Tuesday, April 17, 2012

E-books are awesome! (And the Kindle app is ok-ish)

I've recently read quite a few books on my Android tablet (Asus Eee Pad Transformer) via the Kindle app, and the experience has been quite exquisite so far.
  • Quiet reading at night (in the dark) is no problem at all. Excellent for an insomniac as yours truly when the rest of the family is sleeping soundly in the same room.
  • Start/stop time is virtually nil, since the app remembers the last page read.
    (This is also synced between devices, so reading a few pages off the phone on the train/tram/bus/loo/whatnot works well.)
  • The Oxford dictionary is included, so most odd words can be explained quickly.
  • No bookshelves required!
The drawbacks are not insignificant:
  • not all books are good to read in night mode, as they don't cope with the inverted color scheme.
  • maps/drawings are seldom included or look good. The format & applications are best suited to text-only books.
  • night-mode makes everything feel doomed and evil. Do bear this in mind  when reading Lovecraft, The Road or other horror-themed literature.
  • table of contents and chapters are ususally poorly implemented and could benefit greatly from a little bit more adaptation to the electronic format.
Apart from these issues, it's pretty excellent for fiction and beats trying to hold a regular old paper book hands down, especially as I read mostly during night.

What's more worrying in the long term is perhaps the DRM bit (I can't really lend or sell an e-book currently) as well as Amazon's monopoly/monopsony.

This is better explained in this excellent blog post. 
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