Songhai Concepts

Media Literacy/Digital Archiving Instructor

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How does the Kindle stack up against the iPad?

My laptop does everything the iPad can do and my cell phone can do everything my laptop can do. I'd never pull my laptop (or an iPad) out on the subway or on the bus, but I'd pull my cell phone out just about anywhere, to check my email and Twitter, listen to music, and take my pictures and watch videos and more.

But it's hard to read books and magazines on my cell phone for more than 15 minutes, the screen is too tiny. Reading books on the laptop works, but it's clunky, especially if you are on the go.

If you're a reader, then the Kindle is a no-brainer. It's sleek, trim and you have access to just about any book in print. The Kindle gives you access to newspapers, magazines and blogs and it comes with an indispensable dictionary widget. The dictionary eliminates the need for assorted reference books cluttering up your desk. The dictionary feature on the Kindle is a very smart and powerful tool.

Wikipedia is built into the Kindle and the Kindle reads pictures, plays MP3 files and reads PDF files. The Kindle does all that and fits in the palm of your hand. Put the Kindle inside a leather cover and you can discreetly read from it anywhere, in line at the supermarket, on the train, in the waiting room, and you won’t look like a show off or a geek doing so.

I've been studying and reading up on eReaders for about six months - Sony Reader, Nook, Plastic Logic Que Reader, Cool-er, and Kindle.  I was really impressed with the Nook - on paper and was planning to purchase one, but just about all of reviews I read were unfavorable.
All of the reviewers pretty much said the same thing - the Nook is too slow, it crashes, it's clunky, it needs a firmware update...  And from what I gathered, even after the firmware update, the Nook still left a lot to be desired.

I couldn't see spending $259.00 and not being totally pleased with my purchase, so I scratched the Nook from my wish list. I considered the Cool-er eReader. I especially liked the ability of adding an SD card to increase the storage space, but the Cool-er isn't wireless. The wireless Sony Reader was too expensive and, for me, visually, it was not as smooth and lean as the Nook or the Kindle. The Plastic Logic Que looks like it's an awesome device but it's way too big and way, way too expensive.

Then somewhere I read that you could read ePub books on the Kindle using a tool called Calibre. The ability to download old classics, for free, was at the top of my list of must-do's for an eReader. My ideal eReader had to have the ability to read books from Project Gutenberg and Google books.
I was not all that interested in the books on the New York Times Best Seller List.
I wanted to be able to read classics like Paul Laurence Dunbar, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Sojourner Truth, Joel Chandler Harris, Charles Chesnutt, Gibran, Hopkins, Budge, Confucius and more. My research was indicating that the Kindle could do all of that and more.
I checked and double-checked the ins and outs of Calibre and once I was convinced, I ordered my Kindle later that night.

My Kindle arrived in two days and then magic started happening.
The Kindle is perfect, the design, the weight, the price and all the books, the newspapers, the magazines and Wikipedia. Imagine your entire library in the palm of your hands.
The Kindle does everything you’d expect from an eReader exceptionally well.
In hindsight, the Kindle should have been my first and only eReader choice a year ago.

It just flat out works.

H Songhai

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