ex­pect­ed is­sues, has brought a lot of fun, was cheap­... that's the def­i­ni­tion of gad­get par­adise to me.

Santiago Rojo / 2012-10-22 17:38:

Thanks for this informal review. I'm thinking in buy a Kindle Paperwhite; so let me ask you a question. Is it comfortable to read technical books with code examples, tables or images? I mean, is a 6 inches screen and it looks a little tiny for me.

Roberto Alsina / 2012-10-22 17:41:

I don't read technical books in it. It is probably a tad small, and the resolution is not high enough to compensate.

marplatense / 2012-10-23 03:03:

I'm reading The Architecture of Open Source Applications (both volumes)
in my touch and so far no issue with the size of images, tables and
stuff, although it is not code example heavy (or it has not been, so
far). Reading the Pyramid docs has been harder though (but it might
not have been "professionally" edited so no complains) so my opinion is
that it depends, make sure you are getting a book from a publisher that
knows his business with technical books. Nevertheless Amazon let's you
get a sample chapter before buying so you should be able to evaluate the
quality of the material.
I must say the Kindle is highly addictive, I'm reading 8 books at the
same time :)

Fede Heinz / 2012-10-23 01:39:

Well... it's questionable whether they deliver “goods”... nobody seems to really know what it is you buy when you buy an e-book. Case in point: http://www.techdirt.com/art...

Roberto Alsina / 2012-10-23 01:54:

They have delivered:

* A computer
* Two Kindles
* Lots and lots of stuff I have read

Sure, I would prefer to be assured of the permanency of the reading material, but I am not a book fetichist. After I read it, it's read.

Considering that the local booksellers:

1) Just don't have what I want to read.
2) When they do have it, they charge me ~ 5x what amazon charges
3) When they do have it and I pay those stupid prices, the translations are pathetic
4) While the translations are pathetic, they don't carry the originals

Honestly? If Amazon told me they were renting me books for 3 months I would still get the books from them because of the pure stupidity, greed and incompetency of their local competition.

Fede Heinz / 2012-10-23 17:43:

Sure: if the button said “Get a limited license” instead of “Purchase”, it would be a lot more honest. But in light of Amazon's use of their DRM as a blunt instrument, I'd say that they are not devoid of stupidity, greed or incompentence, even if they compare favorably to the local competition.

Roberto Alsina / 2012-10-23 17:49:

Nobody is perfect.

I seem to have four choices:

1) Read from the very limited catalog of free stuff I don't particularly want to read.
2) Read from a limited catalog of things I may or may not want to read, and pay a lot for it
3) Read from a huge catalog that has most things I want to read, cheap
4) Get "free" stuf and screw the authors.

So far, number 3 wins by far.

Fede Heinz / 2012-10-24 14:38:

Indeed, the state of the art is not particularly satisfactory.

Actually, you missed an “er” at the end of #3. E-books on Amazon are cheaper than physical copies in local bookstores, but they are not comparable things, and Amazon even had to settle on accusations of price fixing. There is no reason why e-books should cost almost as much as the physical copy, as the costs are much lower, and that's even before considering stuff like them being able to yank already-paid-for stuff from your library on a whim. And no: the high price does not mean that authors get paid more for electronic copies than they do for physical copies. They don't.

On #4, there's growing evidence that DRM has a far worse impact on authors than sharing has, so an s/authors/publishers/ may be in order there, and it's really doubtful that we should care if those get shafted.

Roberto Alsina / 2012-10-24 14:49:

Amazon's catalog is both cheaper (than the alternatives) and cheap (I have read lots of decent stuff for a dollar or so).

As for both products being comparable, they certainly are functionally comparable. I end up reading the same thing. They are not physically comparable, but I don't really care because I am not a fetichist about books. A book is a way to get text to my eyes. So is an ebook in the kindle.

If I don't pay anything, which is implied by the "free" there, obviously the author gets no money from me. Any money is more money than no money. When the authors sell directly, I buy from them. When they don't, I buy through their chosen channel.

Fede Heinz / 2012-10-24 16:36:

You don't need to be a book fetichist to enjoy the added value of a physical book. You may, for instance, enjoy lending and borrowing books, or the idea of giving your childhood book collection to your kids...

In any case, my point was that a physical book is indeed much more expensive to produce and distribute than an e-book. This fact is highlighted by the fact that Amazon and others do those $1 promotions, which would only be profitable with physical books if the alternative were to pay for the garbage collector to remove them from the premises.

What I'm pointing out is that there's a serious market distortion going on here. Of course, it survives because electronic distribution is so efficient that it still provides perceived, despite the large distortion. Fortunately, it won't last.

Roberto Alsina / 2012-10-24 18:07:

You are in the unfortunate position of arguing that it's better to do something in a way I prefer not doing because of reasons we value differently. That never works.

Fede Heinz / 2012-10-24 23:15:

Actually, I'm not. I have not arguing you should do anything different. I didn't even suggest it. I just brought some nuance and perspective to your Amazon cheerleading.

Now, here's an actual suggestion (one I've made to you a couple of times before): when answering something, it's good manners to first read it carefully. :-)

Roberto Alsina / 2012-10-24 23:42:

"arguing that it's better to do [something differently]" != "arguing that I should do [something differently]" so allow me to ask you to read too ;-)

In fact you don't even suggest better alternatives, you just argue abstractly.

Fede Heinz / 2012-10-25 16:01:

Sorry, wrong. I only argued that Amazon does things that I consider dishonest. If you read that as meaning “it's better to do [something differently]”, then it's entirely in your mind. In fact, your second sentence seems to imply that you realize that yourself.

Roberto Alsina / 2012-10-25 16:07:

Me: "I like X and Y, because of A and B"
You: "X and Y are not so good because of C and D"

Like I said, that's an argument that doesn't work, because:

a) You propose no better alternative, so it's not a constructive argument, just abstract arguing for the sake of arguing.
b) I know about C and D, but are not important enough for me to switch from X and Y to any of the alternatives.

And sorry, but read the thread, it's clear that you disapprove of Amazon and their practices, and consider them dishonest. If that's not arguing for doing something differently, then ... oh, forget it, you win,whatever. I will not even try to have the last word. Post your nitpicking for the day, *then* I will close comments in this post.