Saturday, December 12, 2009

I have joined the e-Book Revolution

I have finally bitten the bullet and purchased a kindle. I had been tossing up between the kindle and the nook, and even though in many respects the nook is a superior device, there were really 2 “features” that persuaded me in the end. The first was Text To Speech, the second was availability.

The Nook does not have Text To Speech, and I could not find any evidence that they were thinking of adding it in a firmware upgrade. Also I wanted it before Christmas, and the earliest anyone can get there hands on a Nook is 15th of January.

I’ve had my kindle for 2 days now, and so far I am really happy with my purchase, but there are certainly some negatives, so here is my review.

The positives.

  • Great looking device, thin and light.
  • reasonable 3G coverage (in most major Australian cities).
  • Text to speech rocks.
  • Latest firmware upgrade (2.3) adds native support pdfs.
  • Good reading experience (eInk is cool).
  • Support for converting files of many different formats such as html, mobi pocket, rtf, etc…, although native support for these document types would be better.
  • Can sync your personal documents via your own PC.

The negatives

  • No Wifi. I have been amazed at how Amazon have actually sold this as a feature “You don’t have to hunt around for a wifi hotspot”, actually Amazon, I have one of them at home, as do many people, also many of the cafe’s I would go to read have them as well.
  • No Australian news content. This really infuriates me, I would love to get The Age delivered to my kindle, but alas I’ll have to go on killing trees to get my news.
  • Proprietary DRM format. It really annoys me that if I do eventually decide to go for another ebook reading device, I will potentially lose my entire book collection.
  • Not all books come with Text To Speech switched on. I got caught out on this on my first purchase, not checking the information thoroughly enough. I feel a bit cheated, as I feel the publisher has no right to determine how I choose to consume their content. Are they going to dictate that I cannot have another human being read it to me? No, then why draw the line at a computer?

My particular reason for wanting the Text To Speech feature is that I am a very slow reader, and Text To Speech would drastically increase the amount of books I could “read”. In future I will be making purchasing decisions based heavily on whether or not Text To Speech has been allowed by the publisher. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if the problem with Text To Speech rights lies more with audio book retailers than with publishers, but that’s one for the conspiracy theorists to argue about.

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