My Own Two Cents: Why I Hate My Kindle


I love technology. I may write about fantastic societies without computers or electronics, but I still love my iPod, my netbook, and my Playstation. Despite this, I hate my Kindle.

It was a generous Christmas gift, and I’ve been trying to experiment and work around my initial impressions, but so far any attempt to find a more positive angle hasn’t worked.

Let’s start with the consumption problem. When I buy a latte in a disposable cup and drink it, it’s been consumed. I trash the cup, I notice the expense on my debit card statement, and I move on. I’ve consumed something, and it is wholly gone. Books on the Kindle feel the same way for me. I can’t give them to a friend, donate them to the Denver Children’s Home, sell , or trade them. The book I purchased for the Kindle was the same price as a paperback, and it’s gone. I’m never going to read it again. From an author’s standpoint, this is a good thing: a single copy for a single reader, so a book will have higher sales figures, but it also impacts the ability of a reader to spread the book’s popularity by word of mouth or loaning it out. If eBook’s cost were lower than a paperback it might appeal to me.

The second problem involves the portability: I can use the Kindle to load up on books so that say, on a two week trip to Europe, I’m not toting around as much weight. But I can’t use the Kindle during takeoff and landing, two periods when I’m most likely to read while everyone else watches the belt bit or braces for impact.

I thought perhaps the vocal feature would be useful: I could listen to any book I purchased, but that quickly proved grating. It was like being read to by Stephen Hawking, so I’m more likely to pay for an Audible book that I can stand to listen to.

A friend pointed out that pdfs can be transferred over, but this did not work very well either. I have a lot of reference books, mostly historical, that could be usefully stored in a digital form, but the Kindle doesn’t handle viewing them very well. You need to zoom in and around in order to see the pages. This kills the pdf’s ease of use completely, and I’m more likely to stick with my netbook. This problem might be solved by upgrading to the larger version, but that would further degrade the portability factor.

I am sure that the environmental impact of printing a book and shipping it to a store outweighs the cost of transmitting it wirelessly to the Kindle, but I’m also tired of having to charge the various devices in my life. A book is perfectly serviceable. It does not require a battery or one more cord in a drawer.

These are my own impressions, and two friends swear I’ll come around, that in no time the Kindle will be as indispensable to my life as my iPod, but so far I have to say that I’m going to stick with killing trees and browsing bookstores.

7 thoughts on “My Own Two Cents: Why I Hate My Kindle

  1. Brooke says:

    Interesting. I recently bought a Nook from BN, and I like it… sometimes. I got the Nook over the Kindle because I could read ebooks from the library. Only the selection of books at the library isn’t that great, and the software involved in transferring the books to the Nook doesn’t work so great. The software also doesn’t like my BN account.
    One good thing about the Nook is you CAN lend a book to someone else, as long as they have a Nook… I don’t really know anyone who has one though.
    I am glad to rid my life of some of my book clutter, because I have a lot of books that just sit on the bookcase. I love them, I don’t want to get rid of them… but they take up too much room. I am ready for a paperbackswap.com kind of solution for ebooks though.

  2. Sean says:

    I think that, after using mine (two actually sine I left one on a plane) I see it more as a supplement to my reading habits rather than a replacement. I have strong objections to the temporary nature of the medium, one silicon breakdown and the books are gone. Paper doesn’t re-boot itself or require software updates. No page numbers on the Kindle. Numerous other quicks and failings that make it sometimes a burden rather than a benefit. But I do LOVE the ability to carry hundreds of books, which means hundreds of options when the inevitable drop in interest hits when reading a particular book. I guess, like many things, as the first real serious and mass market attempt to make the e-book mainstream, the Kindle has its pluses and minuses and for many of we bibliophiles, it doesn’t rise to the level of replacing what is at the core of our passion for reading.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I guess you will want to put a facebook icon to your site. Just bookmarked this blog, but I must make this manually. Simply my 2 cents.

  4. I’ve heard they’re useful for reading manuscripts – easier than pulling out a laptop. But nope, so far I have no desire for one. (After seeing a friend’s iPad, though, I’ll confess that’s the device I wouldn’t mind owning.)

  5. I’ve got to admit that it’s growing on me. If I traveled more I think I could love it. The Audible integration is getting it a lot of use, though I think a more compact iPod would work better.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I would like to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and by no means seem to get something done.

  7. Anonymous says:

    A kindle is a sales device for amazon. I use public libraries and have not purchased a book for years. Everytime I google free ebooks I get sent to the Amazon website so I can buy books from the tiny black and white picture. Why?

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