27 votes

The Kindle is fine. It could’ve been much more than that.

29 comments

  1. [10]
    Nmg
    Link
    So I have a kindle paperwhite. It is great hardware for the price. The damn thing is waterproof, holds a lot of books, has an integrated light, and is a touch-screen, all for less than 200...

    So I have a kindle paperwhite.

    It is great hardware for the price. The damn thing is waterproof, holds a lot of books, has an integrated light, and is a touch-screen, all for less than 200 dollars.

    The software is total crap. I would never have bought it if I was forced to use it.

    So I just followed some annoyingly complicated, but totally acheivable instructions, and jailbroke it, installing the KOReader application. Now I can read epubs, re-flowed PDFs (including textbooks), and have 100 more controls for reading text than the native application does.

    The only thing is I have to keep airplane mode on, otherwise Amazon wipes my kindle, and removes KOReader in the process. It was really annoying to undo that when I figured it out...

    Honestly, if an e-book manufacturer could copy the paperwhite without all the Apple-esque closed infrastructure bullshit, that would be great.

    19 votes
    1. [6]
      tesseractcat
      Link Parent
      You might be more satisfied with a Kobo device. Not only is it easier to install KOReader, if that's what you want, it also has more typographic options OOTB, along with epub support. I don't...

      Honestly, if an e-book manufacturer could copy the paperwhite without all the Apple-esque closed infrastructure bullshit, that would be great.

      You might be more satisfied with a Kobo device. Not only is it easier to install KOReader, if that's what you want, it also has more typographic options OOTB, along with epub support. I don't typically use the devices' built in store, so I can't comment on how close/open the ecosystem feels, but you can sideload epubs, which seems to me as the more open choice.

      12 votes
      1. [5]
        Nmg
        Link Parent
        You're absolutely right. As a tech saavy individual, I decided to go with the kindle knowing I could bypass the native software, as its a better value than alternatives for the hardware. That...

        You're absolutely right.

        As a tech saavy individual, I decided to go with the kindle knowing I could bypass the native software, as its a better value than alternatives for the hardware. That might be because Amazon sells kindles with the knowledge that users will use their store...so they might make a smaller profit on the hardware.

        If I couldn't handle the hassle of digging through forum posts, I would have probably would have followed your suggestion.

        8 votes
        1. [4]
          NaraVara
          Link Parent
          I've been debating going for the Kobo just because. I feel like it's easier (quality of life wise) to break the DRM on kindle files than it is to jailbreak the Kindle. Is the hardware on the...

          I've been debating going for the Kobo just because. I feel like it's easier (quality of life wise) to break the DRM on kindle files than it is to jailbreak the Kindle. Is the hardware on the Kindle that much better than Kobo?

          I also have been holding off for a long time because I keep hearing that we're just a "few years away" from full color e-ink screens. Been hearing that for almost 10 years now. . . But an eReader that can read comic books would be everything I dream of.

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            tesseractcat
            Link Parent
            In my experience, Kindle hardware feels a bit more premium than Kobo hardware, but it's not a huge difference. It is much easier to install stuff on a Kobo than it is on a Kindle. Many of the...

            In my experience, Kindle hardware feels a bit more premium than Kobo hardware, but it's not a huge difference. It is much easier to install stuff on a Kobo than it is on a Kindle. Many of the newer Kindle revisions/os updates cannot be jailbroken as of right now. One thing to note is that Kindles are much cheaper used, which is why I have a Kindle and not a Kobo.

            It will probably be a while until we get full color e-ink screens in a Kindle. There actually is color e-ink technology, called e-ink triton, but it causes the display to be really low resolution, since it's basically a filter over the typical e-ink screen. There were a few devices that used triton but they were really expensive, and usually really big. Although I cannot predict the course of technology, I wouldn't hold your breath for color e-ink.

            Although e-readers aren't great for color comics, e-readers are great for black and white manga, in my opinion.

            4 votes
            1. [2]
              NaraVara
              Link Parent
              Are we talking the Oasis/Voyage level or the basic Kindle?

              In my experience, Kindle hardware feels a bit more premium than Kobo hardware,

              Are we talking the Oasis/Voyage level or the basic Kindle?

              1 vote
              1. tesseractcat
                Link Parent
                I think the paperwhite feels a bit more premium than competitors at the same price level, but I haven't used the basic Kindle so I can't really make any judgement either way.

                I think the paperwhite feels a bit more premium than competitors at the same price level, but I haven't used the basic Kindle so I can't really make any judgement either way.

                1 vote
    2. babypuncher
      Link Parent
      I don't understand Amazon devices. They want to create an Apple-like walled garden but don't seem to understand that people like Apples garden because the software is good enough that they don't...

      I don't understand Amazon devices. They want to create an Apple-like walled garden but don't seem to understand that people like Apples garden because the software is good enough that they don't see a reason to leave.

      You walk into Amazon's walled garden and you get bombarded with ads and shitty software, it's no wonder people want to get up and leave.

      10 votes
    3. [2]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      Really??

      The damn thing is waterproof

      Really??

      1. Nmg
        Link Parent
        I read it in the bathtub.

        I read it in the bathtub.

        2 votes
  2. [2]
    Rocket_Man
    Link
    Seems like some people want the kindle to be what it's not. It's just a device for reading books, primarily books bought through amazon. That's it, it's not supposed to be a platform for anything...

    Seems like some people want the kindle to be what it's not. It's just a device for reading books, primarily books bought through amazon. That's it, it's not supposed to be a platform for anything else really. I think their dissatisfaction with the kindle is misplaced. If they want to read blogs, ingest web content, and do other things they need an e-ink tablet. Unfortunately that doesn't exist because e-ink displays have been advancing slowly. They are slowly getting color, but I don't think refresh rates are improving much.

    14 votes
    1. j3n
      Link Parent
      As a happy Kindle user who uses it to read books, I couldn't agree more. It works phenomenally well for reading novels and not-to-graphics-heavy non-fiction. In some sense I'm playing into...

      As a happy Kindle user who uses it to read books, I couldn't agree more. It works phenomenally well for reading novels and not-to-graphics-heavy non-fiction. In some sense I'm playing into Amazon's hands because I buy all of my books from them, but it's convenient and I rarely re-read books anyway so if I loose them all for some reason I'm not going to be that bothered by it. (I donated all of my paper books before my last move for similar reasons. I no longer own a physical bookshelf.)

      I'm not saying anyone else has to be happy with this setup, but I am and I don't want my Kindle to do anything else.

      5 votes
  3. [7]
    tesseractcat
    (edited )
    Link
    So the author of this article has a few major complaints regarding Kindles and e-readers in general. The lack of easy access/clients for newsletters, news sites, and other procedural text based...

    So the author of this article has a few major complaints regarding Kindles and e-readers in general.

    1. The lack of easy access/clients for newsletters, news sites, and other procedural text based content, aside from daily newspaper releases.

    2. (According to them) bad user interface. Although they don't elaborate too much on this.

    3. Lack of competition for the Kindle.

    I'd like to address these points in order:

    1. I do believe the Kindle is a missed opportunity for developers. If they had made it more open and allowed people to publish apps (they actually used to do this, but stopped, and it wasn't very well publicized, and only for games) I imagine news sites might have made native apps for their news. But personally I don't think this sort of feature is really in demand. The vast majority of people who purchase Kindles are doing it to read books. And if those people want periodicals, they can get them, albiet only daily versions. The niche of people who need/want the granular mid day news or their obscure news site implemented on Kindle (which, let's be honest, it wouldn't be, even if Kindle development was easy) is not large enough for Amazon to care. If they really want this, why not ask the news site themselves to create a more Kindle friendly version of their website? This is not impossible and would dramatically improve UX.

    2. I disagree on this part. I believe the Kindle interface is perfect for what it is. It is simple, easy to read, and relatively intuitive. They mention library lending being difficult, which is a valid complaint.

    3. I also disagree here. Kobo makes great e-readers, and is much more development friendly. They also mostly read books, but again, that's what users buy e-readers for.

    All in all, I don't think better support for periodicals would improve Kindles as dramatically as they believe.

    EDIT:

    Also, Kindles have a great way to implement your own periodicals. There's a "send to kindle" email that let's you send MOBI files to your kindle and it will sync just like any purchased book. I use this feature + a python script to auto dl new manga chapters and send them to my Kindle. If you are in this niche, this would be a great way to make the Kindle a more useful device. You could also code a Kindle optimized web client for whatever you want, if you have the time for that sort of project. I made a Kindle optimized local web version of Sudoku.

    8 votes
    1. [5]
      cptcobalt
      Link Parent
      As a long-time Kindle user, I really think that couldn't be any further from reality. The interface design and device speed sucks, and this has been true for a long time—I've owned three Kindles,...

      I disagree on this part. I believe the Kindle interface is perfect for what it is. It is simple, easy to read, and relatively intuitive. They mention library lending being difficult, which is a valid complaint.

      As a long-time Kindle user, I really think that couldn't be any further from reality. The interface design and device speed sucks, and this has been true for a long time—I've owned three Kindles, and my current one is the Oasis 2nd edition.

      The Kindle user interface is only "good" because it only competes with the utter banality of its nearly irrelevant competition. In all reality, a nearly top of the line Kindle is absurdly slow (~8-10 second warm wake times, longer if it's been not used for more than like 6 hours), hard to navigate (you need to remember all the magical invisible touch zones—oh wait was that mistap a page forward or a page back?), and library navigation is just plain unintuitive or annoying (my home screen only shows me three books I want to read, then 3 books from my Goodreads "want to read" wish list, and 6 books I'm entirely uninterested in).

      In fact, the only reason why I continue to use and enjoy my Kindle is 1) the ease of the ecosystem lock-in + whispersync to all my devices, even iOS and macOS, 2) the e-ink display (but, non exclusive), and 3) that its limited feature set lets me detach from the "always-on" moments of life. Or else I'd be reading exclusively on my iPad.

      The Kindle isn't a bad device, but Amazon is doing next to nothing to improve it because they don't feel that they need to.

      I so want Apple to enter the E-Ink reader market, but it'll never happen.

      6 votes
      1. [4]
        tesseractcat
        Link Parent
        This is odd, my Kindle Voyage has ~1 second wake up times. I assume warm wake times mean waking from sleep. I don't really notice any substantial issues with speed, except when I try to switch...

        In all reality, a nearly top of the line Kindle is absurdly slow (~8-10 second warm wake times, longer if it's been not used for more than like 6 hours)

        This is odd, my Kindle Voyage has ~1 second wake up times. I assume warm wake times mean waking from sleep. I don't really notice any substantial issues with speed, except when I try to switch between large (~500 MB) manga books, in which case it takes a few seconds to load.

        hard to navigate (you need to remember all the magical invisible touch zones—oh wait was that mistap a page forward or a page back?)

        I don't think the touch zones are hard to navigate, they're pretty intuitive for me, right side for forward, left side for back, top for menu. I like the UI because it is the embodiment of KISS. It does exactly what it needs to do for reading. It would be nice if it had more options, like disabling tapping on Kindles with buttons, but personally everything works just as it needs to.

        and library navigation is just plain unintuitive or annoying (my home screen only shows me three books I want to read, then 3 books from my Goodreads "want to read" wish list, and 6 books I'm entirely uninterested in).

        So set your collections + books as your home view, instead of the default home screen.

        The Kindle user interface is only "good" because it only competes with the utter banality of its nearly irrelevant competition.

        Have you ever used a Kobo device? It basically functions like a Kindle but with way more typographic options... You can also install KOReader easily and get a ton of customization.

        2 votes
        1. userexec
          Link Parent
          Just hopping on here to note that I've had a paperwhite for forever and I've never seen it take a long time to wake up. Always about one second from wake button to readable page. Memory's plenty...

          Just hopping on here to note that I've had a paperwhite for forever and I've never seen it take a long time to wake up. Always about one second from wake button to readable page. Memory's plenty loaded down with purchases and humble bundle books I've mailed to it as well. I've never tried an Oasis, but if my paperwhite took 8 seconds to wake I think I'd be looking for an alternative.

          1 vote
        2. [2]
          NaraVara
          Link Parent
          Now do it on a bus while hanging off a strap and with a briefcase hooked to your arm. Having ONLY touch inputs is such a bizarre design choice for something like this. I miss the hardware buttons....

          I don't think the touch zones are hard to navigate, they're pretty intuitive for me, right side for forward, left side for back, top for menu.

          Now do it on a bus while hanging off a strap and with a briefcase hooked to your arm.

          Having ONLY touch inputs is such a bizarre design choice for something like this. I miss the hardware buttons. It's too easy to have accidental input otherwise.

          1 vote
          1. tesseractcat
            Link Parent
            The Kindle Voyage, Kindle Oasis, Kobo Forma, and the Nook line all have hardware buttons. If you read in an environment like that consistently, it would probably be better to get one of those,...

            The Kindle Voyage, Kindle Oasis, Kobo Forma, and the Nook line all have hardware buttons. If you read in an environment like that consistently, it would probably be better to get one of those, rather than an e-reader with touch controls.

            4 votes
    2. Diet_Coke
      Link Parent
      1.) I may not be a normal user, but I own an iPad and a Kindle, and use both about the same amount - when I fly. Otherwise 90% of my reading is on my phone. I don't think apps would really change...

      1.) I may not be a normal user, but I own an iPad and a Kindle, and use both about the same amount - when I fly. Otherwise 90% of my reading is on my phone. I don't think apps would really change the way I use my Kindle.

      2.) It's also weirdly not intuitive to download books, at least that was my impression last time I needed to. There's a big button to download a sample and no easy button to purchase or download. Once you figure that out though I really like the simple interface.

      I still have and use my first gen Kindle, I really like the e-ink and feel of it (with a cover on). The only downside is my bookshelf looks rather puny because most books I own are on the Kindle.

      1 vote
  4. [4]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I own a Kobo. I deliberately avoided the Kindle because I don't want to be tied into anyone's ecosystem (same reason I never signed up to iTunes or bought an iPhone). However, the Kobo mostly has...

    I own a Kobo. I deliberately avoided the Kindle because I don't want to be tied into anyone's ecosystem (same reason I never signed up to iTunes or bought an iPhone). However, the Kobo mostly has the same lack of advanced features that this blog is complaining about with regard to the Kindle.

    And I'm fine with that.

    I bought a device to read e-books, and it does exactly what I want it to do. I can buy e-books from any source, including but not limited to the Kobo store, and load them to my Kobo... and read.

    I don't need or want it to include newspapers. The screen is too small, for starters. But if the screen was larger... it wouldn't be an alternative to print books any more. It would be a tablet. But I didn't want a tablet. I wanted an alternative to print books. And when I'm reading a book, I want to focus on the book I'm reading, not the news or a dozen other things.

    I also don't want to browse the internet on my Kobo. I want to read books on it.

    It seems like this writer wants something other than an e-reader. He wants an all-purpose device which hooks up to anything and downloads anything and displays anything. But that device already exists: it's called a tablet.

    I'm happy with an e-reader that does one thing and does it well: allows me to read books. (That said, the software could be tweaked a little bit to make it easier to use.)

    7 votes
    1. [3]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      What is the selection like on the Kobo store? Can you find most/all of what you want to read? I'm considering jumping from the Kindle ecosystem to the Kobo one to help me get away from Amazon,...

      What is the selection like on the Kobo store? Can you find most/all of what you want to read?

      I'm considering jumping from the Kindle ecosystem to the Kobo one to help me get away from Amazon, which is a company I'm trying to reduce my business with, but I worry I won't necessarily be able to get all the books I want. I know someone who had a Nook and complained about availability of titles on that device's store, and I'm wondering if it's similar for Kobo.

      1. NaraVara
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        From what I’ve heard, it’s best to just get the ebooks off Amazon if Kobo doesn’t have them and then use something like Calibre to strip the DRM. You can install and use books from other ebook...

        From what I’ve heard, it’s best to just get the ebooks off Amazon if Kobo doesn’t have them and then use something like Calibre to strip the DRM. You can install and use books from other ebook stores too, like Libby, but it seems a bit of a chore.

        Amazon’s locked down format for ebooks really strangled the platform in the crib. Without open standards nothing seems to be supported very well. Not even Amazon’s monopoly offering.

        2 votes
      2. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        The Kobo store is not all-inclusive. There have been books I have not been able to find there. However, there are various reasons for this: Some of the books I want are not available as e-books at...

        The Kobo store is not all-inclusive. There have been books I have not been able to find there. However, there are various reasons for this:

        • Some of the books I want are not available as e-books at all.

        • Kobo doesn't have the rights to some e-books I want.

        • I live in Australia and Kobo didn't bother to get the rights for this country when they bought a particular book (I've noticed some books are available in Kobo's American store but not their Australian store).

        I suggest you go to www.kobo.com and look for yourself. The selections will be better in the USA than here at the arse-end of the world.

        1 vote
  5. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    I think the author is barking up the wrong tree. What you're looking for is a tablet! I don't want my Kindle Paperwhite to get all the current news, customized apps, and websites. If it did all...

    I’d love a version of the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Athletic for my Kindle—the real apps, with the ability to read the latest stories.

    I think the author is barking up the wrong tree. What you're looking for is a tablet!

    I don't want my Kindle Paperwhite to get all the current news, customized apps, and websites. If it did all that, I would never read any books on it! I bought my Kindle in great part because what it cannot do.

    I just wish it was a bit faster to highlight and look up words in the dictionary.

    And a bigger e-ink model - that is still not a tablet - would be great for reading manga.

    4 votes
  6. [3]
    Seven
    Link
    I have a Kindle Oasis, and for me, it works just fine for what I use it for: reading books. The author is right that some things are a bit too difficult to do like read newspapers and the like,...

    I have a Kindle Oasis, and for me, it works just fine for what I use it for: reading books. The author is right that some things are a bit too difficult to do like read newspapers and the like, but those are simply minor problems, not something that is a make-or-break thing for me personally. The OS is good for what it is for, the only problem I have with it being the "special offers" (ads) that are on the lock screen and the main menu. Other than that, my Kindle has gotten me back into reading a lot of new fiction, and I'm hoping that there will be new developments in the e-reader space soon.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      tesseractcat
      Link Parent
      If you ask Amazon support to disable special offers on your Kindle, they'll usually do it, even without you paying the fee.

      If you ask Amazon support to disable special offers on your Kindle, they'll usually do it, even without you paying the fee.

      2 votes
      1. Seven
        Link Parent
        Really? That's awesome, I'll definitely try that out!

        Really? That's awesome, I'll definitely try that out!

  7. Grand0rbiter
    (edited )
    Link
    Love my Kindle Paperwhite. I read books of any formats (converting with Calibre) and it saved me a ton of money. It's been years since i bought and battery life is still wonderful. I keep it...

    Love my Kindle Paperwhite. I read books of any formats (converting with Calibre) and it saved me a ton of money.

    It's been years since i bought and battery life is still wonderful.

    I keep it offline. Sometimes i connect to see if there's any updates, but they keep messing with the UI every damn time and i don't notice a difference performance wise so i just stopped connecting.

    Could be better? Sure, but it is still awesome.

  8. kavi
    Link
    I have a Kindle Fire tablet (yes, it's not an e-reader) which I use for reading. It's... really eh. It's definitely usable and reading at night is definitely fine, but I get so much glare if I try...

    I have a Kindle Fire tablet (yes, it's not an e-reader) which I use for reading. It's... really eh. It's definitely usable and reading at night is definitely fine, but I get so much glare if I try to read on it outside. It was £50, so I'm not surprised, though. Software wise, I just use Calibre to create .azw3's out of the ePubs I have. Battery life is pretty decent, though.

    The writer seems to want to do more than read books, so something like a Fire or another tablet probably suits their use case more.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, special offers is annoying. It's bypassable with adb though, so I'm fine.