Enjoying my Kindle 3 – a review

Did I mention that I bought myself a Kindle for my birthday? (The new, Kindle 3 version.) Oh yeah, I did. And I’m loving it so far. (grinning) I got myself the Kindle 3G (Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6), which was $189, but there’s also a Kindle Wi-Fi without the 3G (internet access like cell phones use) for $139. I almost got that one, but I decided I wanted the fun and ease of purchasing ebooks instantly wherever I am, not just when I’m in my own wi-fi area or free wi-fi access. I researched the various ebook readers available, and decided that the Kindle looked like the best fit for me, and the one that people most consistently recommend as a good reading experience.

Right now I’m finding a lot to love about the Kindle. I do indeed like the screen–the e-ink screen that is NOT backlit, and so easier on the eyes–more like an actual book. I like that I can change the font if a font feels too small (or too big). I love the easy-to-use forward and backward buttons on *both* sides of the Kindle; it makes it really easy to turn pages when reading left or right handed (or both). The buttons (including for text, home, back, etc) are intuitive, and press easily. I love that I can carry thousands and thousands of books around without weighing down my bag.

The Kindle is easy to use–so easy that you can use it right out of the box. (Though I love that they include a detailed user guide, that you can read in your leisure or look up items in–as well as a quick-start guide.) The Kindle itself is easy to hold. It’s actually easier to hold, at least for me, than a thick hardcover book (which hurts my hands).

I love, love, love that I can take notes or “highlight” any section of a book. I would never highlight a paper book–I treat them with such care–but I do have post-it notes stuck all through some of my favorite books with notes on them. So the note and highlight features in the Kindle are much appreciated. I also love that I can *search* for anything in a book–which is very useful to find a specific section in someone else’s book–or in my own document. I also love that I can search my entire Kindle, or collection of books, for a particular title or author–OR search the store–OR search google, wikipedia, or the included dictionary. I also love being able to look up a word while I’m reading, if I’m so inclined, and am glad they included both an American and a British dictionary. The ability to take notes and to look up words in the included dictionary are part of why I chose the Kindle.

I also love that I can put Word and text documents (and more) on my Kindle, and can read them. I can put my own manuscript that I’m working on, on the Kindle! Or, I suppose, ebooks for review (though I still prefer actual paper books.)

There’s little things I love, too, about the design–such as that you don’t have to move the cursor to anywhere to search; you just start typing in a word–and that, when you’re typing a symbol, the symbol box stays open and you can easily and quickly enter more symbols or numbers until you close the box. Incredibly well designed!

I like that you can make collections of your ebooks (or Audible audiobooks)–organize them in ways that make sense to you. And I like that there’s a web browser, where I can look up something on the go.

I love Kindle’s integration with Audible. Since I’m still healing from a concussion, I can’t read anything very long without my eyes starting to burn or words blurring. So it’s been lovely to be able to purchase audiobooks, and then have them automatically listed in my Kindle, waiting for me to simply click on them to download.

I also really love that I can purchase ebooks and get them on my Kindle almost instantly.

There are a few things I’m not completely enamored by, but they are small things, and mostly in the experimental stage, so I think they don’t totally count. I have quite a number of audiobooks on CDs. I had thought I would be able to copy them over and play them easily, the way I do my Audible audiobooks–complete with fast forward, reverse, (and doing that by chapters or 30 seconds), and more. But noooo, when you transfer MP3s over by yourself, you don’t even get to see your list. They simply play in the order that you put them in. You can skip to the next one–but you can’t see which one you’re skipping to. Incredible un-intuitive and frustrating!! BUT the MP3 player is in an experimental stage right now. I think, if they keep it on, they’ll change it. At least, I hope they will. I also wish that I could purchase Audible audiobooks directly from my Kindle, and easily, without having to go to my web browser and go to Audible. I also wish that the web browser was a bit easier to use–that the pages would stay larger and easier to read, and that sites would remember my login and password info.

The Kindle shows images when it turns itself off–sort of like a screen saver, except one image stays there. But when you turn it on again, the next time it turns off a different image appears; they rotate. The images are mostly of famous classic authors, and some book or reader illustrations of old. I wish I could choose what images I want to appear, and/or delete images I really don’t like. It would be cool if there were user-created images available–sort of like FireFox does with Persona.

I wish the browsing for ebooks was more…intuitive. I want to be able to chose the order that the books appear in–such as by date published, or most popular, etc. I also really want the ability to filter out books–such as free ebooks from the ones for a price, since most of the ebooks that are listed as bestsellers in the beginning of the lists are all free ebooks, usually classics or types I’m not interested in. (I do read classics, and have downloaded a bunch to read, but I want to be able to search for contemporary YA and cihldren’s books more easily.) And I wish there was a clickable list of, say, bestsellers in each category, including NY Times bestsellers. I also wish it would separate out the free ebooks from the truly purchased ebooks; I would like my recommendations to be based on the books I actually purchase, not the free ones I downlead. And I wish it integrated with the paper books I’ve bought on Amazon, so that it knew already what I like and could recommend more accurately.

I don’t like that there’s no ability to use a storage card. Since I listen to a lot of audiobooks, at least right now, I want to put a lot more onto my Kindle–but they take up a lot of room. A slot for a storage card would take care of that. And I’ve found that the battery goes really fast if you’re listening to audio books and if you leave wi-fi on.

I also wish–and this is just a wish–that all paper books were available to purchase as ebooks. I’ve searched a number of books and authors I love, and found to my dismay that they’re not available as ebooks, or that one or two in a series are but not the whole series or author’s collection.

I know I’m dreaming here, but I really wish there was color, so I could read picture books in all their glory, and see the covers of books the way they’re meant to. But since most of my ebook reading right now are YA novels, this isn’t a problem–just a wish. (Though I would read a heck of a lot more picture books that way if I could–as well as via paper books. I’ll never stop loving paper books.)

As a Canadian, I was charged a shipping fee AND a Customs fee via Amazon.com, while US citizens got free shipping. That, er, bugged me.

But the things I’m missing are *mostly* wishlist items.

Right now, I am delighted in my Kindle. It is easy to use, easy to carry and to hold, and enjoyable!

(PS. I LOVE paper books–that isn’t going to change. I love the feel of them, the smell of them, the way you physically turn the pages. But I also love tech gadgets, and the Kindle is lovely.)

Do I recommend the Kindle 3? With a resounding YES!

About Cheryl Rainfield

I write the books I needed and couldn't find as a teen. I write teen fiction--paranormal fantasy and gritty realistic fiction. I'm the author of SCARS (WestSide Books, 2010) #1 ALA QuickPicks, and Governor General Literary Award Finalist, HUNTED (WestSide Books, Oct 2011), STAINED (Harcourt, 2013), The Last Dragon (HIP Books, Sept 2009), and Walking Both Sides (HIP Books, 2011). I also enjoy drawing, surfing the web, connecting with people I like, doing crafts, and being with my dog.
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