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 .


The Kindle (and all other ebook readers) miss what I want: an 8.5x11 portable PDF and text file viewer. Those are the only features I want. Cut out the wireless internet access and book buying software.


My husband got me a Kindle2 for my birthday and I love it. I do try to check out books at the library, but there are new books coming out that I just don't want to wait for. $9.99 for a Kindle hardback is reasonable to me and saves both money and shelf space. I actually find the Kindle2 more usable than balancing a hardback.

Imad Qureshi

I would buy may be kindle 3 or 4. They need to give a slot for an SD card, better browser and perhaps more memory than 1.6 GB. SD card would probably never be provided but a better browser and more memory is a must before I even think of buying Kindle.


Clark (#14)-

Thanks. I looked at the free book list. Leaning toward getting one now...


i love my k1 to death and the large page buttons haven't bothered me since the first 45 minutes i picked it up (Other users agree with me on this, but since a lot of reviewers only used theirs for a little while I think the buttons got a bad rap). I like the wedge shape for holding. That said I would have ordered a k2 and given the k1 to my boyfriend (unless I didn't like the k2 in which case it would be all his) but he absolutely refused to let me buy him one!


I don't have a Kindle, but would love one. However, 1) the price has to come down, 2) I'd want expandable memory, and 3) you'd have to be able to "keep" your books if you upgraded again--that may be the case, but I don't know.


> Thanks. I looked at the free book list. Leaning toward getting one now…

Showing my Scottish blood, bublic domain books are the killer application for the Kindle for me. I am catching up on all of the classics that I never read.

Plus, the free samples that one can download from the Amazon Kindle store are great. They are generally long enough to get a good feel for a book and make a judgment as to whether it is worth reading. When it is worth reading, I've been known to pick it up at the library instead of buying the Kindle edition.


I for one absolutely love my Kindle 2 so far. I didn't have the first one but I find (in the week I've had it) that I read a little faster with a little better retention than I used to. It's spectacular for my daily commute from NJ into NYC and is far easier to use with the crowds, bumps and jostles of the subway.

I think the real drawback is that I generally pass on books I've read to my girlfriend so we can share our thoughts and that isn't an option without either a 2nd Kindle or losing mine for a period of time.


I've had my Kindle1 for almost 1 year, now. My husband got one from me, for XMAS, too. We instantly share books - I don't have to wait for him to finish reading anything. We both read constantly, often away from home. We don't ever drive. I have many kinds of things besides books on my Kindle. I have: PDF's of camera instructions that I've sent to Kindle for 10 cents a piece. That's one whole book - not 10 Cents a page! I have papers that I've downloaded off the internet, including Rothbard's Great Depression, and newspaper subscriptions, too. The greatest thing ever, is that I can search every book in my library, wikipedia, the web, or the Oxford English Dictionary for a word or phrase, right in my lap, on the bus, without ever opening a new device or book. I can browse books, newspapers, blogs or the internet, anyplace that has cell phone service. No need to find (or pay for) WiFi and no wireless fees, either. And has 1000's of books ready to be sent to my Kindle any time for FREE.
The 2 reasons I won't upgrade to Kindle2 is that I'm perfectly happy with the one I already have and I don't have anyone else I could give my Kindle1 to. My friends either already have theirs or else they aren't big readers and wouldn't use it.



Now that Amazon's released an iPhone app for Kindle books, I won't be buying a Kindle at all. I considered it for a while, but what I really wanted was access to the Kindle store, not the device itself.

I get that the screen size is better on ebook readers, but I already carry an iPhone, iPod, netbook, digital camera and their assorted chargers and accessories. One more device will probably send me over the edge.


still thinking. its a lot of money if you dont want to go to your public library. maybe you have the cash to spend, but I could use the money in several different ways.

Brad Hicks

I couldn't disagree more with the people who prefer the K1 to the K2: the thinner body and MUCH lighter weight, and edge buttons that are harder to hit accidentally, were what tipped me over the edge. Similarly, the aluminum back is a big plus, to me, too; without it, a device this light would feel too flimsy and and flexible to be likely to last under real-world conditions. (The aluminum back serves the same purpose the aluminum or magnesium frame inside your laptop serves, and yes, it has one: it's what keeps it rigid.)

And here's what has surprised me, after owning one for a week: I'm finding it actually much, much more comfortable to read than regular books are. (And I say this as someone who's been addicted to books since 1973.) Not having to grip it in one particular way to keep the front cover and turned pages out of my way is very nice. It's actually lighter than all but the skinniest of paperbacks, too. The contrast is at least as good as all but the highest-quality hardcovers (the ones I generally can never afford), and with the ability to change the font size on the fly without losing my place, it's even more comfortable to read in an even wider variety of lighting conditions.

And I must also say that it's even better as a magazine reader than it is as an e-book reader, since it lets me carry around a heck of a lot of magazines that I haven't finished yet, and finish them in any order that serves me. No, really; even if it weren't for the free web access via 3G cellular modem, this would still have turned out to be the best $400 I've spent in the last several years.


Robert Allen

As someone who does most (over 75%) reading away from the my apartment (public transit and libraries, primarily), I will certainly "invest" in a kindle when the price lowers/my capital raises. The kindle will replace the book, analogous as the iPod did to the clunky cd player. I see an inherent advantage in bringing one, slim kindle in exchange of several clunky and messy books/newspapers. Books will always remain for nostalgic value (think vinyls, cds), however most will choose the more-enviromentally friendly ebook.


I have a Kindle1 but I assume this would apply to both Kindles: amazon does need to get its act together re footnotes and charts. Footnotes sometimes there, sometimes not, sometimes wrongly calibrated--clearly designed for a reader who does not do footnotes. Reading eg Barry Eichengreen on the global money system, I quickly figured out that if I wanted the charts I'd have to buy the paper.


"Nonusers, does the Kindle2 turn you on?":

Well, it did briefly, but I'd had too much to drink. I'd just come home from the pub, fired up the Mac, and read about the Kindle2. How modern! How easy! How immediately gratifying could you get--wouldn't it be great to get that book we were just talking about and have it sent right then to your reading device as you lay in your bed?! It seemed like such a good idea to order one on the spot....but it also seemed like a lot of trouble to go get the credit card just then. Thankfully, I sobered up, and decided that reading as I had always done would continue to suit me just fine.

David Rasmussen

@21 Andrew,
Reading .pdf files is not that much of a problem. Instructions here:

Mark B

I would get one if I could effectively read PDF's of journal articles on it. But, currently this "feature" seems more like a hassle.


To put it all into percpective: I can read books on my iPhone--comfortably. I can have all these gadgets in one in my pocket.


Although I have never used a Kindle before, lately I've been thinking seriously about getting one.

I'm still just in college so I don't really know people who have them, but it seems like many of the people that I respect online have them and LOVE them. I want one because they have them.

Also, I think the new Kindle appeals to my generation more than the old one. People my age love sleek stuff that looks Applesque. The old one looked something more like my parents would have, and the new one looks like something I would have.


Having borrowed my brother's original Kindle and enjoyed it, I recently looked into getting my own Kindle. The Kindle 2 was the only current option, and after looking at its size and other such changes, I decided against it. The original Kindle, though I don't prefer it to books (I like the paper feel), had a particular weight that made it seem at least similar to a book. My only complaint was that I always seemed to accidentally push the page forward/page back buttons, but with practice in reading a Kindle, that could be remedied. The Kindle 2 is just too slim and shiny to be pleasing in the same sense as a Kindle 1, and I'd rather turn pages accidentally than have to think to turn them.