samedi 6 novembre 2010


I have been the owner of an Amazon Kindle for about one year now. For nitpickers, it is very exactly the Kindle 2 International Version.

I am an avid book reader, and a book lover. My wife and I own thousands of books, and I can't go anywhere without at least having a look at the local bookseller.

Why did I need a Kindle? First and foremost because it is convenient. I commute every weekday, spending between 90 minutes and two hours daily in public transportation. Needless to say, I always have a book at hand.

But I was getting more and more disturbed by two things. First, a book can get heavy (nothing new, but maybe I am getting older), and, second, it is very easy to damage books when travelling back and forth with them.

This, combined to the fact that I was intrigued by this e-book thing, led me to buy a Kindle almost as soon as it was available in my country.

First steps

Three things are immediately visible when you start using the Kindle 2:
  1. It does not have gorgeous look. Definitely. The Kindle DX is way cooler, IMHO.
  2. It has a bit of a learning curve. The documentation is there, very clear and all, but it has so much functions that, up to now, I bet I don't master it very well.
  3. The screen flashes between each pages. Everybody claims you won't notice it after a few hours, but these were my first steps, and I did notice it!
I was well aware of these three points, they appear in every review of the Kindle. And they are no big deal, in the end.

I'd rather have a cool-looking gadget, but I was in need of a tool. And the Kindle fits this need perfectly, so I forgot about its look.

As I said, I certainly don't master all the functionalities. I should read the documentation again, but I'm OK with what I know.

Before you ask for a clarification: Yes, I did read the documentation "cover-to-cover" (this expression looks strange when it comes to e-books...); I often do it with manuals.

And, yes, you don't notice the screen flashing after a while.

And now?

I could write you pages about the pros and cons of the Kindle. I think you only need to know one thing: I take it with me anywhere I go.

Now, I always have a book to read at hand. Now, I am always able to buy a new book. I love it.

The eye of the beholder

When people see you with a Kindle, they have all sorts of interesting reactions.

Be used to have people glancing at you, wondering what sort of device you are getting out of your bag. It is far from a common device here.

Some people mistake it for some sort of a netbook, and are amazed by the idea of someone using such a crappy keyboard. I don't correct them: I'm busy reading!

Other people know it is an e-book reader, and start to ask questions. Many are interested in the concept, but I have seen surprisingly strong rejections of the whole idea of e-reading. The reason I hear most often is missing the physical contact of the book.

This reason sounds awkward to me. I am a book lover, considered by many as a book maniac. But, for a few very beautifully crafted books, you often read standard-crafted books. As soon as the real value of the book is in its text contents (art books are not suited to be read on a Kindle, for instance - images are awful), I can't buy into this physical contact story.

The last tribe you meet are you own kin. Two or three times in the past year have I seen someone with a Kindle. You click, exchange a glance and a smile. And you go back to your reading.

Now I have a question

Given my number of followers, I certainly won't have an answer, but I try anyway.

When off, the Kindle displays an image. It has a set of images, and the image changes everytime you switch it off. You have portraits of many authors, for instance.

Does someone know what monument is displayed on the photo above? I think I got most of the images, but I'm stuck on this one. Thanks!