Review of Amazon Kindle 2

My wife recently bought me a Kindle 2. Here are some of the things I loved about it

  • easy to change font size
  • easy to read - Jakob Nielson said it is roughly the same speed as reading a regular book
  • lightweight - 10.2 ounces
  • easy to travel with
  • solves my buying too many books and bookshelves problem
  • you can store notes in it (everything is backed up on Amazon's servers)
  • You can search against all your books and notes in it (which really turns it into a powerful reference library...makes me want to buy about 3 or 4 of them to store different topics in) . This should be VERY powerful for looking well researched and finding money quotes. Steven Johnson (one of my favorite authors) uses Devonthink when he writes a book.
  • it has an audio/reader version baked in
  • it has an Oxford dictionary baked in
  • new books are typically only $9.99 and take less than a minute to download
  • it starts off where you last read

While it has many shades of gray, it lacks color and does not have a touch screen interface. It is a nice device and will make moving far easier than it would have been if I kept buying so many physical books.

If books get more interactive with more permiable barriers when they are digitized then they may play a much bigger role in the web graph. Google's copyright settlement with authors and publishers may make Google more likely to promote books:

“When someone goes to Google, they've got a question in mind and an answer they need,” Jennie Johnson, a Google spokesper son told DMNews. “We don't really care where [on the Web] that answer comes from. If it comes from a book, great; if it comes from a Web page, fine.”

One of the things I regret over the past couple years is that I let my reading slide. If early usage is any indication of future usage then hopefully the Kindle will help me get into reading more often.

Published: March 9, 2009 by Aaron Wall in book reviews


March 10, 2009 - 1:47pm

One more super-cool thing about the Kindle, they just released an iPhone ap and it's free and you can now access all of your Kindle account books on your iPhone easily. I agree about the color, that's the biggest downside, IMO.

March 10, 2009 - 1:51pm

Just out of curiosity, any downsides that you've come across so far? My wife and I are pondering a Kindle, but one of the things we keep wondering about is the scope of what's available on the Kindle and the disadvantage of the $9.99 price tag once a book has been out for a while and is available in paperback.

March 10, 2009 - 3:40pm

The main downside for me is the lack of color. Other things I may miss when reading some types of books are doggie ears and writing on the books...though those should be replaceable by the inline highlighting and note taking tool.

March 10, 2009 - 2:45pm

A few days ago I pounded out my own review of the Kindle. Like you I am enthusiastic, even amazed. I have always panned book reading technology. I did not think it would ever reach a point that I would rather have an electronic device in my hand than a book. It just goes to show how bad I am at the "vision thing". That's why I read your blog, to get my daily dose of vision;)

March 10, 2009 - 6:06pm

I love the idea of this thing. Just like I think the Ipod represents the greatest of the 20th century, the Kindle has the legs to follow suit. Unfortunately, I'm old school. I like to hold the newspaper while I drink my coffee... and wash the newsprint off after. I also like to hold that book in my hand. However, down the road when my kindle will have every published book in every language at my fingertips... well, that's just telepathy isn't it?

March 10, 2009 - 7:01pm

Hey Aaron (or anyone else with a Kindle)
When you look a word up with the dictionary, does it store your look-ups in a database? That would be sweet to be able to go back and review all of the nice new words you learned.

March 10, 2009 - 8:10pm

Hey Aaron,

I'd be really interested in what Iamjustinm asked, too. If it does, it would be very useful for myself and for my niche ;-).

PS: I think Jonathan Mendez was right when he stated that youtube was the second biggest "search engine" (I think he did or am I confusing something now..). I just went to youtube to search for the audio feature (and found a video demonstrating it right away).

March 10, 2009 - 8:47pm

Looking up a word is real fast. And you can take a note inside the dictionary, leaving that definition in your notes.

March 10, 2009 - 11:45pm

nice sounds interesting, thanks!

March 10, 2009 - 8:54pm

Google books has been showing up all over the serps. amazing how fast they can push their own sites, when seo outside G takes months...

March 10, 2009 - 11:03pm

Too true Gab.

I put up a video on Youtube for our seo toolbar less than a week ago, and it already ranks #5 in Google for "seo toolbar" while this page on our site (an authoritative domain) has hundreds of quality inbound links (more inbound links than the Youtube video has video views) and currently ranks #11.

March 11, 2009 - 1:46am

Hahaha looolz. I'm not whatsoever surprised.

One question I've been struggling with is whether to cave in and use Google's tools, since avoiding them on my own when so many others use them just puts me at a disadvantage (at least short term) or whether I should stick things out for the moral victory of not giving up all my data to G/resisting their monopolizing, evil empire M.O.

For Youtube, I've already given in since it's statistically so much likelier to show up in universal serps. I'm wondering whether to have someone code my own feed analytics or whether I should cave in to Feedburner. Likewise using G Website Optimizer?


March 11, 2009 - 9:23am

I don't think feed analytics matter - at all. You can view an estimate of your reader count in Google Reader
and compare it to competing sites

If you want to know your feedburner counts you can simply compare your blog to other blogs on google reader and then set up a ratio, then use their public reader counts to estimate what your counts are

where is the value add of inserting Google between yourself and your customers in yet another spot?

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