Best e-book reader

Yes, it is now time to get a Kindle. You all have likely seen the many reviews and hoopla around e-books. I myself had planned to sit on the sidelines and let some of this technology mature before purchasing an e-book reader. But when Neal Stephenson sent me an advance copy of the 960 page Anathem in PDF format, I realized that it was time for me to get one. I had played around with the previously-reviewed Sony version, but decided to purchase the Amazon Kindle (1st generation) which had recently come out. At the time, this was primarily because it had the widest available e-book selection, and it seemed like that would only get better due to Amazon’s relationship with publishers (there are now over 240,000 books in Kindle format).

However, after owning a Kindle for several months, and having just upgraded to the Kindle 2, I have discovered the real reason why you want one. It is because you think of books that you want to read while you are reading other books. On the Kindle you have the unique ability to buy the book right then and there, while you are thinking about it, and it appears on the device moments later all via a free cellphone link they call Whispernet. This feature is one of the least discussed, and to me most useful parts of owning a Kindle, especially compared to the other readers out there. It is because of this feature that I am now reading more than ever.

The fact that the books are less expensive, instantaneous, and you can carry a whole library of them everywhere you go is just icing on the cake. The E-ink screen, built in dictionary, and search functionality are all as good as you want them to be. For those of you who like to travel light, e-books really excel; I even put mine in a ziplock and read it in the bathtub. So far I like all the improvements in the Kindle 2, my only wish is they could get an FAA exemption so I could read during take off and landing. Nevertheless, I made a new cover for Kindle 2 with my laser cutter out of a copy of Green Eggs and Ham (pics below). My Kindle is now FAA-approved 🙂


[Note: Amazon recently released a Kindle iPhone App. If anyone can report positively or negatively, please let us know in the comments below or via the submit page!]

-- Alexander Rose 03/6/09

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