Kindle Canada Review – the Canuck Experience

The Kindle isn’t available in Canada yet (October 15th, 2009). However, this review of the Kindle Canada experience should come in handy when Amazon gets the Kindle to Canada (Amazon have a notice saying it will be soon).

You could also look at this in-depth Kindle 2 Review for a ton of details and kindle videos.

Kindle Canada Review – Top Pros

The Kindle is the best current eReader. Here are the top 11 features (with notes on how they translate to Canada) -

  1. Wireless Access to the Kindle Store – Browse the Store wirelessly and get book downloads in 60 seconds. This is a great, super convenient feature and Amazon will almost certainly have this when Kindle Canada debuts.
  2. Range of Books – The Kindle Store has a wide variety of books available. Most European countries have been getting 290K out of the 350K+ available in the Kindle Store. Canada ought to get at least as many. 
  3. The eInk Screen - It’s easy to read, readable in bright sunshine, uses very little battery life and puts next to no strain on your eyes.
  4. Free Internet Access – At this point it’s unlikely that Canada will get Free Kindle Internet – no country outside of the US has.
  5. Great usability – The Kindle is dead simple to use. You don’t have to be tech savvy.
  6. Focus on Reading – The Kindle lets you read without distractions. The long battery life and eye-friendly screen ensure long stretches of carefree reading.
  7. Great value for money. The Kindle itself is $279 for the international Kindle. With taxes and shipping it’ll probably be in the $315 to $350 range so Kindle Canada isn’t as much of a bargain.
  8. Great Book Prices – Kindle Edition books are just $9.99. In Canada Kindle books will be either $12 or $14 depending on what Amazon have to pay wireless companies and what federal and provincial taxes are.  Again, the price isn’t as attractive.
  9. Lots of add-on features – There’s Text To Speech (unless Publishers have turned it off for a book) that lets you listen to your books while cooking, driving, etc. An in-built dictionary and a decent search function also add to the reading experience.
  10. Kindle for iPhone – There’s a great free app that lets you read your Kindle Books on the go.
  11. WhisperSync – Lets you synchronize your place in a book across your Kindles, iPhones, etc.

So 8 of the Top 11 features of the Kindle translate well to Canada. Perhaps Amazon can keep Kindle prices low and add to that.

Kindle Canada Review – The Cons

The Kindle also has some disadvantages -

  1. It doesn’t have a touchscreen. However, the touchscreen significantly reduces screen readability so it isn’t really a disadvantage. Check my Kindle 2 Vs Sony Reader Touch comparison video to see for yourself.  
  2. It’s rather plain looking and only available in one color.  
  3. It doesn’t support PDF - or to be more precise you have to convert documents yourself or have Amazon convert them for you. 
  4. It doesn’t support ePub.
  5. The Books have DRM – This is a non issue unless you feel very strongly about DRM. 
  6. You cannot share books or resell them. The lower price of Kindle Edition books compensates for this – although prices aren’t always lower than physical book prices.
  7. There is no color screen – this is because eInk technology is still evolving.
  8. Dropping the Kindle usually breaks the screen (except for very small drops) and it costs $180 or more to get a replacement kindle.

The disadvantages are weighed out by the advantages. However, please make sure that a Kindle shortcoming isn’t a deal breaker for you.

 Kindle Canada Review – Comparing with Sony Reader, Short Covers, etc.

The Kindle Vs Sony review post mentioned above is good if you want an in-depth comparison. Note that even with the lack of Free Internet and higher ebook prices the Kindle is better.

After owning both and reading books on both, there’s little doubt the Kindle is the better eReader. My Kindle doesn’t get WhisperNet since it’s not available in Canada yet and I still prefer the Kindle. Sony don’t use touch effectively and the Touch layer reduces readability.

Short Covers don’t have a dedicated eReader – they have apps for the iPhone and for Blackberry. If you have an iPhone try out both Kindle for iPhone and ShortCovers – they’re both free. ShortCovers limits itself by downloading books chapter by chapter which bothers me more than it should.

Whenever the Kindle is available in Canada (or if you can get one up from the US) it’ll be the best eReader available. 

Kindle Canada – the Canuck Experience

It’s been 6 months of using the Kindle in Vancouver and its been a very good experience -

  1. The Kindle ends up leading to a lot more reading.  
  2. That includes spending more on books than you would earlier.  
  3. Lots of people strike up conversations when they see you with a Kindle.
  4. It’s so light and the battery life is so good (remember to keep wireless turned off) you can take it with you everywhere.
  5. You can read one handed (with either hand) and it’s perfect for reading in bed.
  6. Do note that there’s no back-light so you can’t read in the dark unless you get a reading light. 
  7. Some books aren’t available for the Kindle.
  8. Kindle isn’t water resistant – so no beaches, tubs or reading in the rain unless you get a Trendy Design waterproof Kindle Cover.
  9. Remember to get a warranty so you don’t have to worry about dropping it all the time.

It’s got me reading a lot more and it’s become my 2nd favorite gadget after my phone. I would gladly give it a contract as long as Luongo’s. 

If you love to read you need to get a Kindle when it comes out in Canada. It’s the best eReader and Amazon have managed to make a device optimized for reading.

3 Responses

  1. Seems to me way too many “excuses” in this review. For example:
    In the “cons”:
    1. I hate touch screens. Every one I have ever had, my GPS in my Prius, my GPS in my truck, my Palm Pilot have all not worked properly. Apparently only the iPods work right, but I have not tried those yet.
    2. only available in one color. Skins are readily available in many, many colors.
    3. PDF – direct reading of PDF on any small screen is totally unusable for me. The text is the same as the side of a medicine bottle’s side effects.
    4. ePub – Easily convertible to a mobi file. DRM-ePub is not ePub.
    5. DRM – All the public domain books and some of the other books are
    DRM free. All Gutenberg, feedbooks, Baen and SteveJordanBooks are DRM free.
    6. Cannot share books – This does not apply to all books. Some authors specifically authorize sharing.
    7. Some books not available on Kindle – Some books on Kindle are not available in paper, being out of print.
    8. Not water resistant – most books are also damaged by water.
    9. Need warranty – This is a personal decision on any product. I have 2 Kindles and have just the factory warranty. Good so far. Extended warranties are a gamble with the odds in favor of the insurer.

  2. The thing is that real drawbacks and ‘excuses’ vary by person.

    PDF might be crucial for students who have a lot of research papers in PDF format.

    The whole point of the review is to bring up a lot of the downsides found ACROSS users and reviews so that potential owners know all the pros and cons.

    Obviously, people are going to find only 2 or 3 of the drawbacks are drawbacks for them.
    However, which 2 or 3 will vary across readers.

  3. [...] read my Kindle Canada review which covers using the Kindle in Canada. It does not include whispernet as that wasn’t [...]

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