Kindle 2 is capable of producing darker text than the default setting, which is light, thin, and difficult to read for many people. Customer Service has reportedly told at least one person that the standard text could have been a darker shade of gray/black than the one that was chosen. If you would like Amazon to provide a software update to darken the regular book text (or provide a user-selectable option to do so), please post here with your opinion.
It seems that there are a growing number of people that are deciding to return their Kindle 2 because the text is too light compared to their expectations or to their Kindle 1. This isn't good, obviously, for either Amazon or their customers. I love the Kindle 2, and I want to keep it, but it is hard to justify when the text is so light on a relatively dark background.
I would also suggest that you email feedback on this issue to:
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. If you are unsatisfied with the text on Kindle 2, I hope you will continue posting your concerns in a civil and constructive manner. What follows is essentially my (very lengthy) parting shot on this issue.
I ultimately decided to return both of my Kindle 2's (each was defective---for reasons other than the contrast), and I did not ask for a replacement. If Amazon had made a statement announcing their intention to resolve the contrast issue by darkening the text, I would have made a different decision; but, at the risk of sounding trite, their silence was deafening.
Out of curiosity, I recently decided to visit a local store that had a competing digital reader on display. I had no intention of buying it because it didn't have wireless, the selection of books was limited, and---to be honest---I had become strangely loyal to Amazon and the Kindle despite the defective units they had sent me. But I did want to see another E-Ink display to compare to the Kindle's. I was immediately impressed by the quality of this other device (for those of you wondering, it is the lower-priced model of the two devices they offer). It looked---in my opinion---much nicer than the Kindle, it was better built (aluminum rather than plastic), it was smaller (just about the perfect size), the menu navigation was faster and easier to use, the font was better (it looks like a regular book font), and the screen contrast WAS better. (The background looked slightly lighter and the text was slightly darker and much more consistent. The screen also has a difficult to describe---almost shimmery---appearance that makes it look of better quality, although it only displays 8 shades of gray. By comparison, it makes the Kindle 2 screen look drab and lifeless.)
I decided to buy this device, bring it home, and compare it to the two Kindle 2's I had not yet returned. It was easy to see the difference in the contrast among the screens. (I should note, however, that other people in this forum have suggested that they cannot see a difference in contrast between this device and the Kindle. You should judge for yourself.)
So now for the downside---this device is missing some very useful capabilities. As I said before, there is no wireless, which is critical to some people. There is no text annotation, no in-line dictionary, no free samples of books from the Kindle store (obviously), and there is a more limited selection of contemporary books available. For some people, these capabilities understandably make the Kindle indispensable.
But here was the deciding factor for ME: it provides a significantly better reading experience, which is after all, what I use it for. I do miss some of the capabilities I mentioned above, but I love reading on this device. I could never get comfortable reading on the Kindle because of the light and inconsistently rendered text---it was a constant distraction. I would still be willing to buy another Kindle 2 if they ultimately fix the text; the Kindle really is an incredibly capable device. But for me, it doesn't do the one thing that is most important---provide a satisfying reading experience. For those of you that are unsatisfied with the Kindle 2, I suggest you make a trip to your local electronics, book, or department store and check out the competition. You may find that it is a better solution for you.
Finally, I would like to say that Amazon customer service has treated me very well, with the notable exception of their aloof and somewhat condescending responses to my concerns about the text.