Kindle: Koncerns and Kommendations
Up, Down, Sideways - Or Buy?
Thanks to my wife, a Kindle was under my Christmas tree this year - thank you sweetheart. I’ve coveted a Kindle since they first came out but not enough to pay the prices they were asking then. My present was the new $79 model. I’m sure the more expensive Kindle has more bells and whistles, but this one satisfies my needs; it is a reader. .
I’m still trying to figure what all the buttons do, but now that the holiday season is over, I will have time to investigate the Kindle’s properties before settling down with a glass of wine and a good Kindle. Overall, I am delighted with my new Kindle, but I do have a Koncern or two.
Actually I have only one Koncern (make that two concerns; see second capsule) and lots of Kommendations. My Koncern is about a control that is sometimes described as a ‘5 way controller’ or a ‘5 way controller button .’
This is NOT a 5 way controller. It isn’t even a single button. The button in the middle is a control. The border surrounding the centre button is a separate control.
[My digital camera has the same system of operation, but the border is diamond shaped and is described as a 4 way controller. The button in the centre – which is marked ‘OK’ – is described as the ‘playback /OK button.’ The method of operation is obvious.]
Have a look at the Kindle photograph. How does it look to you? Of course it might just be my weird way of looking at things, but to me the arrows on the border are telling me where to press the centre button to go up, down, left or right. If you are a billiard player, think of the centre button as the cue ball, and consider giving that cue ball spin, or screw, or English, whichever way you describe it.
So if you are told to press the ‘5-way controller’ to go down, you would press the bottom part of the centre button. To begin with, you may press the border at the same time and end up going where you want to go, but the next time you press the central button you could be in the book menu and not press the outside border at the same time. So what, I hear you ask? The centre button is a one click purchase button; press it and you’ve bought a book
Did I accidentally buy a book this way? Who me? Of course I did, but the good part is that you can cancel the purchase as ‘an accidental purchase.’ Another good thing about this is that you don’t need to return the book to the store and plead for your money back; it simply disappears from your Kindle home page.
Press the surrounding border in the appropriate place, to go up, down, left or right. Be cautious as you use the outside button; it is easier to use if you use your fingernail and not your fingertip. If you use your fingertip you may end up pressing the centre button with the aforementioned result.
I’d also advise you to read the reviews of a book before you buy it. I made a mistake of not reading a review when I purchased my second book; it was a Jack Reacher novel and I couldn’t believe the price of $1.97. I did the ‘one click’ purchase and settled down to read about one of my favourite heroes. Just as I was thinking that every investigative problem was being solved very easily and wondering how the book was going to last much longer – it didn’t. I’d bought a short story. If I’d read the reviews I would have known this (apart from which, if something is too cheap to be true – it is).
I recommend that you order a free sample of a book before you buy it. The sample covers enough chapters for you to remember if you’ve read it before, and lets you know if it is the type of novel you like. Even if you don’t want to read the sample of a book by your favourite author, because you think it will spoil the book for you, ordering a sample can still be beneficial – let’s say you’ve read all of the author’s books but can’t remember their titles. Order a free sample and go to the ‘copyright’ page; if it was published recently, it’s a safe bet you’ve never read it before – if you’re not too sure, you can still read a few pages of the sample before deciding whether or not to buy the book.
To quote Amazon – The most elegant feature of a physical book is that it disappears while you're reading. Immersed in the author's world and ideas, you don't notice a book's glue, the stitching, or ink. Our top design objective is to make Kindle disappear — just like a physical book — so you can get lost in your reading, not the technology.
I was a bit iffy with this point of view. To me, the pages, the stitching and the glue are an essential part of reading. The pleasure of reading has a lot to do with the ambience of a brand new book, and the texture of the pages; can’t you just feel yourself snuggling in at the mere thought?
As I said, I was a bit iffy with Amazon’s point of view, until last night. I was reading a Harry Bosch mystery, and I needed to turn the page; automatically my hand went up to the top right corner of the Kindle, ready to turn a paper page. That brought me up short – so much for my ‘the ambience of a brand new book’ . Amazon had definitely made the Kindle disappear.
On the same 'turning the page' subject, you will find it easier to turn a page if you buy a cover for your Kindle. Most of the adverts show a Kindle being held on the bottom right hand corner as it is being read. Not only does this look good, it actually works, but it is awkward. It is sometimes necessary to put the Kindle down before you can turn the page.
Do yourself a favour and buy a cover for your Kindle. It is easier to hold the Kindle, and turn a page when you are holding the covered Kindle by the bottom, as if it was a paperback - especially so when you are reading in bed. But be careful how much you pay for the cover; some covers cost $39. I could have bought one for that price, but as my Kindle only cost $79, I baulked at that price. My cover cost a more realistic price of $6.99.
To me, the most pleasurable, agreeable and enjoyable part of a Kindle is never being without a book.
The Harry Bosch novel mentioned earlier – I went to bed early last night because I had a crappy cold. I took the Kindle to bed with me, but I’d forgotten I’d read the book that was already on it. Propping myself up on the pillows, I searched through Amazon’s author list until I found one of my favourite authors. One of the books was titled ‘The Drop.’ I wasn’t too sure about that one, so I ordered a sample, read the copyright page and discovered it was only published at the end of last year. I checked the reviews and ordered the book.
A minute later I was reading a brand new Michael Connelly book. Two minutes later, my cold, and the Kindle, disappeared as I entered Harry Bosch’s world.
Thank you Amazon
PS. If you have any shares in a company that makes bookmarks, I suggest you trade them in – soon. True, the Kindle will supply its own bookmark, but if you're like me, you will often forget to arrange it. There is no need to be concerned if you do forget - whatever page you were reading when you switched off your Kindle, will automatically re-appear when you turn it back on.
My Second Koncern
It's more of an irritation than a koncern. I discovered on a recent overnight, trans-ocean flight, that my particular Kindle has its limitations. Before leaving at 10.35pm, I loaded my Kindle with two novels; my idea being to settle back and contentedly read while the other passengers were sleeping or watching TV.
It didn't quite work that way. When the lighting was gradually reduced, I found that I couldn't read the Kindle as there wasn't enough light to see the page. What I had overlooked was the fact that the $70 model has no built in backlighting. I was reduced to either watching 3rd rate movies or trying to find a position that would allow me and my butt to sleep at the same time.
For the next part of my flight I was more prepared. I bought a small clip-on light at a dollar store - see photo. It worked perfectly. If you can't get to sleep on an overnight flight, I recommend it.
Happy Reading - and Flying