Kindle 2 Reviews – Truth is 86% of owners are very happy.

If you look at Amazon, there are 748 or so reviews of the Kindle 2 (as of 9:29 am, 6th March 2009). The overall rating is approximately 4 stars.

This is what reviews from actual owners look like -

  1. 5 stars – 400.
  2. 4 stars –  129.
  3. 3 stars –  35.
  4. 2 stars – 28. 
  5. 1 star – 24.

529 out of 616 Kindle 2 owners give it 4 stars or 5 stars. That means 86% of Kindle 2 owners are very happy with it. So more of a 4.25 stars rating. 

Additionally over 20 of the 1, 2 and 3 star reviews are from people angry about the Text To Speech feature being made optional. 

If your main concern is whether Kindle 2 owners are happy with the Kindle 2 – Yes, they are!

Amazon doesn’t screen out reviews from non-owners and looking at reviews at Amazon paints a different picture i.e.

Perception is not Reality

Perception is not Reality

Digging deeper for insights -

Kindle 2 1 star reviews

The key insights into 1 star reviews for K2 -

  1. There are  83 1 star reviews.
  2. 59 are by people who’ve never owned a Kindle 2.
  3. That leaves 24 reviews by actual owners.
  4. The single biggest reason for negative reviews by Kindle 2 owners is the removal of the Text To Speech feature. Over 12 of the 83 1 star reviews are related to the removal of Text To Speech. 
  5. Two other big reasons for negative reviews by actual owners are the lack of a cover and problems with Whispernet. 
  6. There are 8 owners who got one-off problems like not being able to make purchases or their Kindle 2 USB not working with their laptop.  

The big takeaway for me is that 24 actual owners gave the Kindle 2 a 1 star review, and 59 people who’ve never owned a Kindle 2 (and in most cases never even touched one) gave it a 1 star review. Amazon really ought to limit reviews to people who actually bought Kindle 2.

Kindle 2 – 2 star reviews

The Kindle 2 2 star reviews feature a much higher percentage of actual Kindle 2 owners -

  1. 46 2 star reviews.
  2. 28 are from actual Kindle 2 owners.
  3. 18 are from people who’ve never touched or owned a Kindle 2. 
  4. A big opportunity that’s been pointed out is reading out the menus and reading out directions for ordering books. In the words of reviewer Patricia Ward – “make it accessible and you have the whole market for the visually impaired in the palm of your hand’. 
  5. The single biggest reason for 2 star reviews is the lack of contrast between screen and text. Amazon needs to improve this with a quick software update.
  6. Two other big reasons are (once again) the removal of the Text to Speech feature, and the lack of folders.

Kindle 2 – 3 star reviews

The 3 star reviews are almost neatly split down the middle -

  1. 65 3 star reviews. 
  2. 35 are from actual owners. 
  3. 30 are from non-owners. 
  4. The biggest issues owners have are the lack of a backlight, the lack of enough contrast on the screen, and the removal of Text to Speech.
  5. Amazon needs to communicate better. Mr. Bezos said in an interview that a backlight (and even a sidelight) takes away from readability and adds eye strain. People seem to be unaware of this.
  6. There were quite a few people who seemed to really like the Kindle 2 and still gave it 3 stars because of one drawback.

Kindle 2 – 4 star reviews

4 star reviewers offered up their own insights -

  1. There are 144 4 star reviews. 
  2. 129 are from actual Kindle 2 owners. 
  3.  15 are from non-owners.
  4. The 4 biggest improvements Kindle 2 owners are asking for are – text to speech brought back, better screen contrast, a larger screen, and folders.
  5. A sizable number of people who upgraded from Kindle 1 to Kindle 2 amongst the 4 star reviewers.

Kindle 2 – 5 star reviews

Brings us to the 5 star reviews which dwarf other reviews -

  1. There are  417 5 star reviews.  
  2. 400 are from actual owners.
  3. 17 are from non-owners. 
  4. Lots of comparisons to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and also people feeling like Captain Kirk from the Enterprise.
  5. The biggest improvements people wanted to see are – folders, keeping TTS/ Read To Me, an SD card slot, better screen contrast.
  6. If you have problems with Ghosting, Alt-G will refresh the screen and eliminate problems.

Thoughts on Actual Kindle 2 Reviews

For me the biggest takeaways are -

  1. People are reading again, and reading much more than they used to. 
  2. Something that’s a widely held belief in Microsoft i.e. it takes until the third iteration of a software to create a star product. Kindle 2 is very good, and 3 is almost certainly going to be a star product.

If you’ve never owned a Kindle 1, I’d highly recommend buying a Kindle 2. In the words of a reviewer – “If you love reading, you MUST buy it”.  Just make sure -

  1. To focus on reviews from people who’ve actually owned a Kindle 2.
  2. Make sure that you want a device for READING.
  3. If you’re low vision or blind try one out in person before buying it.

12 Responses

  1. Great post switch!

    Completely off topic, but I’ve been looking for answer to this question for years, maybe someone can help.

    I want to keep track of all my favorite authors and know when their next book will be released. Just like there are RSS feeds of the upcoming DVDs of the week, I want an RSS feed of all the upcoming books for each week. Even better would be the ability to create your own feeds based on genera of books (fiction, nonfiction, mystery, ect.) or even keywords.

    If there is an answer to this problem I have not yet found it. I am even willing to help create a website that supplies this kind of information, but I don’t know where to get the data of new book releases from.

  2. One thing that holds me back from purchasing a Kindle is that I can’t see or hold one in person before purchasing it. Obviously Amazon is an online retailer, but for this product it seems to me that it would make sense to sell it at brick and mortar outlets as well. I can think of reasons that Amazon doesn’t do this, but are they good reasons?

  3. I think the key sentence here is “Kindle 2 is very good, and 3 is almost certainly going to be a star product.”

    I checked the ‘see a kindle in your city” link and sure enough there isn’t one in NJ at all.

  4. [...] 86% of Kindle 2 owners love it - check my post on Kindle 2 Reviews from actual owners. [...]

  5. [...] of Kindle 2 reviews was 748, weeding out reviews from non-owners had indicated that the number of satisfied Kindle 2 owners (5 or 4 stars) was 86%. So it’d not be a surprise if slightly more than 81.5% of K1 and K2 [...]

  6. [...] Kindles in general are ‘people who’ve used it, absolutely love it’ devices. The overwhelming majority of Kindle owners love it. [...]

  7. [...] giving it 4 or 5 stars, people are getting more interested in the kindle dx. Also, as a comparison, for the Kindle 2 it was 86% of owners who were giving it 4 or 5 stars. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Kindle DX selling [...]

  8. I would love to see Kindle 2 allow it owners to swap their books. My friend and I used to share book before we got our Kindle. That is for me a biggie. I would like to see them allow us to register a friend’s Kindle so as to swap books without going to their account.

  9. [...] 2009 – Kindle 2 was getting biased reviews – Only 24 out of the 79 1 star reviews were from actual Kindle owners. [...]

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