Kindle 3 Review – Detailed Kindle 3 Review

This Kindle 3 Review is based on 4 days with the new Kindle 3. Thanks to the Amazon team for sending out a Kindle 3 for me to review.

You can buy the Kindle 3 at Amazon for $189.

The 1-sentence review would be – If you love to read, or want to read more, then the Kindle 3 is absolutely perfect unless you need support for library books.

This is a pretty long review. For a shorter review please check out my Kindle 3 review. You might also want to look at my Kindle 3 Review Videos page or at my Kindle 3 Photos page for Kindle 3 videos and photos.  

Kindle 3 Review – The 8 big improvements

The Kindle Team has improved the Kindle 3 in almost every possible way. There are big improvements like the eInk Pearl screen and a WebKit browser and there are tiny improvements like being able to set the Kindle 3’s time.  

Here are the 8 Kindle 3 improvements that really stood out – 

  1. The eInk Pearl Screen is a thing of beauty. The combination of the 50% better contrast of the eInk Pearl screen, the graphite casing that helps highlight the improved contrast, and subtle software tweaks means that the Kindle 3 leaves every other eReader behind.  
  2. Much lighter weight and more compact size. The smaller size of the Kindle 3 makes it more portable while the lighter weight (8.7 ounces) is a huge difference-maker – Reading for long stretches is much, much easier now as is one-handed reading.
  3. More Text per Page. The top bar is gone, the location bar is moved to the very bottom of the page, and the gap between the last line of text and the location bar has been reduced. This combines to make a significant difference – At size 4 (or perhaps it was 3) the Kindle 3 fits in 4 more lines per page (19 compared to 15).
  4. WiFi support – WiFi support is important as now you can connect to WhisperNet anywhere there is either AT&T coverage or a WiFi hotspot. WiFi is much faster than 3G so you can browse faster, shop faster, and you get more time for reading.
  5. Improved PDF support – PDFs finally support notes and highlights and it makes a big difference for everyone using PDFs (students, academics, etc.). There are 6 contrast settings for PDFs which is useful and Kindle 3 also supports password protected PDFs.
  6. Accessibility – The combination of the Voice Guide and the Text to Speech feature gives low vision and blind readers their first usable, cheap Kindle.
  7. New WebKit Browser. The new browser handles complex websites, allows zoom options, and has an Article Mode that lets you read just the article (it strips away the ads and other extrinsics).  
  8. Kindle 3 is great for reading at night. The iPhone and iPad are no longer needed for reading in bed. Kindle 3’s lighted cover has a LED light powered by the Kindle itself and is very convenient though it’s expensive at $60. Since the LED light throws light only in the direction of the Kindle’s screen and since the page turn buttons on the Kindle 3 are very quiet you can now read in bed without waking your spouse. Press the page turn button in the middle section of its inner edge for the lowest noise – Also, it’ll be easier to not disturb your partner if they sleep on your right side.

These are all significant improvements and they make the Kindle 3 much, much better than Kindle 2.

11 More Improvements in Kindle 3

Given the sheer number and variety of improvements the theme for Kindle 3 seems to be ‘improve everywhere’ -

  1. Kindle 3 maintains the reduced $189 price the Kindle 2 had in the last few weeks before Kindle 3 was announced.
  2. Better Font Support – Kindle 3 has 3 font choices with a Condensed Typeface and a Sans Serif typeface added to the original Serif typeface (Caecilia).
  3. Double Memory – Kindle 3 has 4 GB memory.
  4. Battery Life is now up to a month with wireless off. With wireless on Kindle 3 battery life is 10 days while Kindle WiFi battery life is 3 weeks. 
  5. Button placement is much better – The on-off slider and volume controls are at the base of the Kindle 3. The 5-way and the Menu, Back, and Home buttons are next to the keyboard. The Previous Page and Next Page buttons are now on both sides.  
  6. There’s a new 5-way – It’ll take a little getting used to but it is easier to use and push and there are far fewer wrong pushes.  
  7. The Kindle team did some tweaking of waveforms (no idea what that means) to make the fonts on Kindle 3 sharper.  
  8. The back of the Kindle 3 has a better grip and the whole Kindle (front and back) is one smooth color.
  9. There’s a microphone in the Kindle 3 which leaves the door open for voice commands and hands free reading.
  10. The progress bar has been improved a little and the charging light is clearer and bigger.
  11. Page turns are 20% faster.

It’s just fun to see all the ways in which Amazon is improving the Kindle.  

Kindle 3 Review – 5 Big Kindle 2 Strengths that are carried over

There are 5 big existing Kindle 2 strengths that are carried over. These include -

  1. eInk Screen and Focus on Reading – An eReader should be focused on reading and should be optimized for reading and Kindle 3 definitely is. eInk is easy on the eyes, works in sunlight, and has great screen contrast.  
  2. Simplicity and Close to Zero Learning Curve – Kindle 3 is just as simple to use as Kindle 2. The learning curve remains close to zero. 
  3. Kindle Store – You get the best ebook store with 510,000 books at or under $9.99 and 630,000 total books.
  4. Free 3G and Free Global Wireless for US users – Any user can browse the Kindle Store for free in any of 100+ WhisperNet enabled countries. US owners can buy books and download them without any extra charges and can also surf the Internet for free in all these countries. Users in some other countries are beginning to get free Internet browsing. 
  5. Text to Speech – Kindle 2 was the only eReader that had text to speech and Kindle 3 keeps it. Please note that Publishers sometimes disable this feature (perhaps 40% of the time).

The Kindle 2 was a really good eReader to begin with. The Kindle 3 keeps nearly all of the Kindle 2’s strengths while adding on a long list of improvements.

Kindle 3 Review – The Weaknesses

Kindle 3 isn’t perfect and has some obvious weaknesses -

  1. There is no support for library books (since Kindle 3 doesn’t support ePub). That leaves Kindle 3 as the only eReader out of the Big 3 (Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader) that doesn’t support Library Books.
  2. Kindle 3 sees occasional crashes/freezing for some people. The factors that lead to the Kindle freezing or crashing seem to be complex websites and some PDFs. A few users have also seen crashes outside of the browser and PDF reader.
  3. Kindle 3 is not good for anything other than reading. The Kindle 3 is tailored for people who want a device dedicated to reading and that’s great if you love to read. However, its focus on reading rules Kindle 3 out if you want a device that can do 10 different things.
  4. Kindle 3’s eInk Pearl screen doesn’t support color. This makes it non-optimal for textbooks with lots of color diagrams, illustrated books, and comics.
  5. There is no touch screen – The Sony Reader 600’s touch screen allows easier usability i.e. tap any word on the screen, take down notes with a stylus, etc. Kindle 3 won’t have this since it doesn’t have a touch screen.
  6. Kindle does not support DRMed books and does not support ePub – Basically, the only DRMed books you can read are those from the Kindle Store. Most of the other large ebook stores use DRM and thus are ruled out. At the moment it’s not a big deal since the Kindle Store has the best range and the best prices. 
  7. The Kindle Lighted cover is a must have since it makes night-time reading very convenient – However, it’s very expensive at $59. It should have been $30 to $40. Also, Kindle 3 won’t fit Kindle 2 covers since the grooves for hinges on Kindle 3 are further apart than on Kindle 2.
  8. There is no feature like Nook’s LendMe feature to let users lend books to each other.
  9. The Kindle 3 battery is not user replaceable.
  10. There is no SD card slot. Though the Kindle 3 has double the memory (at 4GB) it’s still possible that some people want the flexibility of more storage.
  11. There is no option to turn off 3G and stick with just WiFi.
  12. There are no language translation dictionaries.
  13. PDF Support is still missing a few features.
  14. Page Turn buttons are improved but are a bit thin. The Back button and Menu button are placed too close to the 5-way and it’s easy to mistakenly press them (especially Back).
  15. The keyboard is missing the row for number keys which makes taking notes and using numbers difficult.
  16. There’s no longer a shiny aluminium back.
  17. The number of options in the Font menu is a little overwhelming. The default font settings aren’t as good as on the Kindle 2 though that may be a personal preference. Also, there are now just 3 line spacing options instead of the Kindle 2’s 10 and the wide and small line spacing options don’t correspond to the earlier maximum and minimum settings (the line spacing is lesser now).
  18. Kindle 3 feels fragile. The lower weight and more compact size are great and they also make you wonder about stability and durability.

That’s a pretty long list because we want to make sure we cover all the aspects. One strange thing is the disappearance of the note on the Kindle 3 product page which mentioned CJK font support and Cyrillic font support (thanks to the commenter who mentioned this). This would be a strength if it were present and a weakness if it weren’t.

The Kindle 3 weaknesses that Amazon really ought to fix are – freezing, library books, touch (if it can be added without affecting readability), a cheaper lighted cover, an SD card slot, Nook’s LendMe feature, option to turn off 3G, more space between 5-way and other buttons, number keys, and an unbreakable screen.

Adding support for Library Books would probably have the most impact. An unbreakable screen would probably have the 2nd most impact as then parents could let their kids use Kindles freely.

Kindle 3 Review – Strongly Recommended if it’s what you’re looking for

At $189 the Kindle 3 is very tempting. It’s also the best eReader released in the 2.5 years this blog has been around.

Your decision to get a Kindle 3 should, however, depend on what features you value the most and on whether the Kindle 3 is the eReader/device that best meets your reading needs.

Here are the main reasons to stay away – it’s not a multi-purpose device, there is sporadic freezing, it’s probably not going to bestow an aura of coolness on you (although it might make intelligent people view you more favorably), the $139 Kindle WiFi is even better (if you don’t need 3G), there is no support for library books, Kindle 3 doesn’t support ePub, it does nothing other than read, no SD card slot and no replaceable battery, it’s not open, there’s no color, there’s no touchscreen.

Here are the main reasons to buy it – you love to read, you like to read and can afford $189 for an eReader, you want to read more, you get tired reading from LCD screens, you want to read in sunlight, you want a device built for reading from the ground up, you want to be able to buy books anywhere, you want to be able to read books anywhere and anytime, you want lots of free public domain books, you want your books read out to you, you want access to the best ebook store, you want access to the best eReader infrastructure.

The Kindle 3 has set a very high bar for the Nook 2 and Sony Reader 650. Kindle 3 will easily become your first choice for reading and if you get the Lighted Cover it’ll be your first choice for reading regardless of the time of day.

If the Kindle 3 meets your needs and you don’t need library books or ePub support or ‘a device that does more than just read’ then my strong recommendation would be to get the Kindle 3.

121 Responses

  1. The Kindle does support language dictionaries. They do have to be purchased separately, but once on the Kindle, you can change your dictionary in settings.

    • Thanks for that information.

      • Switch11, I, found a feb. 18th 2010 article, where you mentioned that the Kindle now supports potential availability of e-books in Portuguese.

        What I can’t find when searching the net, what languages may the Kindle menus be configured to use besides English? My wife’s native language is Portuguese and I would like her to be able to use the K3 easily.

        To You or Chris, do you all have a direct Amazon link to purchasing foreign language dictionaries as mentioned above? Or are the dictionaries only available through the Kindle itself?

        Thank you. Great to see videos and pics of the K3.

  2. switch 11: Thanks so much for this detailed review. Two quick questions:

    1.) Please tell us about the screen savers. Are they the same as K2?

    2.) Please elaborate a bit more about the line spacking options. I usually keep my K2 on the lowest setting (1). Do you mean that I won’t be able to have the line spacing as tight on the K3? What does the lowest K3 line spacing option correspond to with the K2? In other words, if I put the K3 on its lowest line spacing option, will that be similar to option 3 on the K2?

    Thanks.

    • Atom,
      1) Screen savers seem to be the same. When doing comparison shots cycled through screensavers to get matches and after one match they matched every time. If there’s anything new on Kindle 3 haven’t found it yet.
      2) The lowest setting on K2 is a little tighter than the 1 setting on Kindle 2. So it’s better if you like very tight line spacing. The high setting on Kindle 3 is also tighter than the 0 setting on Kindle 2.

  3. I have a question about the new browser. I run my calibre content-server on a port other than 80, so when I want to go to that server, the address is mywebsite:8080

    The kindle browser in previous models could not handle the :8080 in the link and error’d out when I tried to do this. Does the new Kindle correctly load URLs like that?

  4. If you can’t turn the WiFi off, does that mean that you can’t read using the Kindle 3 on airplanes?

    • Dori, you can turn WhisperNet off. What you can’t do is keep WiFi on but turn off the 3G. This is relevant if you’re travelling outside the US and want to save on delivery charges for periodicals and documents.
      It also might be relevant to battery life.

      • Switch:
        From what I saw in the PDF user-guide, in order to receive periodicals via 3G while outside the US, you have to explicitly approve periodical delivery for a period of time (1 week, 2 week, etc). If you do not do that, they will be held until you connect to wifi.
        For the personal documents, you can set the maximum value of delivery to 0.00 at the manageyourkindle page. Then, even if it’s sent to the @kindle.com address, it will be redirected to @free.kindle.com. I think all wifi-only kindle owners should set that to 0 immediately if it isn’t by default.

  5. @ Dori, you can turn wi-fi off, but you are turning off both wi-fi and 3G. You can’t choose to just turn off one. For instance, if the kindle is picking up a neighbor’s unlocked wi-fi, you can’t tell it to not use that and just stick to 3G. It looks for wi-fi first.

    To the author, I’m wondering what you mean by “The default font settings aren’t as good as on the Kindle 2 though that may be a personal preference.” Do you mean the text sizes? I noticed that the new DX text sizes were different than my K2. Size 3 on the graphite DX was bigger than size 3 on the kindle. But since the screen had better contrast, I could read on size 2 no problem. But it was odd at first that they weren’t the same.

    • For me had to adjust the line spacing and don’t quite know how to explain it. It was different from whatever the Kindle 2’s default font settings are.

  6. Also, you’ll get major brownie points if you post a photo of the new san-serif font. No one’s been able to find a photo of that.

  7. Will you do a video review of all features of the kindle 3? I mean, without comparing against kindle 2 or nook, etc. A video review of kindle 3 features for people who has never had an ereader, just telling them all the things they can do with kindle 3 and how it looks?

  8. Thanks for all the details. I’ve only had my Kindle 2 for about 9 months, so I’m not looking to upgrade, but my daughter wants one for her birthday. I’d get one for my mother too, if they had ePub support. She’s a big library user.

    Just a note on the case, it’s not really that expensive if you consider the cost of a case plus light for the Kindle 2. My leather case from M-Edge was $4 and my light was $25, a total of $5 more than the new Kindle 3 case with the light built in.

  9. I just checked the Amazon site and still see the “CJK” font support listed on it.. under “Support for New Characters”. FYI.
    That was a big selling point for me, so won’t be very happy if disappears for whatever reason.

  10. Regarding Weakness #11 — There actually are language translation dictionaries available in the Kindle Store. I’m using a French to English dictionary as the default dictionary on my Kindle 2. Not all of the dictionaries in the Kindle Store can be used as your default dictionary; those that are compatible have a statement to that effect in the product details section of the order page.

    Note that in order to look up some conjugated forms and reflexive verbs, it’s necessary to highlight the word, press the space bar to copy it to the search field, then edit the word down to the infinitive before specifying a dictionary search.

  11. nice review…BUT
    as you point out somewhere, i haven’t seen screenshot one of webkit browser, even on the excellent 12 min vid you cited. i know it’s experimental, but i think this is actually a big plus for fencesitters. how bad is the screen that no one is showing it?

    • David, the Kindle 3 Photos page is full of photos of the Webkit browser. There’s a link at the top of the post and a link in the comments section.
      It’s actually really good and I suspect most people didn’t get enough time to play with it.

  12. Thanks for the great review and all the photos! Looking forward to receiving mine.

    I have been looking for information on the weight of that lighted cover since it came out. Amazon CS could not answer that question. Would you know the weight of the cover on its own, rather than shipping weight?

    Worried about carrying around a light that I would only be occasionally that added extra weight to this wonderful light device!

    • Laura, the packaging and information with the cover has nothing on weight. It’s isn’t a light cover by any means. It has some weight to it. Without it Kindle 3 feels light as a feather but with the case it feels a bit heavy. It’s definitely heavier than the Kindle 2 was (when cover is included). Don’t really have anything to weigh it with.

      • Thanks for the reply, I will stick with my order of the one without the light. I may need to shop around a bit more after the other companies come out with covers!

  13. I was wondering, will you do a review of the lighted cover? What you say here seems to be positive, I was just wondering if the light was well made and covered the whole screen. (The pictures on Amazon’s site seems like it doesn’t.)

    Also, any idea how it affects the overall battery life?

    Thanks!

    • No idea how it affects the battery life.

      It does cover the whole screen and works fine – However, the top corner close to it gets far more light than the oppposite corner.
      The quality seems very good.

      The 8th or 9th photo on the Kindle 3 nighttime photos page is a photo taken using just the LED light. You’ll notice that –

      1) There is enough light.
      2) There is a lot more light at the top corner than at the opposite corner.

      There’s definitely enough light to read – Not sure what design could have been used to light up the entire screen equally.

    • Can the Lighted Cover be purchased separately and fitted later?

  14. Everyone talks about Wi-Fi and 3G, but no one ever says anything about the “good old fashioned” USB.

    Can I simply buy books from Amazon, download them to my computer and then transfer them to a Kindle via USB?

    I ask this because I don’t live in the US and don’t know anything about AT&T and Whispernet and all these things that the reviews mention. I just want to plug the Kindle into my computer and load books onto it. Is that possible with a Kindle?

  15. 7. If I had to choose between the Nook and Kindle book sharing systems, I would pick the Kindle. I would much rather share all my books with my mate than just one book one time for only 2 weeks and also lose the book to me. If my mate and I can read the same book simultaneously so as to be able to discuss it, to me that is far more important than the heavily restricted “sharing” on the Nook.

    5. Kindle DRM is supported only on the Kindle. Non-DRM books can be converted to Mobi using any of several programs. I use Calibre. This includes ePub. Most of the readers have DRM schemes that make them non-platform agnostic.

    10. You may not have the option to turn off 3G and just use WiFi, but it is automatic. If there is a WiFi in your range that you have authorized, then it will shut off the 3G and switch to WiFi all by itself. If your neighbor has WiFi that is open, just don’t authorize that connection.

    15. I won’t miss the shiny aluminum back, especially since it now has a nice non skid dark one. I do not consider this a negative.

    • Al, thanks for the comments.

      For point 7. Nook has sharing too. It has Lend Me on top of it. Not sure exactly what Nook sharing limits are but I’ve heard 5 items mentioned at the Nook forum.

  16. any comments specific to the webkit browser would be appreciated. thanks…for me, this is the icing on the cake even if it is experimental…

  17. [...] Firstly,you should know Kindle 3 is out now. It’s not only cheaper than an iPad, it continues to specialize itself as one of the best e-readers. If you are a true reader, you would probably choose this over an iPad. It’s quiet, keeps your attention on the text, and it is now more portable and affordable than before. Here’s some reviews. [...]

  18. I’ve been waiting and waiting for my new backordered Kindle to arrive. In the meantime I’m enjoying the app for my PC. I open two windows, with Kindle on one side, Word on the other. That way I can take notes, make outlines, or copy verbatim. Not sure I actually need the new device… if it ever arrives! I wish that more “specialized” and textbooks were available.

  19. There is a specific category for accessing foreign language books on Amazon website. I can’t find how to access it from the Kindle. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  20. side by side my kindle 2 connects faster and with more bars of service than my kindle 3 which says “edge” usually by twice as much.

  21. I am interested in Kindle 3’s bigger size but I don’t want to buy many books. Is there free books or should I buy kindle 2 because of the library access?
    How do you access library books?
    I also travel to Singapore. How do you get library access when abroad and how do you buy books when abroad.
    Could you answer me? Thanks

    • Mimi, you don’t have access to library books on Kindle. For that get a Nook or a Sony 350/650.

      You an buy books using Kindle 3G which works in 100+ countries.

  22. New to the Kindle–have the 3G–how do you know what page you are on when reading a book?
    Sorry — a newbie.

    • No problems Debbie. Kindle, unfortunately, doesn’t support page numbers. There are only locations and the percent indicator to show how far you’ve gone in a book.

  23. Can I connect a Kindle to my IBM PC (through) an USB cable) and then copy PDF files to the Kindle to build up my legal resources library — Document, texts from manuals, etc. What formats can a Kendle reasd?

    • Larry, yes you can.

      Kindle reads PDF natively. Also text, the Kindle format, .prc files, and .mobi files.
      You can use Amazon’s conversion service to convert .doc, .docx (experimental), etc.
      There’s also software like Calibre to convert other formats.

  24. Hello, I,m thinking of buying a kindle3.
    Does it have large print, is it Arthritis finger friendly, I have large fingers due to swelling,is that a problem?Does it come with a night light,and lighted cover,I would think for the 3 price it should.Can you use it on planes?and in Cars for lonf drives.Does it come with games like Mahjong?Does it come with a replacement battery?Does it come with a lighted case?Unbreakable screen?Does it come in colors?It should have page numbers. If it doesn’t have these features,Would you have something on sale at Christmas time at a reasonable price? Thank You ! Kathy M

    • Kathy,
      It does have large and very large font size settings.
      The keys are better suited to smaller hands. I’d suggest trying the keys out at Target or Staples.

      It doesn’t come with a lighted cover – That’s $59.99 on top of Kindle.

      Planes – yes, but not at take off and landing.
      Cars – yes.
      No replacement battery and no ability to replace battery. Amazon will replace it – for a price if it’s outside the warranty period.

      Screen is breakable.

      No page numbers.

      This isn’t an official kindle blog so no idea about what’s planned for Christmas.

  25. I was wondering if anyone had any opinions of if I should buy the black kindle or the white? Does the screen look better on one or the other? Thanks!

    • David, the advantages are –

      Black -> screen contrast is brought out better. Prettier in my opinion.
      White -> Doesn’t get hot if you take it outside in very hot weather. Some people find it’s easier to get lost in reading with the white.

      If your primary concern is which makes the screen look better – definitely the black.

  26. Thanks for the great review

    I want to know whether kindle 3 will read PDF books (I’m already having) without having to convert the files into a format the Kindle can read.
    Will the 6 inch screen of kindle 3 supports PDF without having to scroll it horizontally. Kindly answer me.

    • Kindle 3 will read PDF books.
      You can set ‘one page at a time’ view. It’s called Fit to Page.

      However, it’s not very readable. A 6″ screen is too small for most PDFs which are formatted for Letter or A4 size sheets.

      Landscape Mode is a little better. But the Kindle screen is too small to read PDFs easily.

      • Thanks a lot for answering me Switch.

        What is meant by native support PDFs?

        In kindle 3 photos page (ireaderreview.com), the 7th picture shows smallest reading font of the ebook reader. It seems readable without strain. Will the ‘Fit to Page’ of PDF also looks similar to it or it will be too small than the one showing in the photo?

        Is it capable of reading scanned PDF copies?

      • Native support = support natively without having to do anything.

        So you just move the PDF file to the Kindle and you can read it.

        Yes, it can read scanned PDF copies.

        If the smallest Kindle size seems readable to you then PDFs in landscape mode will seem fine. However, each page will be split into two pages in landscape mode.

        Fit to Screen in Portrait Mode is too small. Landscape Mode will be fine for you provided the smallest Kindle font size is readable for you. Also note that the photo as it appears on the blog post (without clicking into it) is a little bigger than Kindle. So smallest Kindle font size is a bit smaller.

  27. Thanks a lot for answering precisely. It’s very much helpful to me.

    Thanks

  28. Just thought I’d throw the news out there that Amazon has said that book lending will be enabled for Kindles, similar to what is available to Nook readers now.

  29. I tried out the Nook (not the color version due out in about a week), which had 1 feature I liked, but haven’t been able to determine if the Kindle has the same feature – on the Nook, independent of font size, it keeps track of what page you would be on if you were reading the hardcover version of the book, and not just how much of the book you’ve read (i.e., via a progressively lengthening bar). Can the Kindle do the same thing, or does it just display how much you’ve read from 0% to 100% in a bar format? Also, the Nook has a flight feature that allows you to turn off WiFi and 3G when you are on an airplane. Does the Kindle have the same feature?

    • Kindle doesn’t have page numbers. Just a progress bar.
      You can turn off wireless on the Kindle – But it isn’t listed separately as a Flight Mode. It’s just ‘Turn off Wireless’.

  30. I LOVE!!!!!!!!!! MY KINDLE. Of all of the gifts I’ve gotten over the past 73 years, this has to be my very favorite. It’s so easy to handle and because it’s so thin, I can slip it into my pocketbook and always have it available. Also, it takes less than one minute to receive a newly ordered book.

  31. hi – since Kindle has PDF support does it mean I can read pdf ebooks checked out of my local library?

    thanks

  32. Let’s hope Kindle doesn’t go the way of Apple. I understand the pigeon hole mentality of only Amazon books for the money reason. Access to libraries would would increase the appeal for Kindles, my belief.

  33. Just read your kindle vs nook posting and enjoyed it a lot. Great info and honest comparisons. It still is a difficult decision and I hope that one of your readers or yourself might have the answer to this one question. It has to do with the free ebooks. I was on B&N site looking at the free books there. Do I need to own a Nook to get those to put on a Kindle and vice versa? I might consider both if that is the case. I am leaning towards the Kindle 3 after reading your review where I was leaning towards the Nook before. It is for my wife for Christmas so I am hoping to know soon.

    • Bob, Nook and Kindle free offers can’t be put on the other device.

      The workaround is to download Kindle for PC or Nook for PC or one of the reading apps each offers for the other platforms like iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac, etc.

      Then you can access free book offers from both.

      Kindle Store has quite a few more free book offers and there is also significant overlap between the two. The free book offers aren’t really a good reason to buy both. Having Kindle covers most of the Nook free book offers. A good reason to get Nook in addition to Kindle is for library book support.

      As a point of reference I don’t even check for Nook free books for my Nooks since there are a lot more free book offers, including most Nook offers, for the Kindle.

      A Kindle 3 is clearly better than Nook 1 if you’re not interested in library books.

      • Okay makes sense. Now that you mention it what do you mean by library books? For me when I go to the library it is for references or an audiobook. Are we talking reference books? If so then Kindle will be my choice.

  34. I just bought a Kindle 3 wi-fi and 3G, and thought it would be easy to find a complete list of free books, but when I entered free books on Kindle, I found that Amazon sells books to help find free books, which seems odd. Is there an easy way to find all the free books on Kindle, does the list change all the time, how can I reduce the time to find particular types of free books (e.g., the collected works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on Sherlock Holmes), all of the preceding. Thanks.

    • On the top of the right side column is a link to a list of New Free Book offers. That post links to other free book lists.

      There isn’t really a very good way other than to search for ‘public’ and then dive into categories.

  35. Hello, thank you for the post. Does Kindle 3 support firmware update? In other words, can Kindle software be upgraded? Hoping that Amazon will upgrade the PDF capabilities and allow us to upgrade SW without having to buy Kindle 4.

    • Yes, Kindle software can be upgraded.

      However, it would not be a good idea to assume that or factor that into your purchase. The PDF caabilities will improve but probably never as much as you like and you would end up with a Kindle 4 with better PDF capabilities than Kindle 3 even with ugprades.

  36. How do I use the microphone or light – no directions given?

    • Microphone – not enabled at the moment.

      Do you mean the cover light?

      You pull it out gently and if the Kindle is latched in to the cover and NOT in sleep mode the light turns on.

  37. I was wanting to get a Kindle to use to upload my school books to since I am in college and I feel it would be more convenient. But I was wondering if I would be able to upload my school books to the Kindle 3 if they were available on Amazon.

    • Yes, but they would have to be available in the Kindle Store. You could just search the Kindle Store for your course books and see how many of them are available.

  38. My wi-fi requires a number in the password. With no numbers on the Kindle3 keyboard: How?

  39. I have purchased both the Kindle 3 and the previous version of the Nook (not the color Nook). So far, the Nook has proven to be easier to use, and more intuitive with its small touchpad screen at the bottom. It also has a slightly larger display screen for the book portion. There are 2 areas in which the Kindle has proven to be better. First, the clarity of the text of the Kindle is extremely good, with very crisp letters and good contrast. Second, in comparing 2 of the same free books, in this case Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne, the Kindle version had very few errors, whereas the Nook version had a lot of errors randomly throughout. Does anyone have any experience with purchased books for both devices in terms of the quality of the book? Does anyone else have comments on reading for extend periods in terms of eye strain for both eReaders. One last comment – both are essentially the same price – the Nook is $10 more than the Kindle 3, but the holder with light is $10 cheaper.

  40. My husband purchased me a Kindle 3..wi-fi 3g..it is wrapped under the tree..I have been reading alot of reviews between the Nook and the Kindle..I am still sold on the Kindle, but a little confused about not being able to access books from the liabrary..I understood that there were thousands of books available for free and to purchase thru Amazon liabrary..will I open this on Christmas morning and find that most books worth reading will need to be purchased..I understood I would purchase some books to my choosing, but also understood that their were plenty good books to choose from that were free to download..I don’t want that to be the only reason I have to move over to the nook..I just want to read..the nook seems more geared towards those that want a little more..thanks for any comments and help..

    • Susan, the Kindle Store has 20,000 free public domain books.

      Sites like Gutenberg and Many Books have 25,000+ free books in Kindle format.

      Internet Archive has 1.8 million free texts in Kindle Format.

      You will have no shortage of free books.

      That being said Kindle does not have support for library books. If your local library offers ebooks free you won’t be able to access those.

      • Thanks Switch..I rarely go to the liabrary..I used to when my children were growing up..now I normally buy paperbacks at the local bookstore and share with my father in law..thanks for the reply..I will leave my Kindle under the tree and stop worrying now…lol..sound as if I will have plenty to choose from..

      • yes, and you can always come to this blog for updates on offers on new free books and kindle book deals.

  41. I have dragged and dropped a couple audio books into Kindle but the tracks (chapters) are not grouped into books nore are they sequential – they are all jumbled up. This means when I have finished a track I have to go forwards and backwards to find the next one. Is there a way to group by book and list chapters in numerical order? Grateful for any advice!

    • Danny, there are two options –

      1) For mp3 files tracks are played in the order in which they were added to the Kindle. So if you have files 1 through 10 – try adding them 1 at a time and in the same order as they are supposed to be played.

      2) Use audible as there you get the option to go through tracks using an audiobook player with various options that make life easy.

  42. I don’t understand wifi 3g. I have a router . Does my computer hav to be on or will the Kindle just work as my router is on? I am most likely going to buy a Kindle 3. Do I always need to be near a wifi?
    Thank you for any insight .

    • The Kindle 3 has 3G which uses AT&T’s network and will work wherever AT&T wireless coverage exists.
      The Kindle 3 also has WiFi and if the router is on that’s enough. You’ll have to log-in using your network name and password. It might be written on the bottom of the router.

      It’s only if you get the WiFi model that you would need to be near a WiFi hotspot. Also, you only need 3G or WiFi when you’re buying a book or if you want to browse the net. You don’t need either for reading.

  43. I just bought a books online as PDF form and now want to transfer it to my Kindle what are the steps for this if you can thanks!

    • Elizabeth, if it has DRM it won’t work – you’ll need something like Calibre to strip off DRM.
      If there’s no DRM then copy it into the ‘documents’ folder on your Kindle. Then it’ll show up on the Kindle’s home page.

      In detail –

      1) Plug your Kindle into the computer.

      2) Identify the drive that corresponds to the Kindle. It’ll say something like – Kindle (E:).

      3) Open that and then open the ‘Documents’ Folder in the Kindle.

      4) Copy the PDF file from wherever it is, to the Documents folder.

      5) Unplug the Kindle.

      Now when you go to the Kindle’s home page the PDF file you copied will show up with PDF next to it.

      It if has DRM then it won’t open until you use a program like Calibre to deDRM it. That’s outside my area of expertise.

  44. When I close my Kindle and reopen it I often am not on the page I last read. Sometimes it reverts to the beginning, end, or no-mans-land. It would be great if in cases like this there was a memory storing your last page read with a “go to.” Trying to recall the “reference numbers” on the bottom of the screen is not the most accurate. Thanks.

  45. [...] Nook, it is no longer a priority to own a book, because it simply isn’t needed. Let’s take the Kindle for example. The Kindle is a handheld device that allows anyone to connect with “Amazon.com,” [...]

  46. [...] and least importantly, “Rekindled” also refers to this popular sequel.  I don’t have one myself, but Yev does.  Or maybe he has the off-brand [...]

  47. Hi Switch11,
    I just received a replacement Kindle (newest version, 3G) and I am noticing something weird with the collections. I am pretty sure that , on my previous Kindle, when added to a specific collection, the books disappeared from the home page. When I do so now, they go in the collection but a copy remains on my home page. Do you have any idea why or how I can go back to only seeing collections on my home page?Thanks!

    • GD, move the cursor using the 5-way all the way to the very top. Then press right on the 5 Way and choose Collections.

      It’s only when you sort by ‘Collections’ at the top that books in Collections are hidden.

  48. Thanks switch11, your advice were really helpful, as usual!

  49. I am about to go to France with my Kindle (bought in the US). Do you know if I can charge it on some 220 volts and just use a plug adapter or if I need to buy a power converter?
    Thanks!

  50. I got my Kindle 3 (Wi-Fi, no 3G) mid-September 2011. Like most people I was really excited about it. I liked the look and feel of it. I loved the viewing screen for it’s nice contrast and the fact that it was not back-lit. For a few weeks I was a Kindle evangelist, showing it to my friends and people I work with, and raving about it in emails.

    That first Kindle lasted about 6 weeks and then the buttons stopped working. Amazon support couldn’t have been more responsive. I called on a weekend; the best they could do, they said, would be to have a new one for me by Monday. They apologized for the 20-some-odd hours that I’d be without a working Kindle. They were true to their word; they rushed me a replacement and I had 30 days to return the broken one. Cost to me: $0.00.

    I enjoyed my first replacement Kindle for about 8 weeks, and then the screen froze. Amazon response was as good the second time as the first. Within 24 hours I had the replacement. Again, at no cost to me.

    I’m not rough with my Kindles. From the very start I’ve had a protective case that I always keep them in. Seeing as they are not durable enough for travel, however, I’ve kept my third Kindle at home, and it has lasted almost six months. But lately it too is starting to have problems — spontaneous reboots, loss of collection categories, freezing that is only fixed by rebooting. The others had similar problems before they finally became unusable, so I expect that this one has maybe a week or two left.

    Too bad. It really liked the idea of being able to take an entire collection of books with me when I travel. But for all the good things I can say about the Kindle (when it works) and Amazon.com’s great service, the Kindle 3 is simply too fragile.

  51. Per my previous comment — the September 2011 date is obviously wrong. It should read 2010.

    • SPR,
      You bought it about the time everyone was buying the Amazon leather cover that is non-lighted.

      Could it be that? These are known to be a problem fo rmany especially in colder months. It’s something about the electrical connections havning no light as the cover-with-light has — and the hooks can have a problem after time causing the Kindle to halt. processes.

      If this is true for you, let Amazon know. If you’re in the U.S., call Kindle Support at 866-321-8851. They have been offering to make good with a way to get a lighted one if you have one of the problem Non-lighted ones which did cause problems for some in the way you report.

      I have 4 kindle models and haven’t had a problem – they’re generally not that fragile, so I suspect the case itself. I hope so.

  52. Hi Everybody!
    I’m thinking about getting this Kindle for university-study-reading (mainly PDFs). Of course I’d need to take notes and/or especially highlight parts of the texts. Does this work for sure? Or is the Kindle the wrong option to do that?
    Another question I wondered about is how to add the PDFs to the Kindle. Is it just like adding them to an extra drive?
    Thanks for help!

    • Iruka09, there are a few reasons a Kindle 3 is not ideal for university PDF reading

      1) It’s a 6″ screen size. Not ideal at all for PDFs.

      2) The note-taking and highlighting in PDFs is a bit spotty.

      3) The scrolling and movnig around is not very smooth.

      Basically, you’d be much better off considering an iPad or a Kindle DX or waiting for eReaders to evolve more.

      • The small screen is what I want – for travelling easily I need to take several papers to read and I don’t have much space. But what is important for me is the possibility to mark tex

      • well, mark or underlinde tex

  53. well, mark or underlinde texts, especially PDFs…. Possible or not? Any good transformer/converter from PDF to .mobi? I tried one called “PDF to KINDLE” but this did not work too well….
    What about “how to transfer the PDF to my kindle?”
    And no, Ipad (or any other Pad) is no solution, I want something small – otherwise I could use my netbook…
    thanks

    • PDFs – have underlining but it doesn’t work very well.

      PDF to .mobi transformation – use Calibre.
      PDFs – simply copy to the documents folder of your Kindle (Kindle shows up as a disk drive).

      Kindle WiFi might do if it must be small. Using ladnscape mode. But it’s far from an ideal solution.

  54. I am thinking of buying a Kindle in the coming months. Your review has been most helpful.

  55. Ik hem em zelf vanuit amerika via ebay tweedehands gekocht voor omgerekend 250 euro. De verzendkosten waren 35 euro en er werd gegarandeerd dat ik het product binnen 10 werkdagen zou ontvangen.
    Dat werden er bijna 20, dus meenemen op vakantie was er niet bij.
    Vervolgens moest ik nog 70 euro invoerrechten betalen. Dan ben je dus al 100 euro extra kwijt voor een amerikaans product. Die 70 euro waren BTW en Invoerrechten; althans dat denk ik, want een specificatie krijg je niet. Dan over de Kindle zelf: hij ziet er mooi uit, een beetje iPad2-achtig. Ik heb de witte uitvoering. Boeken die wij hier in europa vaak lezen in e-pub formaat, kan dit ding niet aan. Je bent dus genoodzaakt al je boeken (die je illegaal van het net haalt) te converteren naar mobi of pdf formaat. Mobi wordt qua geheugen kleiner, pdf enorm groot! Ik kies dus voor mobi, maar daarbij verdwijnt de pagina-nummering. Je weet dus niet op welke bladzijde je bent. Wel hoeveel leestekens en hoeveel procent van het boek je al hebt gelezen. Dan de zogenaamde handigheid van wireless boeken aanschaffen of kranten lezen of even op internet. Internet kan je vergeten. Je krijgt de melding: Due to local restrictions, internet is nog available in your region of zoiets. Alleen in de USA kan je googlelen.
    Kranten lezen leek me een prachtige service, maar ze zeggen er niet bij dat je meer dan het dubbele voor moet betalen buiten de USA, en dat er geen foto’s en/of afbeeldingen meegestuurd kunnen worden; alleen text. Verder zijn er geen nederlandstalige kranten die een overeenkomst hebben gesloten met Amazon, zodat je aangewezen bent op engelse, duitse, franse, spaanse, italiaanse, of zelfs tsjechische kranten. Zeer teleurstellend dus. Ik heb dus nu een prachtig product in handen, zeer mooi om te zien, maar weer op de protectionistische markt van de amerikanen gericht. Hier in europa kun je dus maar met mondjes maat gebruik maken van de gebruiksvoordelen van de dure ereader; de Kindle DX.

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