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Kindle: Amazon's Original Wireless Reading Device (1st generation)

4.3 out of 5 stars 8,043 customer reviews
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  • Revolutionary electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
  • Simple to use: no computer, no cables, no syncing.
  • Wireless connectivity enables you to find, buy, and read instantly—whether you’re in the back of a taxi, at the airport, or in bed.
  • Shop the Kindle Store directly from your Kindle.
  • Buy a book and it is auto-delivered wirelessly in less than one minute.
3 used from $242.00

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This is less a "pros and cons" review than a hopefully useful commentary about the Kindle compared with other eReaders and what it means for the eBook industry. (I believe that everything has changed with the Kindle's creation.)

For many years I have been an avid reader of eBooks using almost every eReading device on the market. So as an early-adopter of techie gadgets I had been anxiously awaiting Amazon's Kindle since its first rumors. So I immediately purchased it both out of curiosity and hoping for a better "next generation" eBook solution. In case you're wondering whether I'm "that" Steve Gibson, I probably am -- I'm the guy who gets Google's first three or four links when Googling my name.

I was driven to write this review because it is somewhat distressing and, it seems to me, a bit unfair for the Kindle's average review rating to be dragged so far down by Kindle NON-OWNERS who, judging from their comments, seem to be quite annoyed by all of the positive comments about a device that's expensive, monochrome, not a general purpose media player, unable to leap tall buildings, or in some way less than they were expecting, wanting, or hoping. In contrast to non-owners, the people who actually HAVE Kindle's appear to universally love it, though with very valid caveats. I think of this as "The TiVo Effect" since, for the right sort of user, the Kindle will be life-changing ... but it certainly won't be that for everyone. Although it took me a few days to get completely comfortable with it, I am now hooked.

So, for what it's worth, if this posting is discovered by any truly interested pre-purchasers, I hope that the following commentary might place the Kindle in "perspective" and be of some value to you.
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I read my first novel on the Kindle over the weekend, and having owned it now for a week, thought I would write my review.

The Good:
- The format is immersive. I really did forget I was reading from an electronic device, and even pawed at imaginary pages to turn every now and then. Super easy on the eyes, and I really like the fact that it mirrors a paper reading experience - if the light is bad, the device does not compensate by way of a backlit screen.
- The Kindle store's shopping experience is very smooth, very transparent. I have bought a few books, a magazine, and currently on a couple of free trial magazine and blog subscriptions. The latest editions of the New York Times and The Onion are waiting for me first thing in the morning, once you get the hang of how the "Back" button works (versus "Previous Page"), navigating is a snap.
- The size of the device is just right - it is very easy to hold and read in bed, at a table, on the couch etc. More on this in the "Needs Work" section. But to be clear, my Kindle goes everywhere with me - the doctor's office, the park, the bus etc.
- Pricing on Books is good - I would easily pay $9.99 on a title, especially as we run out of library space at home. I read my first novel in a long time thanks to the Kindle (the book - "A Thousand Splendid Suns", Khaled Hosseini is a trifle predictable and irritating after The Kite Runner ')
- Text is very crisp and easy to read - as I said above, very immersive.
- Love the quick charging and overall battery life.
- Love the integrated web and Wikipedia search.
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I have been using my Kindle for about 6 weeks and I must say that it took me only a few hours to totally fall in love with it. I curl up in my lounge chair with some hot tea next to me and get lost in a world of reading. The size is very appropriate for reading and I can read with only one hand since I use a thumb to press the next page button. This leaves my other hand free to sip my tea or pet the dog.

Fabulous Features:

* Wireless downloading of books - I can look up a book, read a summary and/or a few reviews and then buy it right away. This will cause some financial issues down the road because it is just so easy but is sure is a powerful feature. Entire books really do download in just a few seconds.

* Readability - I am lumping several features under this category. The one-handed reading, the overall size of the reader, the crisp text and the variable font size all work together to make the experience while reading just fabulous. Several times while reading late at night, I pushed the text font button and upped the font size because my eyes were getting a bit tired. A younger reader in our household was comfortable with the smallest font size, while the slightly older readers really appreciated one of the middle font sizes. I used the largest font size when I had the reader propped up on the treadmill. In the past, I have not found a good way to read while using the treadmill because the pages flip and the font was too small but that excuse is gone now.

* Subscription content delivered while I was sleeping. Another bad habit in the making - I stayed in bed and simply turned on the Kindle and was able to read my morning paper without setting foot outside.

* Incredible amount of content with me at all times.
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