Buy once, read many
If you’ve an Amazon account – who hasn’t these days? – then setting up is pretty straightforward, or so it seems. I’ll admit that I wasn’t too keen on having to initiate 1-Click payments – something I’ve avoided thus far as the Free Super Saver deliveries are not a default option – but with on-line book buying it seems to make sense.
Manage My Kindle: there's a lot of clutter to deal with from the off
I’m not sure about the merits of having to set up your own @Kindle.com e-mail address though. This will only receive mail – attachments you’ll want to read – from designated e-mail addresses. As soon as I tried to use it a few days later, I’d forgotten the e-mail sender address I’d chosen and had to check the Manage My Kindle section on-line and send the mail again. No doubt it cuts down on handling spam, but this arrangement seems to be more for Amazon’s convenience than for its users.
Your mailings become part of your Kindle’s library and end up alongside foreign language versions of the device’s dictionaries and user guides. Luckily, you can delete or archive items and filter them to show Books, Newspapers, Magazines and the like, and your Personal Documents where all you mailings will appear together.
Purchased content appears on the desktop app too
And then there’s the Kindle Desktop application which, truth be told, rather confused me. So there’s all this stuff showing up on your on-line Kindle account, but the Kindle application shows a handful of classics provided for free and any recent purchases. The items e-mailed to your Kindle account are absent, but then again, maybe this makes sense as you most likely sent them from your computer anyway. Still, unless I'm missing a trick – beyond drag and dropping the files to the device over USB – the free classics don’t appear on the Kindle Touch itself and seem to be there merely to demonstrate the reading capabilities of the Kindle desktop application.
The connectivity extends still further as there are Kindle apps for iOS and Android. The upshot of it all is that no matter whether your using a computer, mobile device or the Kindle itself you can view your purchased books. And thanks to the Wi-Fi connectivity on all of these options, Whispersync ensures the pages will always be at the place in the book you were last reading regardless of device you were last reading on. So that’s all right then. Well, it would be if the Kindle desktop app supported PDFs – oh well, it was all so very nearly joined up.
Kindle apps on iOS and Android
Alas, books converted to Amazon’s favoured MOBI/AZW formats using apps such as Calibre and transferred using USB don’t get sync’d to the cloud either.
Next page: Sixteen shades of grey
Considering this was released in the UK back in April it leads me to wondering whether Register writers are in the habit of just reviewing whatever they happen to have got for their birthday.
Having tried both touch and button-style ebooks
I'm coming down strongly on the side of the buttons. Touch screens are all very well, but they are difficult to use one-handed (e.g. reading in bed) and you can't just pick the thing up and carry it with a bundle of other things without putting it to sleep first, lest you discover yourself six pages from where you thought you were.
It's possible that other interfaces work better - for example, browsing - but it's not something I do, so I can't comment. Though I do notice that on my Kobo touch, my fingers are often too dry to operate the touch screen.
Hmm. At least they're cheap enough now that you can by them on a whim.
Does the Kindle allow you to read e-books? Yes
Is the screen hard on your eyes? No
Does the battery last a long time? Yes
Could it be more like a smart phone? Yes
Does it need to be more like a smart phone? NO
Re: 6 inches is too small
They're 6 inches because they're designed for reading books, the most popular form-factor of which has a printed area of, about, 6 inches. If you want multi-functional, you've hit the nail on the head - spend more and get multi-functional.
First point: Change the text size, character spacing & line spacing then.
Second point: It's a split second! And on the £89 Kindle & the Touch you can have faster transitions by turning off the page refresh (will cause some ghosting though, until the refresh after the 6th page turn.)
Third point: Higher contrast in what way? Do you mean that it doesn't light up? If so, well a book doesn't light up either. Put a light on, or use a book light.
Regarding the fourth point, and the others for that matter, nobody is *forcing* you to use an ebook reader of any kind. If you prefer books and libraries, use books and libraries. Even if you do buy a Kindle or something similar it doesn't mean you can no longer read "real" books, you know.