Five years is a long time. Amazon released in November 2007 the first Kindle for only $399. The reader had a basic e-ink screen, an awkward keyboard, weird buttons on the side, and page refresh that was painfully slow. It was instant awesomeness at least until Apple gave birth to the iPad. After which I quickly offloaded my Kindle and quickly swore allegiance to Apple.
Last year, however, my kids gave me a Kindle 4 for my birthday. I have used it everyday and has become a permanent fixture beside my bed. Simple and distraction fee reading with complete immunity from kids since it had no games. My only one complaint was having to attach a light to it to read in bed. Weird.
Last week, I received the new Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite (non-affiliate link). I know I don’t usually write about gadget reviews, but my god this e-reader rocks. Amazon got it right. Here is why:
- Finally, there is light! The paper-like backlit LED screen uses built-in LED backlights to uniformly illuminate the screen for ease free reading from bright sunlight to pitch-black rooms and with better resolution and contrast. I just keep my light on all the time.
- 8-week battery life even with the light on. Enough said.
- No more buttons. After about a day, the tough screen becomes pretty intuitive for page turns.
- Should I stay up to finish the chapter or call it a night? Amazon has added a Time to Read feature which tells you how long based on fast you have been reading until a chapter is done.
I thought I would share some of my tools I have discovered this year that elevated my Kindle use.
- Send to Kindle. Use any of these applications to send stories that you are reading online directly to your Kindle. These applications work from your browser, desktop, or email. I use it for long articles I have found during the day and want to read it on the Kindle at night.
- Caliber. This free program is a swiss army knife for e-books. For example, if you have a library of books for Kindle and change over to a Sony Reader, Caliber will take a Kindle library of books, update the format of each book and sync it with a different device format. I have used it as my library management system and for ebook conversion.
- Readability. This service is similar to other apps like Instapaper and Pocket in that it allows you to save articles online for later reading on the web or on your Kindle. What I like is that they strip all the ads from websites and leave just the text. Nice.
21% of Americans have read an e-book now according to a Pew Research Study this year. If you are still one of the other 79% Americans, the time is now. Hands down. Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is a perfect device.
I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out. – Jeff Bezos