*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Monday 25 November 2013

Kindle Paperwhite - One Year

Yes I'd recommend it, but it's not a substitute for a library or books.  This was my take when I first bought it.
I stand by what I said then:
It's a bit of a quirky device...  As a book it works pretty well, though not as well for paging through of course, but much better for text by weight and volume.  If it cost much more I'd be annoyed at its limitations, but given that you can get some books free or near to it, and all other books at a fraction of their paper-price, it is a good deal as a portable bookshelf, or should I say, library...  Recommend it?  Do you read a lot of books?  Do you live outside an English speaking country?  Do you never plan to get used or library books anymore because of possible lice infestation?  Do you go on long trips and are tired of carrying several books at a time to ensure reading?  There you go.
I do miss print books, but having the device it's hard to pay double for print.  I find myself reading it much less than I did, but that's more having a second child, and a smartphone I use for reading news on the train, than  issues with the device.  Smartphone: there is no comparison.  The Paperwhite is a good book reader with a seemingly limitless battery, if you keep wifi off; the smartphone lets me do everything else, but only for about two hours.  When I travel I take an external battery, but have never had to use it on the Paperwhite.

The device also allows me to carry on it, at all times, a mountaineering and camping techniques book, a book on emergency expedition medicine, an exhaustive bicycle repair book, a complete Shakespeare, half a dozen issues of Granta...  Yes, I could put all of these on a smartphone or a tablet, and even use black screen with white print both to use less power and relieve my eyes, but I'd have to worry about the battery much more.  Besides, when on an Internet connected device, you're probably going to get distracted from your Dostoevsky.

A smartphone is now a given, so if you're going to buy another portable device you do: for a bigger screen, for a longer battery life, or for a keyboard.  If you need to type a lot you still want a laptop, but you might make do with a tablet and keyboard.  If you don't need to type a lot, but want a media device as much (or more) than a reader, you get a tablet.  The laptop, smartphone and tablet suck juice, so you stay close to civilization even with an external battery; you could go further afield with a solar charger, if you don't need a reliable power source, or mind the weight.  An eReader gives you a week of reading on one charge, and gets you off the Internet.


  1. Yep. I used to evangelise for the Kindle. These days, I just think it’s a good deal. But I have a new respect for print in these post-Snowden days. There’s something to be said for a medium that can fly under the radar.

  2. Yep, that all sounds about right. I'd also say that the wifi is pretty buggy on mine, but I do like the fact I can load up pdf files and highlight them. The fact that it collects all the highlights in a single files is a nice feature when it comes to writing stuff up.

    Still can't quite bring myself to go fully digital though...

    1. I have highlighted plenty, and never gone back to look. I have not loaded pdf or other files, either. I am not a Luddite, but I have a low tolerance for learning new technical skills, unless the payoff is greater than the time taken.

      As for what you've read monitored, it's a bit late for me. Hell, 'Se7en' was made almost twenty years ago, and Morgan Freeman's character states that library withdrawals are monitored. Believable now.

  3. The battery life would be a big benefit for me; I use iBooks for reading now, but my iPhone goes from 100% to zero in just a few hours...

    1. There's not much you can do, but these may double the duration:
      - negative colour screen, black screen with white print
      - 'airplane mode', cell and wifi connections turned off

      Failing that, an external battery, which I do not carry day to day, but is a godsend for any trip of more than several hours away from charging.

    2. And don't use any music or media while reading off of it.

  4. Just ordered the step-tyke a kindle for his holiday gift. He has no interest in paper books but he enjoys reading on my Surface. Since I want him to improve his reading (he is FAR below where he should be in terms of comprehension and reading skills) I am all for him wanting to read. If that means a kindle then so be it, reading saved my sanity and I hope it can prove useful to him as well.