Amazon Kindle Wireless Reading Device

I’ve had my Amazon Kindle for a little over a month now, have taken it with me on three trips (1 business, 2 personal) and have read one entire book (The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - highly recommended) on the device. Here are my thoughts and recommendations:

Pros:

  • The Kindle is small, light, comfortable to use, and has very good battery life.
  • As promised, the device really does “disappear” - after a few minutes, you forget that you’re not reading a typical book.
  • The screen resolution is very sharp, and extended reading does not result in eye strain.
  • The device is a godsend for reference texts: full-text search capability of the books in my Kindle library is very useful, particularly when you have books like Marketing Metrics on the device.
  • The wireless EVDO connection isn’t blazingly fast, but it’s capable of rendering full web pages and browsing sites like mobile Gmail. If you’re not willing to pony up $30/month for mobile web access on your cell phone, the Kindle is a decent substitute.
  • It’s easy to load your own text files, so you can download free books from Project Gutenberg without too much hassle, as well as your own text files. I uploaded several checklists and reference documents to my Kindle, which has been unexpectedly useful.

Cons:

  • Only ~30% of the books on the Personal MBA Recommended Reading List are available for the Kindle (although this will likely improve over time).
  • If you already own paper copies of your books, you have to purchase them again for the Kindle, which is cost-prohibitive. (If Amazon ever offers a free (or very inexpensive) Kindle edition with the purchase of a paper book, I’ll be in heaven.)
  • At the moment, the Kindle doesn’t natively support PDF files due to fixed-positioning issues, somewhat limiting its utility as a reference text device.

Overall: I’m very impressed with this device, and I’m glad I purchased it - it’s a great addition to my mobile office. At this stage of development, it won’t completely replace my physical library, but it allows me to carry a large, searchable inventory of books wherever I go, which makes it well worth the price. The “free” mobile web access is icing on the cake.

Recommendation: If you typically carry a large stack of books with you or travel semi-regularly, the Amazon Kindle is a no-brainer. Otherwise, hold out for version 2.0.


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