While the Kindle 3 was going through a bunch of drama (shipping date for new Kindle 3 orders went from Sept 4th to Sept 8th, there was a glitch that showed wrong expected delivery dates to users) managed to read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood on the newly updated Kindle for PC.
It’s a very good book through a depressing one. The open ending, which is supposedly brought to closure in her new book, is painful. The reason it was so much fun was that Kindle for PC is quite well done. Actually prefer it over the iPad. Carrying a 22″ monitor around isn’t very convenient so iPhone still has its place.
Just wanted to review the differences in reading between Kindle for PC and Kindle.
Review of Kindle for PC, Kindle differences
Here are the big ones -
- No cost of entry for Kindle for PC. Nearly everyone has a desktop PC or a laptop they can use.
- It wasn’t a bad experience. It was mostly during the day and no LCD headache – Perhaps it’s the iPhone and iPad’s reading distance or the fact that they are read on mostly at night that causes headaches.
- Highlights are much easier on Kindle for PC.
- On Kindle for PC the smaller font sizes read well and the larger font sizes are grotesque. On Kindles nearly all font sizes look great.
- The color modes on Kindle for PC are really good – Sepia is beautiful and night mode (white text on black) looks pretty good too. It makes you wonder why Kindle doesn’t have a low light mode with white text on a black screen. It would look really good.
- There were multiple times that an urge to read on the Kindle almost made me switch to K2 - Especially later on in the book. Reading on the Kindle clearly feels better.
- One big advantage of Kindle for PC is getting so many words on one page. The full screen mode makes things even better.
- Book Cover View is something Amazon needs to get on to the Kindle 3. It looks really pretty and is especially useful when going through your Archive. It’s crazy how much easier going through the Archive is on Kindle for PC.
- There’s this neat little feature – After buying a Kindle Book at Amazon, if you send the book to Kindle for PC, Amazon will offer a button that opens up Kindle for PC for you (if it’s already open it’ll take you to the Home Page).
- Really missed the malleability of the Kindle. With Kindle for PC you have to contort your posture and neck to suit the screen. The Kindle, on the other hand, can be moved and twisted and turned freely. Missed reading in bed too.
The three things that really stood out were the much larger screen area and having more words per page, that it was quite a decent reading experience, and that Kindle for PC is free (zero barrier to entry).
Users who are starting off with Kindle for PC are getting to experience a lot of the Kindle ecosystem and the reading experience is good enough to hook them into reading more. No wonder Amazon are finding that lots of people who start off with Kindle Apps go on to buy the Kindle.
It was also interesting to finally hit the device limit for a few books. Between testing on iPhone, iPad, PC, all the Kindles, and sharing books with my Mom, by the time the Kindle 3 arrives might not have any good books left to read on it.
Kindle, Kindle for PC Differences that weren’t a big deal
Here are some things that didn’t make much of a difference -
- Color. Kindle for PC has color and you realize that unless you’re reading textbooks or illustrated books color makes little difference. For Oryx and Crake there wasn’t a single page where there was an issue.
- Animated Page Turns and being able to touch the screen. Some people like to put a lot of stock into being able to turn pages with your fingers. Not sure it’s such a big deal. The lazy part of me is glad to keep a finger on the page turn button and not have to do much. The PC has a touchscreen but the mouse (or the down arrow) was just less effort.
- Locations are just as annoying on Kindle for PC as on Kindle. Luckily the percentage complete gives some idea of progress. It’s also a little disconcerting that you have no idea how much of the current chapter is left.
- Another downside of locations is you have zero idea of how long the book is compared to your mental map of book sizes.
- Page Turn Speed. Yes, it’s faster – However, you have to either keep your hand on the mouse all the time (too much work) or grab the mouse and click it whenever you turn a page. It just seems like there is a very minor difference in page turn speed.
- Focus on Reading. Kindle for PC does a surprisingly good job of disappearing. You have to make sure it’s taking up the whole screen and after that the interface is designed to not interfere. There’s none of the ‘look how pretty my page turns are’ nonsense you see in iBooks.
- You’re getting the same books. It’s not like you miss out on feature X by reading it on Kindle for PC. Well, there is Text to Speech. However, apart from TTS there’s no big missing feature.
Just a day or two ago had tried out NookStudy and both Kindle for PC and NookStudy manage to avoid the temptation of doing too much. Even a few additional options or flourishes would ruin them. Kindle for PC is a little better as it presents fewer options (and they’re well-chosen ones).
Overall, Kindle for PC is very well done. Would never choose it over Kindle 3 but it’s a great add-on.