General Question

Supergirl's avatar

Anyone have a Kindle?

Asked by Supergirl (1696points) December 16th, 2008

I am interested in the Kindle. How long does the battery last and are you pleased with the book selection and readibility?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

22 Answers

tonedef's avatar

I think I would choose the Sony Reader over the Kindle, because you can put any PDF on it. It’s a much more open format, and you’re not bound to Amazon’s (lackluster) online selection.

Wired has a good comparison between the two. I think the best option would be “None of the above”: these things are going to be much nicer and much cheaper next year.

jrpowell's avatar

I played with one for a few days. The battery was fine over that amount of time. I didn’t really look to buy any books since it wasn’t mine. But I found it easy on the eyes when I was using it. It was actually much better than I thought it would be. I would get one if it was $99 but at $359 it is too much.

osullivanbr's avatar

I got a sony reader few days back and although it is a fine bit of equipment it will never replace an old fashioned book in my opinion. Tonedef is spot on however, the reader does allow you use pdf files, however they can be difficult to read, and when you view in on them, obviously the formatting is gone.

Can’t really speak for the Kindle, but the battery in the Sony is fantastic. Having said that if I had to pay 359 for it, I’d probably just go with the old fashioned book.

Supergirl's avatar

Right, but I am interested in responses from people who own a Kindle.

seekingwolf's avatar

I’m getting one for xmas and I’ve played with one from a friend.

You are NOT bound to Amazon’s selection. There is an SD card slot and you can put on all sorts of ebooks from different sources. The kindle also has support for Audio books (.mp3 or those from Audible) with a headphone jack.

Subscriptions to newspapers arrive quickly and I think it’s awesome that you don’t have to pay for the network access. Kindle books are also cheaper than regular books.

I wouldn’t go with the Sony one as I hear it is more “locked down” in DRM than the Kindle. Plus, you can format PDFs to make them readable on the Kindle via some freeware out there. It’s been done and it works fine.

Plus, cost-wise, Sony one is like 399, and the Kindle is 359. Both are expensive though, I’ll admit.

I can’t wait to get mine!

bodyhead's avatar

I’ve got a sony PRS-500. I bought it about two years (a year?) ago when it first came out. PDFs were unreadable on it and I couldn’t format a book on it to save my life. The only good looking books were the ones bought from Sony’s website. After using it for a week I put it in a drawer and there it sat until two months ago. I’ve been reading real books in the meantime.

Two years later, it’s much easier to format a book on it, I regularly use it and I couldn’t be happier with the battery life. Plus I’ve got a huge library of ebooks and the screen doesn’t fog up in the tub.

Eventually, I probably will get a kindle to compare the two but for now if anyone needs tips formatting an ebook for an easier read on a sony device, shoot me a message.

(PDFs are still a pain in the ass but if you format the page size right, you can kinda make them work but it’s still a bitch to read a book like that. Usually I convert it to the lrf format.)

tonedef's avatar

@Seeking, there’s a few things wrong with that description.

The Sony starts at 269, the Kindle starts at 359.

You can only view .txt or image files on an SD card. You have to pay .99c for each PDF you upload to the Kindle, which is done through e-mail. Also, you DO pay a nominal fee for network access, which is why it’s not free to subscribe to blogs or RSS feeds ($1+ each/month)

Kindle is notoriously DRM-laden. You cannot access your books in any other way than through a Kindle, so if it dies, they’re kaput until you buy a new Kindle. You cannot backup or read them through your computer. They also do not handle any other ebook formats.

The reader can handle all kinds of formats: PDFs, ePub format, .docs, blogs, RSS newsfeeds, JPEGs, and Sony’s proprietary BBeB.

bodyhead's avatar

I can format stuff reasonably quickly that looks as good as any of the books you might buy (for the sony reader). I also eventually put in in the native format for the sony e-reader (lrf). Sometimes I do have to convert things a couple of times to retain a good looking format.

That’s some good info there tondef.

tonedef's avatar

Yeah. I’ve read a whole lot about the two. I think that next year will be my time to get an ebook reader. I’ll set up an Automator script to download my newspapers and convert them to PDF’s, to upload every morning. It’ll be bitchin.

seekingwolf's avatar


Oh you’re right about the price >< I read it wrong. I thought it was “399” for the sony. Oh well, I was wrong.

Actually, you don’t have to pay for the PDFs to be transferred. You can convert them on your own and then transfer them to the Kindle via the USB cord at no charge. you WILL get charged if you have Amazon convert/send them to you.

And you don’t have to subscribe to blogs and pay that fee. I’m planning to get the Wall St Journal on mine which is 9.99/month but I’m not paying for blogs. That’s a waste and I’m just going to use my laptop/cell phone for reading those (I don’t read many blogs).

You can still transfer your own books to the Kindle via the USB cord, you don’t have to buy them. I read that the Kindle is compatible with the “MobiReader” format or whatever. I don’t know where you’re getting the thing about “not putting books on the SD card” because I’ve heard of other readers, who HAVE a Kindle, putting their own books on their SD cards and reading them on the Kindle without any problem.

tonedef's avatar

You absolutely, positively cannot transfer books or PDF’s to the Kindle through the USB port.

Straight from Amazon’s mouth. The only way to get PDF’s is to e-mail and pay for them. Also, the same formats are the only ones that the device can read from an SD card.

I’m not anti-Kindle, I just want to make sure that the OP knows about all of the product’s limitations before she/he purchases one.

bodyhead's avatar

Hey tonedef, I use Calibre (as oppose to the Sony Connect software) to store and transfer my ebooks (on my mac) and it will automatically download and format a ton of different stuff for the sony e-reader.

I can get it to download stuff from the economist, a couple of papers and some different blogs. It works pretty sweet. It sounds like you’re leaning towards the sony e-reader anyway so it may be worth checking out for you.

(Even the pictures look pretty damn good.)

tonedef's avatar

@bodyhead, that’s awesome! My biggest criteria for a reader are that (1) it supports lots of formats, and (2) that it is hackable. The Kindle is an exemplar of the walled garden concept.

If you can’t open it, you don’t own it!

Edit: I need to add that I am holding off on buying an ebook reader because neither of the major options available now is really as useful as it could be. When the inevitable open-source alternative springs up, I’ll snap that up.

bodyhead's avatar

I’m agreed with that. My sony doesn’t have a speck of DRM on it.

There’s one trilogy that I’ve bought several times because I wasn’t happy with DRM they used to encode it.

The Sony supports several formats but I convert everything to lrf because it looks better. When you’re looking at a .txt file, it doesn’t feel as much like an actual book. The reading a book experience is what I most like to simulate.

I really only bought a reader early (way pre-kindle) is to support e-ink because I really wanted it to catch on.

seekingwolf's avatar

^ I found this on how to get pictures (like .gif, mostly for manga) for FREE onto the Kindle, using the SD card.

^ This one explains how to get .docs, html pages, and PDFs onto the Kindle. You CAN get PDFs onto the Kindle if you convert them yourself. Just because Amazon can’t do it doesn’t mean you can’t. It just comes into a problem if the PDF has a lot of graphics.

Foolaholic's avatar

One of my professors has a Kindle, and he brought it in to show us one day. The resolution is nice, but I wasn’t a fan of the contrast and I can’t speak for the battery life. However, I heard that there’s a newer model going to be released soon (citation needed), so you might want to wait a bit.

seekingwolf's avatar

@Foolaholic, I heard on the Kindle forums that the new model won’t be released till Q4 of 2009. If I can find the link, I’ll get one.

anonymous037's avatar

just a side note to those arguing about the cost of having files (whether they are .pdf, .doc, .rtf, or whatever) coverted for your kindle, amazon will do it for free or for .10 (NOT .99). if you want it sent directly to your kindle as soon as amazon converts it for you, it costs .10, otherwise you can have them send it back to the email address you sent the original documents from and then you can put it on your kindle (or SD card) yourself using the USB cable.

seekingwolf's avatar


hehe even better!
I have a Kindle and I found out that Amazon does NOT start to charge you for sending/converting files until you have racked up a 3 dollar total charge.

I found out that some of what tonedef said was wrong.

1) You CAN transfer books to a Kindle via USB. yes, even downloaded Amazon books
2) Books, pictures (manga!), and other file formats go on the SD card and are totally readable
3) For PDFs, just run them through Mobi Reader software and it converts them into a nice mobi file with great images! And it’s free!
4) Actually, you CAN back up Amazon books on your computer. It allows you the ability to download it to your computer. I believe there’s a few things out there that can make them readable on the computer and not the Kindle so not all is lost.

I love my kindle!

dpworkin's avatar

The new software upgrade does native PDF translation; no more need for Mobi Reader. No more conversion charges. I use mine for school, and I carry thousands of pages of scholarly papers that never need to be printed out or lugged around.

carolinasummers's avatar

Yup…looooooove mine.

Crashsequence2012's avatar


Far more functional and you don’t come off as a reading snob.

Also: a big problem is that publishers (at least for now) must get separate permissions for each platform (Kindle, Nook, etc.)

In other words, the ereader situation is not yet fully shaken out.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther