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August 1, 2011 / Rohit


I bought the Amazon kindle two days back and till now I have been impressed. The Kindle is a light, thin and functional e-book reader. It’s not sexy. I doubt if any of my friends envy me for having it. The things which I like about it are:

  1. It does feel like reading a book. The text on Kindle’s display is rendered using a technology called the e-ink, which makes the text look as if it were written on paper. The downside of e-ink being the screen-flash which happens whenever you switch to another page. I don’t find the flash irritating.
  2. It’s light and can be carried around. Which makes me believe that the Kindle should at least replace the fat technical manuals which you would never carry on a bus to read.
  3. You can pretty much not do anything else other than read. The Kindle has an experimental browser which is shitty and sluggish (mostly due to the e-ink display’s inadequacy to render moving items), but I LOVE shitty browsers. Anything which keeps me away from Facebook, Twitter, Gmail are good things. If that were not the case I would always get distracted. And this is one of the major reasons that I resisted buying an iPad. I don’t want to be wasting more of my time.
  4. PDFs are readable. I hate reading PDFs on the laptop or any backlit display. With the kindle I can email the PDF to my Kindle email and it will be available on the device. Now text in a PDF is not reflowable, so you can’t fiddle with its font size on the kindle. I mean you have the option to zoom in, but who loves horizontal scroll bars? I don’t. But for my purposes — reading papers or reports — the font size is manageable. I really feel that academic papers should either convert to a larger font size or choose a reflowable format as target. Reading on mobile devices and ebook readers should become the norm soon. Also, two column layouts should be banned!

I don’t think that the Kindle can completely replace books. Thin paperbacks are not hard to carry and I feel it’s non-trivial to make graphic novels reflowable. But I hope it at least replaces the fat and heavy technical manuals.


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