BooksGiving up: I bought an ebook

the new kindle with a red laceI am quite a geek in a lot of thing, but I resisted, till now, to leave my papery books and do the jump at the new technology.

I have tons of book on the shelves of my home (and in my mother’s house, and in the office, and in boxes rotting away… they’re just too much to keep them all at hand).

So when the last book of the Void trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton come out, and I saw that it was quite a big book as ever, I decided that my back (and my pockets) would be pleased at the change. At the same time, Amazon.com sent out the new version of its Kindle ebook, and after a bit of thinking, comparison and googling, I went for it. Why it and not another one (like the very nice Nook) was a decision based on the fact that this was the only one that gave me a simple way to buy books even from outside the U.S. — hint for the competition.

After three weeks with it, I can draw some initial conclusions about the product. Globally, I am very pleased with it.

On the plus side, the readability, which is really excellent. It is really at they say, the same as a (good) sheet of paper. The management of the books, very nice and easy to use and understand, not intrusive at all. You can rapidly forget about the gadget and think only to the book. And it works very well in conjunction with Calibre in Linux, which is definitely a plus.

On the minus side, the PDF viewing could be better (the kindle can only zoom at fixed values, as 100%, 150%, etc), which makes reading sometime difficult. And on the experimental features, like web browsing and background audio playing, things could be better, but they are definitely usable.

In the end, I am quite happy. If only the flying authority would not force to shut it off during take-off and landing (I doubt that the kindle, with WiFi off, can emit much more RF than my digital wrist clock), I would say that about the reading experience, there are no downsides with respect to a paper book. I am so satisfied that if there were a way to (cheaply and legally) “move” my physical book to the kindle, and recycle the paper, I would do it with 90% of my books — basically all the paperback and one half of the hardcover.

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