One Kindle User’s Experience

Mari Silbey —  April 16, 2008

After the explosive hype around Amazon’s launch of the Kindle, things have gone kinda quiet on the new e-book reader, with the exception of reports on shipping delays last month. So are people buying the Kindle? Are they using it? Are they liking it?

I can’t answer any of those questions, but I can relate one Kindle user’s experience. A certain unnamed relative of mine received a Kindle last Christmas. She’s not a techie. She’s not using the Kindle to keep up with RSS feeds or for most other Web uses related to the Whispernet connection. She’s using it to read books. Lots and lots and lots of them. And she loves it.

Said relative is the kind of customer Amazon must covet for the Kindle. Recently we talked about buying a pair of books and then exchanging them next time we saw each other. I went out and bought my book in short order, but she decided she couldn’t wait and ordered the book for her Kindle that day. Turns out she already had a hard copy too! It’s a good thing Amazon warns users when they’re about to re-purchase an e-volume.

I could regain half the real-estate in my house if we ditched real books for their electronic versions. It’s not likely to happen any time soon, but clearly the Kindle is a good substitute for some book junkies. And if anyone reads books in the next generation – the truly digital, but also ADD generation – the Kindle is proof against Sony that e-reading has a promising future… delivering instant gratification.

9 responses to One Kindle User’s Experience

  1. A few co-workers have Kindles. At first they seemed pretty fired up, but I have a feeling they’re now collecting dust. I think one owner went back to his Sony eReader which seems to have a better display – which may trump Amazon’s instant download mechanism. Then again, I’m not sure they’re frequent book readers. I’ve been in the airport a few times wishing I had one, but I’m probably waiting for v2…

  2. Standard “use at your own risk” and “caveat emptor” apply, but there are Kindle jail breaking…err “liberation” resources, one of which is, surprisingly, Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200140600

    Lists ways to read .pdfs, listen to MP3s and have your email sent to the device.

    I will leave making “creative” use of the Sprint EVDO for others to comment on.

  3. i know a guy who works at e-ink, he said the amazon keeps a staff of people to answer questions live that you type into the kindle. he has an e-ink watch too, totally jealous…

    i don’t read much, but i suspect if i did, i would love the kindle

  4. I’ve had my Kindle for about 2 months now and it gets daily use. Absolutely a fantastic device. I was always skeptical of e-readers just because I can’t read for long periods from a standard computer display but the e-ink displays don’t fatigue my eyes any more than reading from paper does. The ability to instantly buy from the Amazon store is the big selling point for me. There are a bunch of resources out there for free e-books as well.

    I recommend http://www.mobileread.com

  5. I have had a Kindle for about 1 month. I purchased it for two reasons. 1) I like the ability to instantly purchase a book and 2) I wanted usable access to Project Gutenberg. It works great, I have read several books over this period of time, and I like the device. I don’t use it for e-mail, web, RSS feeds, etc. I have a laptop and Crackberry for those things.

    I think people have a little bit of a hard time understanding this isn’t like an HDTV. The device doesn’t make the content “better”. It’s a book. That’s it. You read.

    It does make dealing with the content better. It improves the form factor (for multiple books). It improves your ability to get content faster. My laptop and my crackberry both can read e-books too. However, they are lousy for “reading”. I don’t use them for that. This is a purpose built device that does its job well.

    Is it worth $400? I have no idea. I’m a gadget guy. I like gadgets. I have a lot of them. The device works, and does what it promises to. If the things it does well sound cool to you, you’ll like it. If they don’t, you won’t like it.

  6. “I could regain half the real-estate in my house if we ditched real books for their electronic versions”

    Don’t even think about it.

  7. Matt has it it right. It’s a reader. I’ve had mine only about a week and I love it. I see people carping about it not doing things, such as Web browsing, as well as other devices. But that’s not the Kindle’s main purpose. It’s a reader. It’s also a first generation product.

    While others are content to wait for version 2.0, I’m happily reading books, periodicals, blogs and other stuff I can take with me everywhere. I love the almost instantaneous downloads, the easy on the eye e-ink screen, the ease of purchase on Amazon, etc., etc., etc. There’s a lot to like in this product. Will it get better in version 2.0? Sure. But meanwhile, I’m a happy Kindler.

  8. Still happy after all these months….
    This thread hasn’t had an update since April but I wanted to note that I have been using the Kindle daily since its purchase. While there’s nothing new in the press, there’s LOTS new on Amazon; they continue to post new books. If you love reading, you’ll love the Kindle.

  9. hi Mari, we just launched a social network for kindle owners and book lovers yesterday evening.
    We’re in pre-Alpha – Would appreciate it if you and your Kindle owning relative would join and help build the community (amazonkindle.ning.com – moving to a more book oriented url during alpha)
    More details at http://thekindle.wordpress.com/2008/07/12/social-network-for-kindle-owners-and-book-lovers/ including ‘3 Free Kindles in the first 3 months’ promotion and other information.