And it was . . . okay. Honestly, after having an affair with my iPhone for the past 9+ months, I found the Kindle slightly underwhelming, but it has its bright spots, too.
- Size is nice. Feels like a slim book (especially the library copy, which came with a snazzy leather case).
- Screen is easy on the eyes.
- Interface is mostly intuitive (but see below).
- Capacity is good.
- Black and white screen seems low-rent compared to full-color iPhone (and iPad).
- While not hard to figure out, the interface does have some funky elements. The little five-way button doesn't always do what you want or what you expect. Again, suffers in comparison to the finger-swipe goodness of the Magical Phone.
- Can't easily tell where I am within a chapter. The Kindle gives you a little counter on the bottom of the screen to show you that you're 43% of the way done, for example. There's also a progress bar with little dots to indicate a chapter shift. But the distance to and from dots isn't clear, so if it's late at night and my husband is nagging me to stop reading and turn out the light already, I can't easily tell him, "I just have two more pages."
- The screen gives a big flickery shudder every time you turn a page. Wicked annoying.
And I'm not even getting into how and where you can get books on it, and where you can't.So would I buy one? Probably not. I love me some ink and paper, and I feel like there are better options coming soon (iPad, sure, but also full-color dedicated readers, I would think). But did I hate it? No.
I don't believe print will ever really die, and I think in my industry -- children's books -- print will live and last and be profitable longer than in other genres. But I'm not afraid of the digital revolution that we're in. My kids know how to use my phone as well as I do. They love physical books, but they love other media, too, and they're already well-versed in computer games. I fully expect they'll do a good portion of their reading for school on a screen.
Overall I give the Kindle a B-. I'm glad I had a chance to check one out (literally).