Paperwhite and the Four Kindles

My new Kindle, the Kindle Paperwhite, was delivered on Wednesday. It’s been one of those weeks though, and I really didn’t get to check it out for real until this weekend. It’s my fourth Kindle and let’s just say, it’s the best yet.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a Kindle junkie. My boyfriend says that I should get a commission from Amazon, because I am constantly selling people on them. I love them and I am convinced that anyone who considers themselves a reader would never be the same.

You say, “I would miss the smell of the pages/the feel of the the book in my hand.”

Maybe. But I don’t. I thought I would. But I don’t–because reading one-handed is INCREDIBLE. I can bundle up on the couch and just stick one hand out of my blanket and not have to expose a draft when I need to turn the page. I can lay on my side or my back or however I feel like and not get a tired neck or hands from keeping it at a good angle.

And it’s lighter than any book I would ever read. And smaller too. So handy that it’s always in my purse or bag. At all times. This means that I am almost never without a book. Back when I read paper books, if I was reading anything that was more than two inches thick, the Harry Potter books, for example, they mostly sat on my bedside table and they didn’t get read every day.

It’s also nice to be able to change the font size, font style, margins and line-spacing. You can’t do that in a paper book. I also love that I can look words up on the spot. I like highlighting and annotating right in the e-book. I can see my notes and marks in my Amazon account and print them out from the internet if I want.

Yes, you could get a tablet like a Kindle Fire or an iPad and then you can read and go on the internet and have apps… but the reading experience is nothing like e-ink. Good luck reading that tablet outside or in a sunlit window–too much glare. E-ink actually looks better the more light there is. No glare, just the look of letters on paper.

I got my first Kindle as a Christmas gift in 2009, the Kindle 2. It was a pretty awesome start and had a battery that lasted 4 weeks, the longest of any e-reader on the market at the time. The downside was that I couldn’t read EPUBs or check out library books.

Then came the Kindle keyboard, which I upgraded to in September 2010, when it released. The battery life doubled to 8 weeks. And the screen was even clearer.

In November 2011, I got the Kindle touch (also when it released, because at least point, I just had to have the next best thing). So much smaller and lighter. The touch screen was fine, but I did think the bevel was kind of steep. The screen didn’t seem as clear as the previous generation, but the weight was awesome. I didn’t like the feel of the leather case for this one though and eventually went for a sleeve.

Around this time also came the possibility to check out library books on the Kindle with OverDrive. Amazon also launched the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library if you have Amazon Prime membership (which I do, but I have honestly never taken advantage of.) I never thought I would care about library Kindle books, just because there’s always a wait list and I liked having a new book instantly when I wanted to read it. I put myself on a few wait lists, and since then, I’ve pretty much been plenty occupied with those for awhile that I haven’t been reading many purchased ones.

As for the Paperwhite, it’s a hair thinner, the bevel is just right, the touchscreen works better and the screen resolution is even clearer. I never would have thought it could be so good. The weight is about the same (this one weights two grams less than the Touch–that’s like two paperclips, I think). The front-light is okay; it definitely does the trick, if you want to read in bed or something, but I don’t think I’ll use it much. When the front-light is on, it seems like the screen is kind of blue and I’m not sure I like that–seems a little like an LED/LCD. I hate reading on backlit LED/LCD screens like the computer or the iPad, thus the appeal of e-ink for me. They took away the Text-to-Speech feature, which I never really used anyway, but I know my ESL students did use it sometimes when they read on the Kindle keyboards in my classroom–so this wouldn’t be the greatest model for them. It’ll work for me though. In fact, I’m as happy as a clam.

Even if I haven’t sold you on the Amazon Kindle, I do believe that dedicated e-readers are the way to go, especially if you consider yourself a reader. If you’re a Barnes and Noble fan, the Nook is great too (though I still don’t think it can compete with the Kindle’s battery life). If you’re anything like me, though, you’ll read even more once you have an e-reader.

My Self-Published eBook (TRY ME!)

Here is my eBook Publishing handout.

As part of my Director’s Brief, I tried my hand at digital self-publishing. This is a multi-media guide with text, pictures and videos. (So if you have a black-and-white eReader, the content will be limited.) Here is one of my attempts, created on Apple’s iWork Pages:

Please try it out! It’s a little buggy yet with line return formatting (and I suspect that all of the video clips are showing the same thing somehow, at least on my device), but I’m moving on for now. You have a couple of options for access:

  • download the file (39.6MB) and load it to your device manually
  • open the link in a browser on a device enabled to read EPUBs
  • download it and use something like or the Firefox add-on called EPUBReader

If you have an Apple device, this is easy…
a) import it into your iTunes library and then sync it with your books.
b) open the link in a Safari browser and iBooks will take care of the rest!

It is published as an EPUB, which according to Wikipedia, can be read on the following platforms (pretty much everything, except Amazon devices):

Unfortunately if you are a Kindle user, as I am, you are out of luck for the moment. Amazon’s eReaders do not support the EPUB format quite yet. (There are rumors that they will someday…)

So, what do you think…?