The text, the text, the text
Frankly, that never bothered me with the Kindle 3 and other Pearl-using readers, since it doesn't really hold you up any longer than turning a physical page does.
With a less regular reset, Amazon gets the Kindle 4 to turn pages a fraction of a second more quickly - except for the sixth page turn, of course - and renders the text less smooth with each turn until you get the full-screen reset.
The text as it appears after a full screen refresh (top) and then after four page turns (bottom)
If you look closely you can see characters become progressively appear more jagged over the four page turns preceding the refresh. How much that actually bothers you is something only you, as an individual, can say. The idea annoys me, but I have to admit that as I shifted my attention to what I was reading from what I was reading it on, I stopped noticing it.
And if you do, there's a 4.0.1 firmware update that lets you go back to the old refresh each page turn mode.
Likewise, whether you're willing to accept Amazon's walled garden is also a matter of personal taste. Amazon-sold e-books are DRM'd, but the Kindle will display a range of formats unencumbered by DRM.
But not the commonplace ePub format, which is plain silly. If Amazon's goal is to prevent piracy, why allow Kindle read anything other than Amazon's own .AZW format? Punters can convert non-DRM ePubs into .mobi files for the Kindle easily enough - it seems perverse to impose this unnecessary extra step, even for the sake of being seen to be doing something to tackle piracy.
The Kindle 4's small flaws prove to be less important than the much more obvious reduction in size. Amazon's offering was always cheaper than its nearest rival, Sony's Reader, but bigger. Now it's effectively the same size.
Ignore red herrings such as storage capacity and storage expansion - the Kindle 3 has sufficient space and the Cloud behind it for the rest - and you're really just left with brand and format personal preference, and pricing. If you only care about the latter, the Kindle 4 is the only e-book reader to consider. ®
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Amazon Kindle 4
re, converting ePub to .mobi
I think that the majority of Kindle users will not know how to do this and not even be aware that it can be done. Data format and file wrangling is a rare skill among the general population.
I have a *.epub file, then:
1) I drag it to every reader in the world apart from Kindle. Yup, that works. I am happy.
2) I drag it to the appropriate Kindle folder. Doesn't work. I am not happy.
99% of people DO NOT GIVE A MONKEYS about the tech detail. They just get annoyed because it works everywhere else but their lovely new Kindle. And that's why it's 'plain silly'.
Re - but don't expect a USB AC adaptor to come with it;
That's good. The whole point of USB chargers is standardisation, so you don't need a new charger whenever you buy a new gadget. Which sadly doesn't stop many manufacturers from bundling one.
I've got about six of the damned things. I don't even need a new cable every time.
1)drag epub into calibre (Free)
2)click send to device
(same goes for .mobi,HTML,CHM etc)
Simple really. if your messing about with epubs from other publishers then you can find calibre. if your a non tech savvy type who got one as a gift then chances are you don't know what epub is and think that all ebooks come from amazon.
native epub support not really an issue IMO
".epub is the source format of .azw"?
Here's the main problem with your theory: If Amazon wanted you to "compile" epubs for the Kindle they'd provide a decent compiler rather than force people to use programs like Calibre. Amazon's automatic e-mail conversion service lets you send a Microsoft Word or an HTML document to your Kindle ... but not an epub!
Also, I'm not convinced that an arbitrary MOBI file is necessarily more efficient on the device than an EPUB. MOBI has lots of different variants and no official documentation. It's possible that the AZW/MOBI files generated by Amazon are efficient on the Kindle, but the Kindle can also read a wider range of MOBI files. MOBI's based on HTML, too.
For me, Amazon's motive for avoiding EPUB remains unclear.