Four Questions for Kindle Owners

As part of my series on eBook readers, I asked four questions at the KindleBoards and of a few of my author friends who own a Kindle. I hope their replies help you decide if the Kindle is right for you. Also read my review of the Nook and a comparison of the Kindle vs. the Nook. And, if you own a Kindle, please answer the questions yourself in the comments!

Also, scroll to the bottom to see a video of unboxing and demo of the Kindle 3.

The Interviews

~Interview One~

I own both a K2 and a Nook. I have to say that I like my Nook better for reading than the kindle. It's more comfortable to hold in your hand 'naked' (without cover). I happen to like the lcd touch screen on the bottom for navigation, swiping for page turns, picking a book to read by viewing images of the covers in color. I do like the 5 way controller on the Kindle for navigation, it is faster than the nook.

Why did you choose the Kindle over other readers?

I chose the Kindle because it was basically the only 'real' reader on the market at the time besides the Sony. Amazon had a much larger ebook selection, lower prices (for the same books) and I'm a long time Amazon customer.

What do you wish the Kindle did that it doesn't?

E-pub - Library access. It's the whole reason I bought a nook.

What do you love most about the Kindle?

Faster page turns.

Would you recommend it to a friend...why or why not?

I have in the past and will continue to do so. I recommend the nook more often though because of the library access.

- Nickie, KindleBoards

~Interview Two~

Why did you choose the Kindle over other readers?

I’d been looking at it for a while (okay, salivating over it) when Oprah recommended it. I don’t watch Oprah, but I knew that would be the tipping point to make the Kindle the number one e-reader, which meant it would be around long enough to merit the substantial cash outlay for it. I ordered one shortly after that and have never looked back. Oh, and I ordered a Kindle 1, but got the Kindle 2 because they came out just about the time I placed my order. This past summer I passed my Kindle 2 down to my daughter and bought myself the Kindle 3 with WiFi and Whispernet so I can buy books pretty much anywhere – cell service or not. I also like that the K3 has darker print and is quite a bit lighter/smaller than the K2.

What do you wish the Kindle did that it doesn't?

I wish it was a touch screen. Moving the cursor around is still pretty cumbersome on the K3.(note from Lori: Check out new color Nook for this feature.)

What do you love most about the Kindle?

Most? There are so many things I love but I think the thing I love the most is how easy it is to buy a book. I always get the free sample first and when I’m done with the sample, if I want to keep reading, I click on the buy it now link right there in the sample and a minute or two later, I’ve got the whole book.

Would you recommend it to a friend...why or why not?

I would absolutely recommend it. In fact, I raved about mine so much my mother-in-law bought a K3 this past summer. I haven’t ever used another e-reader, so I can’t compare what Kindle can do to any of the others, but here’s why I think they are great: I love the book samples. I really like the ability to categorize my books. The long battery life is fabulous. I love that it’s not backlit and that I can change the font size when my eyes are tired – I’ve also discovered that I read faster with fewer words on the page/more space between the lines, so I tend to keep the font size on the large side all the time. I love that it’s easy to hold lying down since I do most of my reading in bed at night. I love my sturdy leather cover so I can schlep my Kindle with me wherever I go, including sticking it in my purse. I LOVE being able to take lots of books with me on trips, all tucked neatly in my Kindle. To me, the Kindle is the Tivo of the book world.

- Laurin Wittig, author The MacLeods, Book 1 and The Devil of Kilmartin

~Interview Three~

Why did you choose the Kindle over other readers?

I researched the Big Three, Nook, Kindle, and Sony. Nook and Sony were available for hands-on investigation in some stores, but the Kindle—I had to wait until I found a friend who had one. Ultimately, I went with Kindle. The chief deciding factors were its prominence in the market and the size of Amazon’s inventory (about 700,000 books). Then almost immediately after I made my decision, the latest generation came out with a lower price and I figured that was a sign I wouldn’t ignore.

What do you wish the Kindle did that it doesn't?

Not much! I’ve heard they’re working on a lending feature that will allow Kindle owners to loan books to each other, so that’s interesting. I know that the Nook lets you read B&N books while you’re in the store. Eh, I don’t care about that. And I’ve heard that in about a year (rumor only) that a color Kindle will be coming.

What do you love most about the Kindle?

I can carry all those books around with me in my purse and even some games. If a person cherishes the written word, regardless of its format, it’s like having a little treasure chest with you. My Kindle has both Wi-Fi and free 3-G, so I can look at the Kindle store and download books from just about anywhere. I don’t need to be near a computer at all or worry about hotspots. It’s responsive and the pages turn as fast as I’d be able to turn them in a physical book—I’d heard complaints about that but I haven’t had any trouble. The screen is easy on the eyes and it does a lot of things I haven’t even tried yet, like reading newspapers and magazines.

Would you recommend it to a friend...why or why not?

Absolutely. In fact, I’ve got one gift-wrapped right next to me now that I’m giving as a birthday gift. Amazon is the leader in this area of technology. There are more Kindles being sold than any other e-reader. The basic model holds as many as 3,500 books. Plus Kindle’s customer service can’t be beat. About three weeks after I got mine, it died. Kindle overnighted a new one to me, no questions asked. I had only to return the faulty one within 30 days, and they paid the postage. I even gave one away on my website to one of my readers.

- Alexis Harrington, author

Why did you choose the Kindle over other readers?

I had several friends and family members who had one and they all recommended it. I played with one and I liked it.

What do you wish the Kindle did that it doesn't?

Page numbers. The reason I've heard that they don't have them is because you can change the font size, which would change the pagination. But my friend has an i-pad and when she changes the font size in an e-book it automaticlly updates the pagination too (like it would in a Word doc). The i-pad also has a very handy feature that tells you how many pages until the end of the chapter. I still would rather read on my Kindle than an i-pad, but it would be nice if Kindle added those features.

What do you love most about the Kindle?

It's so light (no more heavy hardcovers!), I can carry multiple books with me at once, and e-books are so cheap!

Would you recommend it to a friend...why or why not?

Absolutely, for all of the reasons above. Also, for anyone who wears reading glasses, you can increase the font size and skip the glasses. That's my husband's favorite feature :)

-Beth Orsoff, author www.bethorsoff.com

~Interview Four~

Why did you choose the Kindle over other readers?

I chose the Kindle for the international support.

What do you wish the Kindle did that it doesn't?

I wish it had a remote control for page turns. I know it sounds silly but it would be nice to set the Kindle in a convenient position from reading and then sit back and turn pages with a remote.

What do you love most about the Kindle?

I'm far less interested in the Kindle itself than I am the books. Amazon has a great stock of books.

Would you recommend it to a friend...why or why not?

I tend not to recommend. What suits me might not suit someone else. I know a few people who won't use anything that doesn't say "Apple". I happily tell people about the Kindle and give my opinions.- Patrick, KindleBoards

Why did you choose the Kindle over other readers?

I think it's important that you point out the Kindle comes with free internet access. It's not the best interface, but there's no "data charges" or monthly fees, liked you'd have with most other internet-access devices. I've found it's incredibly handy if you're on the road, and you want a real-time update on something like a sports score or what time a movie starts - or who just got voted off your favorite reality show.

What do you wish the Kindle did that it doesn't?

This is kind of technical, but I remember a Nook owner taunting me about the way the Kindle doesn't support e-Pub files. It's an open source standard which is already used by lots of other ebooks, many of which are free. So this means there's some epub books out there that I can't read on my Kindle.

What do you love most about the Kindle?

I love reading on my Kindle - and I wonder if that makes it hard to be unbiased when comparing other digital reading devices. (A skeptical friend once joked that Amazon had found a way to sell back to me the joy of reading, which I already had!) But the Kindle lets you do some things you just couldn't do before -- like having a huge collection with hundreds of books stored in one place. So that makes it possible to do a lot of reading, with a lot of choices.

Would you recommend it to a friend...why or why not?

Yes, definitely. I've heard several people say that they started reading more once they had a Kindle. It just makes reading easier - and it's exciting to be doing it with a popular and cutting-edge piece of technology. Plus, the Kindle holds its own as one of the best values for a digital reader. It's cheap, it's light, and it's already had several years worth of improvement.

- Jon Cog, Me and My Kindle http://meandmykindle.wordpress.com/

~Interview Five~

Why did you choose the Kindle over other readers?

When I purchased our first Kindle two+ years ago, there were many reasons. The biggest one then, and today was/is Selection. Amazon has the biggest selection bar none. Second consideration for subsequent Kindles in our household, Amazon Kindle Customer Service. They have replaced Kindles that are out of warranty for free next day air shipping. I once had a Kindle replaced within 16 HOURS of my phone call to Kindle CS.

What do I wish the Kindle did that it doesn't currently?

I wish that native screensaver customization was reinstated. It was native on the first Kindle generation, but not on subsequent generations, and I miss it.

What do you love most about the Kindle?

3G access. I live in a wifi poor area and being able to download any book I want, no matter where I am, is fantastic! I travel a lot and make use of my 3G capabilities wherever I am.

Would you recommend it to a friend...why or why not?

OH heck yeah! In the past 2 years, I have talked at least 10 people I know of into buying Kindles, and one lady who had a nook, after looking at my Kindle and comparing them side by side, gave her Nook to her husband and got a Kindle for herself.

-Beverly, KindleBoards

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