Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kindle Paperwhite

I just purchased my 3rd eInk based ebook reader, a Kindle Paperwhite.  Previously I owned a Sony PRS-505, then a Nook Simple Touch.  Between the Nook and the Kindle, I've been using a Nexus 7 tablet with Mantano reader (I also played with Moon+ reader for a while).

I switched to the Nexus for two reasons - one, I find that I want to read in the dark FAR more often than I want to read in full sun, so an LCD screen made sense at the time for that reason.  Two, I figured it'd be nice to have a device that I could use to browse the web, check email, play games, etc.

I felt that the screen on the Nexus 7 was fine for reading.

I'm switching back to eInk primarily BECAUSE the Nexus 7 can do so much - I found that if I had a few minutes, I would play games instead of reading, and as a result I was not getting nearly the amount of reading done that I really wanted to.  After switching, I'm also finding that apparently I've been fooling myself about the LCD screen - it's not nearly as nice to read as the eink.  I find myself reading for much longer at a stretch, an hour or two instead of 10 minutes.

Regarding the device itself, I think it's very close to being the perfect thing.  It's extremely light, the battery is said to last for weeks, the built-in light is completely perfect - absolutely uniform and extremely adjustable from barely on to as bright as it needs to be (if you need it brighter than that, then the room is bright enough that you don't need it at all).

I have a bunch of ebook content already and I am having no trouble loading it on the Kindle.  All of my existing content is in Calibre, some purchased from Baen (with no DRM), some from Google Play (with DRM stripped via Calibre plugins), some purchased from Humble bundles or other non-DRM sources, downloaded from Gutenberg or MobileRead, etc.  The Kindle is automatically recognized by Calibre when I plug it in, and I can just drag stuff to the "device" icon to load it.  I can also hit my Calibre server using the Kindle's built-in browser from anywhere, find a book, click on the "mobi" tag and it just loads up.  I do have to be sure that I've got Mobi versions of what I want, but that was easily taken care of by hitting "select all" and "bulk convert" and letting it run overnight.

I did also load a book from the Kindle store - a copy of "The DaVinci Code" that was free this week, giving me something to try loading directly.  I also was able to pull it into Kindle for PC and then drag it into Calibre, which took care of the DRM for me with not even a notification.  Perfect.

I finished a book I had been reading, then read an entire book on it Saturday, and have started a third.  At this point I have to concur with the guys at - Amazon is always improving their product, but at this point, I don't know what they could even improve on the Paperwhite.  Sure, the page turns are not instantaneous, but they're plenty fast.  The backlight is perfect.  The battery life is extreme already.  It's very, very light.  Unless they come out with color eInk, I think they may have perfected the ebook reader.


Traveller said...

Thanks for the post.

Any reason you went with Kindle vs the eInk Nook with backlight?

John Ridley said...

From everything I saw in YouTube reviews that showed them side-by-side, the Kindle is a better device. The resolution is better (1024x768 vs 800x600), the battery life is better (6 to 8 weeks versus "more than 4 weeks), and the light is far better. When placed side-by-side, the Nook Glow looks grey and weak - the contrast is better on the Kindle.

Here's an example:

The Kindle has a better home screen - if I shut off recommendations, it shows just a screen of the books I have loaded. On the Nook (at least the one I had before without the light) there was always crap on the home screen that I didn't want ("What to read next", etc) which is HIGHLY irritating to me. You can get to a library view, but it's not the first thing you see.

Once you're using Calibre as your ebook manager, the devices become commodities, you just buy whatever one is best right now. This is a very good thing, the alternative is being locked into one manufacturer.

The Kindle has the Lending Library thing on Prime - this may be a big deal to some people, it's not that useful to me because nothing else on Prime is particularly enticing to me (I don't care how fast my stuff ships, and their free video pics aren't that great either), and I read too slowly for $80/year to be worth it to not pay for books, even if it 100% covered what I want to read which is surely never going to happen. Nooks "lending" feature is basically useless - it only works on a small number of titles and you can only lend a given book one time.

Traveller said...

Thanks. That is the kind of comparison I needed.

I use Calibre for most of my books. I also have a few things on Google Play and a few more left on B&N from when I was just using the Nook.

I'll stay with the Nexus as I already own it and don't have the budget for another toy this year. I don't have problems with the display though I will admit to preferring the eInk. Better battery life would be nice, but it is good enough for my current use.