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Is the Kindle a Swindle?

11.04.2011 Diamond review

Light, portable, easy to use, long battery life

Price of Ebooks, not all authors available

Recommendable Yes:

88 Ciao members have rated this review on average: exceptional See ratings
exceptional by (82%):
  1. Riley-
  2. tumblewheel
  3. shoequeenrach
and 73 other members
very helpful by (18%):
  1. bbicuk01
  2. Andy.mack
  3. bluejules
and 14 other members

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Do I or don’t I?

The Kindle……the thing that made me dance around my living room like a ten year old child! As many of you may (or may not) know, reading is my hobby and I spend an awful lot of my time and money on it. My current reading rate averages around 3 books a week so as you can imagine there are an awful lot of books hanging around my house, much to my husband’s amusement (and dismay)! When the Kindle was launched I was hooked on reading all about its capabilities as well as people’s reviews once they had purchased one. Was this finally the answer to my prayers? After reading and debating, reading and debating, I decided to hold fire (which I can assure you was not easy). Finally, the decision has been taken out of my hands and the new Kindle 3G + Wi-Fi was brought for me (hence the dancing).

What’s it all about?

In a word the Kindle is like a walking library. Its an electronic E Reader so you download books onto the reader and have the capability to store them as well as lots of other things on it too (more on that below). Amazon has cornered the market as they are the only distributers of the Kindle, although you can purchase from John Lewis as well as the Amazon website. The one I have got is the Amazon Kindle with 3G + Wi-Fi and is better known as the 3rd generation of Kindle. This was released in July 2010 and is most recent release. The other option is to buy the cheaper Kindle which has Wi-Fi, but not 3G. The price is the most obvious with the Kindle Wi-Fi coming in at £111 and the Kindle 3G Wi-Fi being £152.00.

What’s so special about it?

The Kindle is a little different from all the latest technology gadgets including PDA’s and tablets because it doesn’t use traditional LCD methods to display text and graphics. The Kindle uses E Ink which has many benefits including reducing glare, clearer text and images and is less of a strain on the eye as the screen looks more like ‘real paper’ than if you were reading from a traditional screen. By the way the ‘real paper’ line was their comparison, not mine! It definitely looks different to a traditional LCD screen, but I think saying it looks like ‘real paper’ is maybe a stretch of the imagination.

One of the most special things about the Kindle for me is the weight of it. It weighs in at a mere 247grams which is a lot easier to transport and carry as opposed to the (sometimes very heavy) hardbacks that I get regularly. You get free 3g wireless and Wi-Fi which gives you the capability to download books and shop straight from the Amazon store via your Kindle with no additional connection charges. With this version you can also use and download to your Kindle all across the Globe, again with no additional charges.

The Kindle will hold up to 3,500 books which is pretty staggering. It’s also not limited to books; you can download UK and International Newspapers, as well as magazines and blogs. The capability of the Kindle is pretty amazing. I realised it held books and publications but was surprised to realise that it also will hold quite a few other document types for you including PDF, HTML, TXT and a whole host of others. This can be done by simply plugging your kindle into your computer with the USB lead. It also has a built in dictionary, bookmarks and annotations as well as a ‘read to me’ feature which translates text to speech.

So... I Opened the box…

When I opened the box to my new Kindle if I am being totally honest I was a little let down. All that was in the box was the Kindle itself, a wall powered charger and a USB lead. Then I realised that I was being silly, this is exactly what I needed. Something simple that does the job, no more books strewn across the house, no more being squashed on the train whilst trying to stand as well as read a huge hardback book. THIS I decided must be the answer to my prayers.

I charged the Kindle fully and then switched it on using the slide button at the bottom for the very first time. It loaded within a matter of seconds and the Wi-Fi and 3G signs appeared promptly at the top of the screen. On the Kindle, the majority of it is taken up with the screen and at the bottom you have a ‘keyboard’ so to speak and it’s pretty simple to work out. Aside from all the letter keys you have a Menu, Home and Back button as well as a square button with 4 direction arrows. In addition you have a button which says ‘Aa’. This is a simple button you use to increase the font size. This is such a handy feature for those that have difficulty with their vision. The Kindle was up and running and I was rearing to go!

So…Did I break it?

I have a tendency to not bother reading instructions and to steam straight in to ‘new’ things. The upside is that you learn really quickly what not to do, and the downside is that occasionally (only once in my case) you could potentially break something. With the Kindle I would think (short of hurling it at a brick wall) they are very difficult to ‘break’. At the bottom of the Kindle is a button you slide which sends your Kindle to sleep. When it is sent to sleep a screensaver will appear and stay there until you wake it back up. The screensaver will be different each time you send the Kindle to sleep but you have no control over what the screensaver is. To shut your Kindle down completely you need to hold the button to one end for a few moments so the machine powers down completely.

With my Kindle wide awake and ready to use, I hit the Menu button and saw just how straightforward this was going to be. One thing to note is that when you buy a Kindle, it will automatically be registered in the name of the person who brought it. This is simple enough to change, you just de-register the device and re-register it (straight from the Kindle) and you just enter your own Amazon account details. Once I had done this my Kindle showed my account name at the top of my screen and I was ready to download my first book. Of course because this was my new play toy I just had to do it straight from the Kindle which was so simple it was ridiculous.

With the Wi-Fi capability you can access the Amazon store directly from your Kindle with no additional charges. Now don’t get carried away, you cannot go surfing the net for hours at Amazon’s expense, all you can do is access the Amazon store and search and immediately download all sorts of books or magazines for your Kindle. I instantly downloaded a few books and then stopped short when I realised I wasn’t actually paying attention to the price (more on that…don’t get me started). Once I had done what was needed to download my books, I chose to switch my Wireless off. The reasoning for this is all to do with battery life. With my wireless switched off Amazon claim that my battery life is one month, but with it switched on a mere 10 days. I have so far had the Kindle for two weeks and have got to around the halfway mark, so it seems that Amazon’s claims are true.

But it’s NOT real paper

Having read soooooo many reviews on the Kindle before buying it I must have read hundreds of people’s gripes with the Kindle. One particular gripe had me chuckling, as the reviewer stated “turning the page produces an alarming flashing effect”. I can only say that in my opinion this is not true. When you use the page turn buttons (back and forth), which are located on both sides of the screen (caters for both left and right-handed), it ‘flicks’ to the next screen. If I am being honest using an E Reader is different to reading from a paper book, but in theory it takes less time to ‘turn the page’ electronically than it does physically with a normal book. After reading the first few pages, and fiddling with the font size until I was happy, it was plain sailing and just takes a little getting used to.

What’s the bad news?

Overall the good outweighs the bad in my opinion, having said that the down sides are irritating for me. Like I said before I can read up to 4 books a week and I pre-order maybe 60-70 books a year. When you search for books for your Kindle on Amazon, you will find that not all authors will be available. Not all publishers are signing their authors up for E Books but I am hoping that over time this will increase along with the Kindle’s popularity. Even when I find authors that are available, it seems that I cannot pre-order months ahead like I currently do. I have found the best way is to check a week before publication of a new book and normally they appear.

The second issue for me is the price of the E Books. There are people that will probably correct me, or moan at me but to be frank I don’t care. I have no idea who dictates the prices of E Books, whether it is the publishers or Amazon. All I know

Pictures of Amazon Kindle Keyboard 3G + Wi-Fi
Amazon Kindle Keyboard 3G + Wi-Fi 039 - Amazon Kindle 3G + Wi-Fi
Amazon Kindle 3G + Wi-Fi
is that I think they are ridiculously high, especially when you consider Amazon/Publishers are saving on printing costs. I understand that they have to be marketed at the correct price to enable authors to make money but I think as they stand now they are over the top.

As an example, I ordered June Hampson’s latest book Dirty Game from Amazon which was released on 17 March 2011. The current price for that book in hardback is £12.34, paperback is £8.44 and the Kindle version is £6.99. Normally I would have ordered the paperback version and as a Prime Member would have received free postage. I would have read the book by the end of March and then re-sell it for probably £7.50. This is how I read and the re-sell books. It means I can order new books, read them and re-sell them so the cost of that book would have been less than £1. Stupidly I ordered the Kindle version (this was the over-excitement when I first got it), and I am lumbered with an E book that once read I cannot re-sell.

I think the prices of E Books need to be reduced vastly and I am hoping that over time they will be brought down in price. £100 plus is a lot of money to lay out, to then have to pay £7 for newly published books.

My solution is that I will read both standard paper books as well as my Kindle. For newly published books I will purchase them in paper, and for the older books I will buy them on my Kindle as they seem to be more reasonably priced.

The only other bad news in my eyes is the price to purchase a cover! (Don’t ask I am in a serious strop about this). Amazon wanted £50 for a Kindle cover with a light built in! YES I SAID £50! That’s disgraceful pricing, especially when the light that is built in with their cover draws power from your Kindle. For those that really want to splash the cash there are covers that are in excess of that so knock yourself out, if paying that sort of money is no issue. For me it certainly is, I wanted something durable and reasonably priced. Thankfully, other companies got straight on the bandwagon and I managed to purchase a snazzy pink cover (which also has a stand in the back) and a separate light for the total sum of £24.


I know, I know it’s a very long review, but reading is my ‘thing’ and the Kindle is the latest and greatest in the world of E Reading. I know that some people have their I Phones glued to them at all times but I am not one of those people. Other people want the I Pad or other devices where you can read as well as access the internet. Quite frankly I am not concerned whether I access the internet or multi-task so that while I am doing one thing I can ‘check my emails’ or something equally as boring. I am aware that people have different needs and mine is a book, nothing else on my travels but a book. If anything I don’t want access to emails, the internet or anything else remotely related to work. My reading is my sanctuary and the Kindle is my perfect companion. Being the 3rd Generation, there will no doubt be a newer and better version along, but for now this is my must have item at all times. There are still plenty of improvements that can be made (I would love to see colour version of the Amazon Kindle Store) and no doubt we will see in the future but for now this fits the bill perfectly.
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Comments about this review »

Riley- 06.11.2011 03:15

top review

tumblewheel 25.09.2011 11:13

A top review although I am old school and love paper books. I will dread the day when we're unable to physically browse a book store.

shoequeenrach 25.06.2011 00:31

Excellent review. I want a kindle! E xxx

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Manufacturer's product description

Kindle Keyboard 3G offers the convenience of no wireless setup - you are ready to shop, download, and read right ou...


Product Type eBook reader


Colour Depth 4-bit (16 grey levels)
Resolution 600 x 800 ( 167 ppi )
Type 6" monochrome E Ink

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This review of Amazon Kindle Keyboard 3G + Wi-Fi has been rated:

"exceptional" by (82%):

  1. Riley-
  2. tumblewheel
  3. shoequeenrach

and 73 other members

"very helpful" by (18%):

  1. bbicuk01
  2. Andy.mack
  3. bluejules

and 14 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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