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Read this before you buy a Kindle

Zafar Anjum | Nov. 6, 2009
Are you planning to buy or give a Kindle this festive season?

•    But say youve actually found the book youre seeking at the Kindle Store. You buy it. Do you get whats described in the catalogue copy? Yes and no. You get the words, yes, and sometimes pictures, after a fashion. Photographs, charts, diagrams, foreign characters, and tables dont fare so well on the little grey screen. Page numbers are gone, so indexes sometimes dont work. Trailing endnotes are difficult to manage. If you want to quote from a book youve bought, you have to quote by location rangeeg, the phrase She was on the verge of the mother of all orgasms is to be found at location range 1596-1605 in Mari Carrs erotic romance novel Tequila Truth.

•    …You cant read your Kindle books on your computer, or on an e-book reader that competes with the Kindle… Maybe youve heard of the Sony Reader? The Sony Readers page-turning controls are better designed than the Kindles controls, and the Reader came out more than a year before the Kindle did; also, its screen is slightly less grey, and its typeface is better, and it can handle ePub and PDF documents without conversion, but forget it. You cant read a Kindle book on a Sony machine, or on the Ectaco jetBook, the BeBook, the iRex iLiad, the Cybook, the Hanlin V2, or the Foxit eSlick.

•    Kindle books arent transferrable. You cant give them away or lend them or sell them. You cant print them. They are closed clumps of digital code that only one purchaser can own. A copy of a Kindle book dies with its possessor.

I stop quoting from Barkers article here. Heavy duty stuff? Read the full piece and you will get more painstakingly noted reasons on why the Kindle is great or not so great (yes, I decided to keep the mystery on!).

The second article that I want to mention here is actually a blog post from an India journalist, Rati Chaudhury (Kindling my literary taste). Rati lives in India and she has recently acquired her Kindle for Rs13,000 (about US$280; S$400). She is generally happy about the e-reader: Its six-inch screen and e-ink format makes the reading experience almost like a real book. You can even bookmark pages and highlight key messages. And so on.

But she has some complaints too: Although I am drooling at this gadget yet there are a few things I wish Amazon will correct. Firstly, it has no backlight so it is not possible to read it in the dark. There are no Indian newspapers on Kindle yet, but I hope that will be sorted out soon. Also Web browser is disabled in the international edition.


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