Kindle Corner: K2 v DX

Do you Kindle? I do!

Introducing readers to the Amazon Kindle, its features and benefits. If you are an avid reader, the Kindle is for you. If you are an author seeking a publishing platform, this article is for you too.

Anyone who loves to read should consider becoming a Kindler. Any indie author looking for a superb publishing platform should do their research on the DTP platform associated with the Kindle...

The Kindle is an e-book reader manufactured and distributed by Amazon. There are currently two flavors of the Kindle -- the K2, Amazon's older verson and the DX, which is Amazon's recently released upgraded version. Knowing that I would soon be a Kindle owner, I have done some research on both versions before making my own purchase. Below are some of the facts that I found helpful in deciding which to buy -- the K2 or the DX.

The K2

The Kindle K2 is an upgrade to the original Kindle release. It boasts a 6″ diagonal reading screen, storage capacity of up to 1,500 books, and PDF support via conversion. It weighs only 10.2 ounces and is about the size of your average mass market paperback–length and height–yet it is a slim 0.36″ wide! The size alone warrants more investigation. If you are like me and are reading multiple books simultaneously, you know the inconvenience of carrying 3 or 4 books — even if they are paperbacks — along with you in case you end up with time to get some reading in. You never want to be forced to choose only one novel out of several you are reading — you never know what reading mood you’ll be in when you have time to read. Carrying 3 or 4 novels is cumbersome, heavy and just plain inconvenient. With the Amazon Kindle K2, you are able to carry an entire library of books with you in only 10.2 ounces.

The DX

The Kindle DX is an upgrade to the K2 release. It boasts a 9.7″ diagonal reading screen, storage capacity of up to 3,500 books and native PDF support. Weighing in at 18.9 ounces, it is nearly the size of a letter-sized sheet of paper and is about 0.38″ wide. With a book capacity of 3,500 books, you will never run out of reading material and will avoid lugging around 3 or 4 paperbacks in order to be prepared in case you get some reading time in. The DX also adds automatic screen rotation from portrait to landscape, which can be helpful in viewing images and maps onscreen.

Features on Both Versions

Both the K2 and the DX offer nearly instant receipt of your purchased books, magazines, blogs that you have subscribed to, or other content via Whispersync. With content delivery in under 60 seconds, Whispersync is the Amazon Kindle’s enhanced 3G wireless network, provided by the Sprint network. Kindle owners are not charged any wireless access fees for delivery of purchased content — this is a service provided to you free of charge. You are able to send PDF and Word documents to your Kindle so that you do not have to carry paper copies with you. This service, however, does cost you a very nominal fee for conversion and delivery to your Kindle device. Each version has a battery life of up to 4 days with wireless turned on. To gain an additional 10 days of battery life, turn wireless off — it’s not necessary unless you are downloading content and/or if you want to sync your Kindle with your Kindle account in order to keep your bookmarks and notes up-to-date on both. Both also offer text-to-speech, which is an experimental feature that allows you to turn your download into an audio book so that you can listen to the content while driving or doing other activities that do not allow you to sit and actually read.

Amazon has packed a lot of features into its e-reader. The ability to highlight and annotate content just as you would highlight or write notes in the margin of a printed book is a feature of both devices. You have the ability to create bookmarks which will take you to a specific location in your content…just as if you bookmarked a paperback. The Kindle is loaded with the New Oxford Dictionary, making looking up unfamiliar words a breeze. Without leaving your reading location, you are able to look up a word — simply use the 5-way controller to move your cursor to the beginning of the word and its definition will automatically appear at the bottom of the screen. Hit the back button to hide the definition once you are done and continue reading without any navigation back to the page you were reading — you’re still there! To annotate, move your cursor to the location where you would like to place your note, start typing using the full keyboard on the device and a box will appear at the bottom of the screen with the note you are typing. When you’ve finished typing your note, move the cursor to “save” and click the 5-way controller to save the note. A superscripted number will appear in the location where you placed the cursor so that you can easily find your note later.

There is no backlight on the Kindle. This makes reading in any lighting scenario, except complete darkness, a possibility. Read on the beach in direct sunlight. Read in your bedroom with only natural lighting. Read on the train on the ride to work with intermittent bursts of sunlight and not be plagued with periods where you cannot see the screen. You aren’t able to read like this on your laptop! Between the screen glare and the backlighting on laptops, reading in direct sunlight is impossible. Also, computers are known causers of eyestrain. And you aren’t able to hold a laptop in your hand to read as you would hold a book. The beauty of the Kindle is that you can hold the device just as you would a novel — curl up with it like you would a book. And Kindle’s paper like e-ink technology makes your reading experience that much closer to holding a paperback in your hands…

To continue to highlight the Kindle’s features would be to create a novel here. My attempt was to bring to light some of the best features, ones that most would consider when evaluating this device for purchase.

Consider the Pros and Cons

Now that we have defined the basic differences between the K2 and the DX as well as their similarities, let’s consider the pros and cons. At face value, most people would hop right on the DX. Why not? It holds 2,000 more books than the K2! Well…did you consider that whether you have a full library of 1,500 books or a full library of 3,500 books stored on your Kindle that you will never run out of reading material to choose from? And yes, the DX has a screen that auto-rotates. A very nice feature if your interests lies in content heavily laden with large images and maps. Let’s face it…most of us read novels, magazines and newspapers, blogs and feeds. Not much of that content is image laden…

For me, the larger size of the DX makes it a bit cumbersome. An electronic device valued at what these devices are should be able to be easily protected. With the K2, inserting it into a protective case or sleeve and placing it in your handbag makes for safe and convenient transport. You are not likely to toss your handbag around and mistreat it. The K2’s screen and keyboard are protected from accidental pressure via the case or sleeve and further protected by the gentle treatment of your handbag. The larger size of the DX makes it more difficult to transport. Unless you are prone to carrying large handbags, you will not easily fit the DX into yours. The larger display on the DX certainly makes reading easier and lessens eyestrain; however, the ability to adjust text size on either version makes using the K2 do-able for those requiring larger print.

There certainly are other pros and cons to be considered. Each of us will have our own concerns and needs. However, with those listed within, can you justify the price difference? Amazon recently discounted the K2 by $60, bringing it down to $299 from its original price of $359. The DX is priced at $489. Are the improvements found on the DX worth the $190 price difference? That is up to each individual. I, however, could not justify buying the DX when the K2 is as feature-rich. It is with the K2 that I have begun Kindling. An owner for 3 short days and I have already fallen in love…

For Authors

Indie authors looking for a reputable way to independently publish their works should look into Amazon’s DTP platform for Kindle. Publishing for the Kindle is free and the author or publisher is able to set their own retail list price from a low of $0.99 up to a high of $199.99. Kindle authors receive 35% of the retail list price in royalties, and Amazon usually discounts its Kindle titles by 20% before offering them for download. The indie author then has a realized royalty net of 44%. Even at 35%, up and coming authors have little chance of netting such a royalty if going the traditional publishing route.

Interested? Stay tuned for future issues of Kindle Corner. We are dedicated to discussing the benefit of Kindling for both the avid reader and the author. Tips, tricks, updates and content reviews will be regular features.

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