Are Digital Books Worth It? A Kindle Review

Kindle

The digital age has brought some amazing innovations to our fingertips. E-books are one of those. Now it is possible for just about anyone to write a book and publish it in e-form at very little to no cost. The book becomes available to anyone and everyone with an internet connection and in essence, more and more people can become published authors than ever before.

With the birth of the e-book, typically published in PDF format, came the birth of the Kindle, and other such e-reader devices. These devices are stand alone readers with a few other bells and whistles such as a wireless internet connection, mp3 playing capability and even simple games.

The Kindle is Amazon.com’s rendition of the e-reader device and probably the most popular because it connects to the Amazon store and you can purchase books directly from the Kindle, have them instantly downloaded wirelessย  to your device and even have your bookmark’s synced from one device to another.

I’ll admit right now that I am intrigued by this device and the technology it uses but I don’t typically spend any money on single use devices like these, especially to the tune of $200+.

So when I noticed a Kindle application on my Android phone, I did a little research into the app. It appears that Amazon has released an app for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Mac and Windows so just about anyone can take advantage of the Kindle book library and Kindle functionality.

I happily installed the app to give Kindle a whirl. The following are my thoughts.

I found the application very well designed. The different reading color contrast options, font sizes and brightnesses were welcomed and they all worked well. Navigating a book was very intuitive and I actually really enjoyed using the app to read on my phone.

I was able to jump onto the Amazon store and browse for books available for the Kindle and you can even download samples of any books available there. The sample books download right to the device like a full book would and they let you read a chapter or so in, just enough to get you really interested ๐Ÿ™‚

Buying books was, dare I say, too easy. I accidentally bought a book that I was sampling because of the “One Click” buy method used by the Kindle. The majority of the books available on the Kindle are $10 although there is a section of free books (Most of them so obscure, I doubt I would ever read any of the titles there).

So all in all I found the app to be really well designed and I would love to use it to read PDF’s and other content, but I don’t think actually buying a Kindle device, or buying e-books from the Kindle store to be worth it for a few reasons.

Firstly, most of the books are $10 which isn’t too bad considering you get instant delivery and you can have the book an all of your Kindle devices such as your computer, your phone, and your Kindle reader but how often do you go to Amazon to buy a NEW book? I always check to see what options are available in the used category before I ever buy new and you can get most books, in physical form for under $10.

Secondly, when you buy in physical form, you have a physical copy. You can do with it what you please, once you have read it. You can give it away, or resell it to recoup part of the original cost.

One last thing I found interesting while reading more about Kindle on Amazon.com is that they tout the ability to take your entire library whith you where ever you go. Now I consider myself an avid reader, and always have a book on hand, but I can’t see why anyone would want to take their entire library with them everywhere they went. When I read a book, I read a book..not five or five hundred. It’s seems more like a trophy case than anything else and to me, a bit frivolous.

After thoroughly reviewing the app, I intend to return the digital copy of the book I purchased and I have already purchased a physical copy for a few dollars cheaper including shipping. Digital copies of books can be returned within 7 days, and from what I read, the return is hassle free.

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11 People have left comments on this post



» corrinNo Gravatar said: { Jul 7, 2010 - 10:07:45 }

I am a major book worm, but I get so many books at PaperBackSwap that I just can't convince myself that the Kindle is worth the price. It's not so much the price of the Kindle itself that causes pause, it's the $10 a book when I read 1-2 books a week.
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jmichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Agreed, it simply is unnecessary especially with such great programs like PaperBackSwap out there where you can get practically all the books you need for just the cost of shipping!

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» BethNo Gravatar said: { Jul 8, 2010 - 12:07:34 }

I love my kindle. Some of the books I have on it I got for free. And I like carrying my whole library with me. I hate having books lying around everywhere. I also like the abliity to change font sizes and to have a dictionary in the kindle so anytime I'm not 100% sure of a word, I can look it up. Before, I'd tell myself, I'll look it up later, and just never did. I'm in college now, And I can download notes in the kindle and have the notes read to me.That's helpful to my grades. I download and read for free several newspapers a day. All in all, it's very much worth every cent I paid for it.

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jmichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Ah, another use surfaces! I think a Kindle, in it's stand alone form, could be a college student's best friend. It does have many tools and if you can't afford a cell phone (ya some people still can't ๐Ÿ™‚ ) it can get you a mobile browser along with the other tools it offers for a one time cost.

As for t he books, I also don't like the clutter they bring but I just sell or give them away when I've read them. Granted, I would have to buy the book again or visit the library if I wanted to reread it but I like to have that option. Kindle books can't be transferred between people though that would be a great feature and really grey the line between a physical and Kindle book value as you could then resell Kindle books, or loan them, or give them away.

Thanks for sharing you thoughts on this!

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» Shawn TNo Gravatar said: { Jul 10, 2010 - 08:07:15 }

I always have my phone with me, but not always my book. Having the app on all devices, along with the sync almost ensures I'm never without a good book, when a small window of opportunity presents itself. Also, and maybe it's a limitation of available time, but I used to find myself carrying 5+ different books with me on the road: leisure, business, historical, reference, etc., which I no longer have to do. I guess I'm a moody reader. From the reference point of view, I am able to keep on hand a variety of reference books, all the time; and those are big books! Too many benefits and too many mediums of consumption to discount. The kindle itself? Take it or leave it.

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jmichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Thanks for sharing your Kindle experience, Shawn. I can see where Kindle could be very useful for teachers that actually could benefit from having their entire library on hand all the time, as well as business folks that travel as often as you do.

I also didn't consider the fact that some books are quite large and much more expensive than $10 so the price and convenience of Kindle would be beneficial..I usually carry around smaller, cheaper, personal finance books ๐Ÿ™‚

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» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Sep 30, 2010 - 11:09:22 }

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to shed some more light on this topic Maria.

I remember reading about authors and customers getting upset that the Kindle books were more expensive than physical copies, because if I remember correctly, authors don't make any more or make less when the book is sold as a Kindle copy. I haven't seen the prices differ in the wrong direction in a while, maybe that's been fixed?

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» Maria RomanaNo Gravatar said: { Sep 30, 2010 - 11:09:57 }

Some publishers will still price paper higher than digital, especially when they've just a released a new hardcover. Clearly, they're trying to protect their paper book sales by keeping ebook prices artificially high. It doesn't take a business degree to figure out that the equivalent ebook should be cheaper than the paper version, and I don't blame anyone for being upset about it. The authors get upset, because they don't want their fans getting ripped off or boycotting their books; it seems the authors have a better understanding than their publishers of where the market is heading right now.
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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Some things just don't make sense ๐Ÿ™‚ I can never understand some of the moves of these big publishers or corps. A friend of mine got a book published years ago, book sales have always been pretty steady, yet the publishing company is moving completely to ebook format and refusing to pay royalties on any past unpaid book sales on the hard copies…it just doesn't make sense.

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Maria RomanaNo Gravatar Reply:

Man, that sounds totally wrong to me. I wonder if there's something in his contract that allows that? Of course, he'd probably have to hire a lawyer to hash it out, which may be worth more than the royalties, and that's exactly what his publisher is counting on. So much for ethical business practices. =/
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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

I really hope he does. They are claiming that since they won't be doing physical book sales anymore, they don't have to pay the royalties. It's just wrong.



 
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