Sheila O'Kelly's Blog

Freelance journalist, sub-editor, and e-novelist

Kindle review

with 5 comments


Review: Kindle 2 International


I live in Ireland and have had the Kindle for a few weeks now. Overall, I love it even though there are many things that I would change about it. Would I buy another one if this one went missing – definitely.
Please note that if you try any of the workarounds I describe below it is at your own risk!

The Kindle costs $259 from Amazon.com. In addition, there are charges for customs and postage.

Good points

  • Easy to read – paper ink works very well and there is no noticeable eye strain.
  • Easy to turn pages.
  • Easy to download free sample chapter from Amazon.
  • Easy to buy books from Amazon.
  • Most books relatively cheap, about €7.
  • Easily fits in handbag.
  • Print size easy to change.
  • Great having a selection of books to choose from.
  • If someone else in your household has a Kindle, you can share your book library.
  • You can email text, Word and PDFs to your personal account at Amazon and they will be converted into text for Kindle and emailed back to you, when you can drag and drop them onto your Kindle (when it is connected to your computer via the USB cable).
  • Some other file formats can also be converted.
  • You can now drag and drop PDF files directly onto the Kindle without converting them.

Bad points

  • Many Amazon books are not available to readers outside the US.
  • Whispernet internet connection to Amazon store is frequently unavailable – although that may be the recent stormy weather.
  • No cover supplied.
  • Shipped from US with US type plug – come on!
  • Cries out for touch-screen. It would make the space used by the keyboard at the bottom available for the reading screen.
  • Cannot lend books bought to other people unless they are one of your four nominated Kindle users.
  • Because there is no backlight you need the same type of light that you do for a paperbook. But a clip-on light works very well.
  • No free books available from Amazon outside the US.
  • Some PDF files are difficult to read on the Kindle screen.

Workarounds

Free books

You can get free books from Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page). They provide downloads to books that are out of copyright.  I have installed the free Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/) software that is genius at converting these books and uploading them to the Kindle. The format to look for is mobipocket.

There are also lots of DRM free books available at www.smashwords.co.uk where you can download the mobipocket version and use Calibre to convert them.

Free Irish Times, Guardian, New Yorker, Wired

You can subscribe to newspapers for a hefty monthly fee from Amazon. But with Calibre you can create your own newspapers for the Kindle using the newspapers RSS feeds. This does take a while to set up the first time, but after that they are delivered automatically to your Kindle from Calibre every time you connect the Kindle to your computer with the USB cable.

For example, I created a Kindle Irish Times by using the Irish Times RSS feeds for: Frontpage & News Digest, Ireland, Finance, Features and Weekend. And of the Guardian by using its RSS feeds for: G2, Features, Fashion and Technology

I have also subscribed to parts of the New Yorker and Wired.

Even if you can’t be bothered creating your own News links, Calibre has many of them already tagged and you just click and pick which ones you want.

I don’t read these every day, but when I have an unexpected half-hour free or at the weekend, it’s great to have them easily available all in the same place.
Calibre instructions are easy to follow.

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Written by SOKNH

November 25, 2009 at 15:43

Posted in 1, Technology

5 Responses

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  1. Great info! I just got my Kindle, and I’m very happy with it. I love the tip you give about converting RSS feeds. I’ll have to try that one.

    Melissa Blavos

    December 10, 2009 at 13:24

    • Thanks for comment Melissa. Glad you found the info useful.

      sheilaokelly

      December 10, 2009 at 18:56

  2. Is there a class or school you can go to to learn to be a professional SEO expert?

    SEO

    January 11, 2010 at 01:05

  3. Nice article.

    Patkung

    September 13, 2010 at 15:53


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