Are You Upgrading Your Kindle?

Some things — Terminator, Elvis — were better in their original incarnations. Forbes‘s Andy Greenberg thinks the Kindle was too.

The Kindle2, which came out this week, doesn’t “feel as natural for reading” as the original Kindle, Greenberg writes. Its “cold and slippery” aluminum back and smaller page-turning buttons, he says, make the Kindle2 seem “more interested in wowing customers with its iPod-like exterior than in comfortably filling the space between an index finger and a thumb.”

The original Kindle found success by appealing to “passionate readers,” as The Economist reports, who are generally older and want an authentic reading experience over flashy gadgetry.

So Kindle1 users, are you thinking about paying another $359 to upgrade? Nonusers, does the Kindle2 turn you on?

Amazon is making sure the Kindle2 comes with at least one unique incentive: a new novella by Stephen King — who’s been at the center of electronic publishing for quite a few years — is only available on the Kindle2 .


Jon

Maybe the Kindle2 isn't better than the first, but Terminator 2 is definitely better than the first!

mfw13

Given the current state of the economy, why would anybody waste money buying one in the first place, let alone pay for an upgrade?

Lest anybody forget, books are still completely free at your local public library.

Michael Kaye

Whether or not Kindle2 receives the acceptance that Kindle1 enjoyed it seems that Amazon is going to have confront a growing consumer revolt against creeping price inflation. For Kindle books priced over the $9.99 price that Amazon has been promoting, the reviews and tags are as likely to be protesting the price as referring to the content of the book.

Here's an example from Baldacci's Divine Justice: "Charging $11 for a paperback novel -- without the paperback! -- is ridiculous. "

Grant

Hmm...if I want something to "comfortably fill the space between an index finger and a thumb" I'll just go to the Strand and get a $4 paperback. Or the library and get one for free. Sheesh.

Uthor

The Kindle looks interesting, but I don't do a lot of reading away from home, so I don't really have a need for one. Plus, with the ebooks costing $10 (from what I've seen), I'd have to buy a TON of books to make the initial investment worth it.

Matt

I just downloaded the new Kindle app for my iPhone (which lets you download any Kindle e-book to be read on the iPhone) and, for the time being at least, I think this is definitely the better alternative. It may not have the fancy e-ink screen, but I get access to reading material no matter where I'm at and regardless of whether or not I planned ahead. Plus, don't have to fork over an extra $360 either.

Mike

My fiancee has a Kindle and I just got a Kindle 2. I definitely prefer the newer model, though I feel they overdid the new design a bit; the buttons are slightly too difficult to push after the original's were way too easy to accidentally hit.

I agree with #1 and #3, though there's value (to customers, or at least to me since I chose to buy books this way) in not having to tote around the physical book and maybe publishers will wind up capturing some of that with slightly higher prices than paperbacks (though much cheaper than hardcovers).

As for #2, not everyone reads only while sitting around at home with complete disregard for the size and weight of books. While I admit that the Kindle isn't a necessity, I decided it was worth more than its price, so I bought it. Your utility function may vary.

HW

I find that most people trying to thrash the Kindle as a waste of money have generally never had any experience with one. The Kindle is my favorite of any gadget I've ever owned, hands down.

GTW

Yes, I upgraded. The first Kindle went to a family member, which is quite nice since the books are shared between the kindles.

Helmut

If I hadn't been an early adopter, I would have held out for the newest one, if only for faster page turning. It's not worth it to upgrade, but it would have been worth waiting 6 months. It's not about flashiness, it's just better usability.

Tim Butz

I had the opportunity to use both Kindles recently (working for a textbook publisher, we're very interested in ebook devices), and I found the Kindle2 to be better than its predecessor. While I like the scroll wheel pointing device on the Kindle1 a little better (it's a little more intuitive) than the eraser head pointing device on the 2, it wasn't THAT much better. And when I picked up the Kindle1 and turned several pages without intending to, I learned very quickly that the big off-the-edge buttons of the Kindle1 are a definite drawback. The bulk of the Kindle1 is a drawback as compared to the 2.

I have to say I don't much like the monochrome text (don't know why, since it's no more monochrome than most trade book pages). Maybe it's because I know I'm looking at a screen, I feel I should be seeing color, icons, etc. And I find it jarring the way the pixels all rearrange themselves when you turn pages. I suspect I could get used to that though.

Do I intend to buy either one for myself? Not in the near term. My mind is opening to the idea though, especially after I learned today that Amazon is releasing a kindle reader for the iPod Touch.

Read more...

Carrie

I am considering getting the Kindle2, but am still on the fence over the whole concept. I like the idea, but I don't read too many new books that would be worth to get electronically.
Half the time I read whatever book looks interesting from the bargain shelf at my local used bookstore. And I am not going to pay $9.99 for Great Expectations when I can get a used copy for $1 from the Book Nook.

Clark

I'm pretty happy with my Kindle 1. About the only thing that would make me upgrade would be a larger display.

Clark

> And I am not going to pay $9.99 for Great Expectations when I can get a used copy for $1 from the Book Nook.

And I'm not going to pay $1 when I can get it for free for my Kindle:

http://manybooks.net/titles/dickenscetext98grexp10a.html

David Rasmussen

My Kindle 1 has an 8 GB memory card, which beats the 2GB of memory in the Kindle 2, which does not have a memory card slot. So, I am not thinking of upgrading. But, if the Kindle 2 allows easier toggling between sections and articles of newspapers, I might be pursuaded otherwise.

itouch reader

I just downloaded the Kindle for my itouch,. The kindle interests me as I usually travel with a suitcase filled with books to read. On my next trip I will try using the kindle app on my touch to see if that is a reasonable substitute for several paperbacks. However I will buy just one book to use with the kindle and download several free ones to use with Stanza. I am not sure just how much I want to read on such a small screen - but just about anything beats lugging along a heavy suitcase filled with books.

John

I am, well, not upgrading to Kindle 2...

Amazon caved in on the text-to-speech feature as recently reported in the news... We will probably see faster advancements in this area in the near future as competition heats up.

While I am very interested in Kindle 2, I am still waiting for these books to be DRM free. It's just so much easier and "thought-free" when I don't have to worry about DRM and how I use something. The higher the resolution, the better it is too. We are nowhere near true 300-dpi but that's a technical limitation at this point.

Speaking of DRM-free, Amazon does have an awesome MP3 store that is DRM-free with a large selection and often good prices. It would be nice if they had the same thing with books.

On the note about Amazon, I recently came across an interesting table that details the discounts on Amazon. It is at http://www.uberi.com

Maybe someone will find it useful too.

Read more...

philip

Has no one noticed that the kindle2, at least for now, comes with free cellular broadband? It can be used for both email and free browsing of more text-oriented sites with no service contract. That alone seems to be worth the $360 price tag.

Jenn S.

I love my K1, and am definitely pondering a K2, but haven't ordered up yet. I am very interested in the improvement to the page advance buttons, and the higher screen resolution looks good too. I had wished for more feature/software upgrades on the K2 - dreaming that the folks at Amazon would hear our pleas for a folder organization system for our libraries.

I am perfectly happy with my K1, and when I upgrade it will be so that I pass along my K1 to my husband would like to read the books I've got in my Kindle library too, and it's difficult to share one Kindle.

Charlotte

I didn't own a Kindle 1, but I ordered the Kindle 2. I kept it less than a week before returning it. I just didn't like not having a physical book.