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Kindle Reviews IV

In theory I'm in agreement with you about the Kindle; it realises a frequent fantasy of mine (and my husband) - that of having a complete library on hand when away on holiday.  Wouldn't it be great, we used to say, if you could instantly call up, say, that line of Philip Larkin's that's on the tip of your tongue, or just look up a word in the dictionary.  So I bought one for my husband's birthday last September.

First he, then I, tried to get into it but it's January now and we still can't get started.  The problem seems to be the network: our broadband router is Netgear and requires a password before it will let you "connect".  Only we don't know the password: we (well, I; husband has long since abandoned my gift).  I've emailed and phoned Amazon's Kindle help but they just ask a string of questions: name of wireless network, router make/model, type of encryption (think it's WEP), length of WPS/WEP key entered, router mode(?! B/G/N?), what wi-fi channel does router use. I've tried to contact Netgear but they only seem to supply loads of onscreen "help" no phone number.  I've spent hours trying to gather all this information.  Surely it's not that hard?

It is so frustrating: how do all these press people who profess to adore their Kindles get started?  I spent the whole of yesterday trying - it was a New Year's resolution; but zilch.

I want to email that Martha Lane Fox who wants all us oldies to get online to make life easier for us: she could start by prodding the industry to make life easier for us the poor bloody customer!

Mustn't go on or I'll burst a blood vessel.



I too have just acquired a Kindle, at the age of 85, for the purpose of reading Dickens.  The print in cheap editions being much too small for my aging eyesight, I hit on the idea of asking for a Kindle for Christmas since I knew you could download classics for nothing.  I am presently halfway through David Copperfield and enjoying it more than I would have thought possible.

There are snags, principally the proof-reading which is pretty poor (I used to be a subeditor long ago and literals still niggle).  How does the print get onto a Kindle anyway?  I had assumed it would be scanned from an actual edition but in spite of choosing a copy that is unabridged, it is clear that it is human error which is involved.   (Come to think of it, an actual edition would probably have been printed in a dreadful font like Modern, which I should have hated.)

I like being able to look up previous mentions of characters or situations;  I don’t like being told that I have read 20% of the book.  I love the clear type and the ease with which it can be read in bed;  I don’t like the on/off switch which I find fiddly.  It is never going to replace proper books in my affections but for what I want, it does very well indeed.



Each Christmas, a generous relative gives me a cheque for £100 and I always resolve to spend it on something I wouldn't normally buy myself - which is why, this year, I have acquired a Kindle. I've toyed with the idea of buying one for some time but, to a dedicated bookworm like me, it seemed again all the laws of nature to be reading from a screen rather than a page.

But, surprise, surprise, I don't mind it half as much as I thought I would.  I do, however, miss the actual 'handling' of a book, reading the blurb on the jacket, the author's biography and list of other works.  I like to know when a book was first published, what the papers thought of it;  I enjoy 'thumbing' it for a sneak peek at what might lie ahead. And I want to know what page I'm reading, rather than knowing what percentage I've read so far.  So when Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO in his introductory welcome letter) states his fervent hope that I will be '... transported into that mental realm readers love, where the outside world dissolves, leaving only the author's stories, words and ideas ...' - no, sorry Jeff, dream on.  It ain't going to happen.

Having said all that, I don't for a moment regret having bought my Kindle.  These days, I spend more time in doctor's/dentist's waiting rooms than was once my wont and I do tend to let the train take the strain, so there's more and more reason to have a book in my handbag.  With Kindle, I can have 1500 books in my handbag, plus an on-board dictionary!  Wow!  I like that - the whole library fits into such a neat, portable little package and I love the fact that it goes back to where your reading was interrupted when you arrived at your stop/were called in to the surgery.

So, yes, I am a Kindle convert but I do have some observations to make: 

  • It would be nice to have a 'page turn' rather than a 'dissolve' to the next page.
  • Page numbers would be nice too, though I realise that they probably aren't possible if the reader is to be offered a choice of font sizes, which must govern the structure of a page.
  • Pictures would be a huge advantage - it would mean that my partner, a wildlife enthusiast, could carry all his reference books in his rucksack along with his camera and binoculars. Now, that's when Kindle will really come into its own and he'll be first in the queue to buy one.
  • The Kindle accessories are a complete rip-off, costing nearly half as much again as the beast itself.  When it came to a cover (which it does need), I went for the cheapest option, theTeckNet Kindle case/cover which cost the princely sum of £8.98 and it does exactly what it says on the tin.  You don't need anything more expensive; well, unless you're a poser.    



I have been investigating e-book readers for a while, but have resisted the Kindle as not being suitable for my less-than-perfect vision. I'm waiting for further advice from the RNIB. Also, our local library plans to introduce e-books but they will not be readable on Kindles because of Amazon's restrictions.

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