Kindle Paperwhite

I decided to upgrade my Kindle Keyboard to the new Kindle Paperwhite. I wouldn’t usually upgrade such a device so soon (2 years after buying it) but my girlfriend was thinking of buying the basic £69 Kindle, so I used that as an excuse to let her have my old one, so I could try out the new one with the light 🙂

My first impression is that the lighted screen is beautiful to read from, and will make it easy to read in pitch-darkness. That’s the real benefit here, whether in bed at night or outside in the sun the screen just looks great. You may read reviews complaining about some unevenness in the lighting along the bottom of the screen, yes I noticed that but it’s really not an issue at all, since that part of the screen only shows your progress information anyway, not text from the book.

Unfortunately the touch screen is a major step backwards in page turning, instead of 2 large buttons on each side of the device for backwards and forwards, there’s an invisible grid on the screen tap over to the far left to go back, tap in the middle to right to go forwards, and at the top to bring up the menu. It feels clumsy and makes this device stop short of being the perfect reading device. The touch screen does make the virtual keyboard easy to use, so buying books is much easier. However I spend about 0.0001% of my time on the Kindle inputting text so I’d be happy do to without that. I often find myself getting lost in a book because I mistakenly went forwards instead of back.

So I’m mixed about this one. Great screen, but missing physical buttons. I guess Amazon need to save something back to make people upgrade again next year? 😉

Do people really feel their books?

The BBC have been running a story this afternoon about e-book sales vs printed book sales. I was surprised when a majority of the people they (unscientifically) surveyed said they preferred printed books. This was not because they can be purchased second hand for next to nothing, not because they make a great gift or because they can be passed along to a friend, but because of the way they 'feel' – really?

I have never finished a great book and been absorbed for days by the texture of the book in my hand – a satisfying plot, however has made me do just that – and digital advances can improve the reading experience by offering custom fonts, synchronsiation, character profiles, built in lights, and being easier to hold. I've probably converted about 4 people I know who said they loved the smell and feel of printed books to e-readers, because good story is what makes a good book, after all.