February 9, 2009

The Kindle 2.

If you're thinking of buying the new Kindle 2, please use this link and you'll be supporting this blog (without paying more for the Kindle).

As you may remember, I got the original Kindle and initially thought it was cool, then abandoned it for one big reason: the gray-on-gray "Etch-a-Sketch" screen.

The copy on the new one says:
Improved Display: Reads like real paper; now boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and even crisper images.
I don't care how many shades of gray there are. If you want it to "read like real paper," the background should be white and the text should be black. Screw gray!

Anyway, Amazon ought to ship me a free Kindle 2 after taking my money for what was for me an unusable Kindle 1. I promise to give it an honest review. I will say the new one looks better, apparently it's not wedge-shaped anymore. But I need to see the screen.

ADDED: Try the Stanza app for the iPhone. I like that. It's free and you can download lots of free books too. Any classic book is easily available. I've been reading Mark Twain. The text is black-on-white on the clear, brightly lit screen. Kindle seems to be aimed at people who feel that a lit screen is hurting their eyes. That's not me. I look at a lit screen all day long and enjoy it.


Graham Nash said...

Anyway, Amazon ought to ship me a free Kindle 2 after taking my money for what was for me an unusable Kindle 1.

Label: pathetic whiny arguments

Will said...

It certainly looks nicer than the previous version. But I can't bring myself to pay to download books. I rarely even buy new books - the used bookstore and the library are much more my speed.
I'm currently re-reading Tom Clancy, and Without Remorse is $6.39 on the Kindle and in a used hardcover or paperback for one cent. Even with shipping, I'll take the physical book at that kind of discount.

traditionalguy said...

Can we order one at Borders and have them include every Obama worship book preloaded at no extra cost? This Kindle 2 will do the trick for the reader on the peopleless Twilight Zone episode... unless he's clumsy like our novice President. One more thought, how many kindle 2's can be given away for a mere 1 billion stimulus dollars? We can demand that Pelossi and Reid place the order thru our Professoress.

Psychedelic George said...

Soon these things will be given away like razors to build brand loyalty.

Buy four books, get a free Kindle.

"Our vision is every book ever printed in any language all available in 60 seconds," said Bezos...

500,000 sold; estimated revenues to Amazon $1.2b by next year.

In five years, textbooks will be obsolete. No more kids schlumping off like mountain climbers weighted down with paper.

GeorgeH said...

By the looks of Amazon's own publicity pics, it's still not a usable black on white screen.

Kindle 3?

Synova said...

Black on white is bad, though. But it should be something that you look at it and say, that's black on white.

The paper in books isn't white either.

Leland said...

Always black and white with you, no shades of gray allowed.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Try the Stanza app for the iPhone.

Yeah, the kindle is a rip off. Both a laptop and a phone do a better job and are more useful. Screw the kindle, we're in a depression, if I do conspicuous consumption it will be on new shoes.

Chris Wren said...

I saw some images of the new Kindle. It's ugly. It's just a book reader. My iPod touch is a book reader and a hundred other things. It's still sexy-looking and it fits in my pocket. Apart from the issue of battery life, I can't imagine why someone would choose a Kindle over an iPhone/Pod. Does the Kindle even display Word docs and PDF's?

Ann Althouse said...

"Does the Kindle even display Word docs and PDF's?"

Yes. You can upload your own documents, etc.

You can also read blogs and news feeds.

Beth said...

Yay for Stanza.

Recently, current fiction and non-fiction became available as well. Try fictionwise.com.

k*thy said...

My husband wants one for his Continental Divide hike. This second design seems more suited for that. For me, I'm intrigued, but will stick with Stanza or the real thing.

Chris Wren said...

"You can also read blogs and news feeds"

Well, that's something, although these days I expect my toothbrush to be able to do that. I guess price is an issue too, although it seems like a false economy - at the current price-point per function, for the Kindle to do everything an iproduct does it would cost thousands of dollars. I respect early adopters who gave the Kindle a chance, but it's been left in the dust.

Also, if you don't mind paying for books, the E-reader app is excellent and the selection of books on their site is huge - and current.

Leland said...

So clicked link. Never saw a Kindle before. Here's my problem, I don't do a lot of book reading in sunlight. So that feature is not exciting to me. I like to read in bed. It's not backlit, and that's a good thing according to Amazon. The only reason I would want a digital book over a good paperback is that the digital could be lit easier, but that's not a feature.

blake said...

Costs about the same as an OLPC XO, I think. (Of course, you're buying two XOs and sending one to a village in Peru or something.)

Sloanasaurus said...

I have the Kindle 1 and I like it a lot. I never thought I would say it but reading the Wall Street Journal is much better on the Kindle than the paper.

What makes the Kindle work is not the reader itself but the service you can access through Amazon. Its awesome to be able to download a paper anywhere any time for 75 cents.

The news feed are also nice except that they are all communist news feeds.

The bad thing is that Kindles are expensive. After Obama's big tax increase next year, no one will be able to afford them.

ark said...

There is a good reason for gray-scale capability even if you use it just to display black-and-white text -- by careful shading of the edges of letters (i.e. dithering), it is possible to make them look much sharper and less ragged with less actual resolution.

Computer displays do this all the time; if you look at one with a strong magnifier, you can often see it.

ark said...

Correction to my last comment: When I said dithering, I meant anti-aliasing.

Joe Veenstra said...


I'm curious what Twain you are reading. He is my favorite. He is very dark in his later stuff and surprisingly modern, in my opinion.


Alex said...

Whoever compared the IPod Touch with the Kindle, 3.5" vs 6" in screen size. So it's not a fair comparison.

Alex said...

Chris Wren - you are comparing apples(no pun intended) and oranges. Sure the IPod/IPhone is multi-featured, but as a pure e-book reader, the Kindle offers a better experience(larger screen with grey scales).

Beth said...

Just read a few more pages in my re-enjoyment of Stephenson's The Baroque Trilogy while I waited for then ate my scrumptious oyster po'boy. The iPhone leans nicely against the standard issue napkin holder on the formica table. And my iPhone is always in my bag or a pocket, so how much more convenient can it be?

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm curious what Twain you are reading. He is my favorite. He is very dark in his later stuff and surprisingly modern, in my opinion."

I'm reading "Innocents Abroad."

Dante said...

There are even more electronic book options for the iPhone/iPod Touch:
• Classics app. - if you want really beautiful book design, beyond Stanza or eReader, Classics is a great choice. Though there are very few titles, the book design is great.
• Google Books - 1.5 Million books from the Google Books project, and now magazines too - all available on your iPhone/iPod Touch. Go to the following URL in Safari on your iPhone/iPod:
• There has also been a rumor going around the Mac sites that Amazon is working on making all their Kindle books available for and workable on iPhone/iPod Touch. Just a rumor so far as I know now.

Shawn Levasseur said...

"There has also been a rumor going around the Mac sites that Amazon is working on making all their Kindle books available for and workable on iPhone/iPod Touch. Just a rumor so far as I know now."

From what I've read, it's more than a rumor.

Look at this photo: http://xrl.us/befo78

This is from today's presentation of the new Kindle. The slide about 'Whispersyc' describes the feature as, "Automatic wireless sync among Kindle, Kindle 2, and in the future, other mobile devices" (emphasis mine)

They'd be fools not to provide a Kindle reader for the iPhone/iPod Touch. E-book sales would go through the roof, and publishing would never be the same again.

vbspurs said...

Hey Ann, just to let you know I only this moment placed an order for the 2.0 -- I used your link.

Hope you've been getting the benefits...


Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Victoria.