Amazon Kindle Thoughts

I bought an Amazon Kindle around the holidays. My goal was to read less daily stuff and more fiction and non-fiction. So far so good. I am still reading plenty of news but I have read at least ten books in the last few months, more books than I have read in the last ten years. For the record I bought the Kindle Touch.

For the most part I have been happy with it. The purchase process is seamless, reviews of books are nice, and its feature set is straight forward. It is a little slow to react to menu presses and the like, but page turns are fast enough and the e-ink display is fine for reading in light. My biggest headache is with touch itself but only because it reacts differently than my iPad. On the Kindle, anything that touches it counts as a touch — a blanket corner, pillow, arm, finger, anything. On an iPad, only body parts touching makes it register touches. This is awkward as I constantly forget, go to wipe some piece of dirt off the screen and find myself a chapter ahead.

Another issue is the screen’s color. It is darker than a piece of paper so even in times when I would normally be able to read a book without a problem, I still need a light for my Kindle. Backlighting might be nice, but that is a fine line. Too bright, like my iPad, and it keeps me up in the evenings and early mornings when I do my recreational reading. Today I use a small light attached to the Kindle where I can focus the source on the screen. Of course this means I had to buy a light, attach it to my Kindle, and carry an accessory with me, making my small Kindle that much bigger.

Enter the rumor mill. Reuters is reporting that Amazon is rushing the next Kindle to market in July and that the big new feature is a lit screen. It’s believed Amazon is rushing it to market because Barnes and Noble released a version of their eReader with a backlit screen. I doubt it. Amazon, like Apple, always seems to do things on their own schedule. [1]

Given that, if it is done tastefully, I think the backlighting will be an excellent feature and would even get me to buy a new one. But the light has to be simple (not glaring), be able to turn off, and the device can’t suddenly work for one week when the old model worked for one month.

[1] Really, MG? There is no way Amazon “has to react” any more than Apple does to Android. No one is going to switch to Barnes & Noble’s eReader for the backlighting. And a new user will pick a platform based on content and reach more than a small feature of the reader. I care way more if my book is available and the format will be available for the long run then on a backlit screen.