Before you get a Kindle…
A lot of people are thinking about getting Kindles (or other EBRs…E-Book Readers). We get expect the number of people e-books to increase tremendously in the next few years. That may be on tablets, but a lot of it will be on EBRs.
I see people ask questions after they get them, so I thought I’d take this post to address some of the things you might want to know and/or do before you get one.
Q. Does it matter which EBR I get?
A. Yes. One of the important considerations is if you know anybody else who already has one, and if you might want to share books. The big three aren’t really compatible with each other. If you buy a Kindle and a friend has a Sony or a nook, that’s going to complicate things.
Q. Which one is the best?
A. That’s going to be a bit subjective, although I do like the Kindle the best. I’ve analyzed the three of these, and they each have advantages and disadvantages. This previous post gives you an overview of the three, and links to more comprehensive analyses.
Q. Should I buy one now or wait for the next generation?
A. My feeling is that it’s worth buying it now, generally. I’ve certainly gotten my money’s worth out of my K1 and K2…if there’s a next generation Kindle soon, I won’t feel bad about it. None has been announced, by the way.
Q. If I’ve already bought books from Amazon in paper, will I have to buy them again in e-book form?
A. Only if you want them as e-books. There’s no reason you can’t have both, of course. You won’t get a discount for buying them again, and there are some good reasons for that. Let’s say you paid $4.95 for the paperback three years ago. That was a fair deal at the time, right? Amazon has to pay the publisher when you download the e-book…and that might even be more than what they got from you for the paperback. The publisher might offer you a discount, but that’s up to them (and unlikely).
Q. Are all the Kindle store books $9.99?
A. No, many of them are less expensive, some are more. What Amazon says is that New York Times Bestsellers and most new releases are $9.99…unless marked otherwise.
Q. Are e-books always cheaper than p-books?
A. No, but they usually are…it’s rare when they aren’t.
Q. Will I save money with a Kindle?
A. It depends on your book buying habits, but probably. If you only get books from the library, then you won’t. Take a look at how much money you spent on books last year. That will give you a good idea. It’s nice that you can get so many free books (although that’s particularly older books). The more you books you buy, the better the Kindle is for you economically.
Q. I heard Amazon can remove your books…is that true?
A. They did that in one widely-publicized instance with an unauthorized edition of books by George Orwell. They have promised they wouldn’t do the same thing again…and even stated it in a legal settlement. They actually compensated people more than what customers had paid for the book…customers could make a profit on the deal.
Q. How do I know if Amazon has the books I want for the Kindle?
A. Check the Amazon website. You can choose to search for Kindle books. However, many of us have taken this as an opportunity to broaden our reading horizons. Books are being “Kindleized” very quickly…the US Kindle store has more than quadrupled the number of titles in just a couple of years.
Q. What Kindle should I get?
A. There are two models currently available. One is $259, and one is $489. The more expensive one has a bigger screen…that’s the main difference.
Q. I’ve heard you can only get books from the Kindle store for the Kindle…is that true?
A. Nope. You can get books from lots of sources. The Kindle can only read books with Digital Rights Management (DRM) on them that come from the Kindle store, not from other sources. DRM is code that most publishers insert into e-book files to control the use of the file. It generally won’t be on books that aren’t under copyright, and some publishers release without it.
Q. Can I loan/share my Kindle store books with other people?
A. Yes, if they are on your account. Otherwise, no. Putting people on your account can work very well, though.
Q. Can I read Kindle books on my computer?
A. Yes, with a free “app” from Amazon. Otherwise, no.
Q. Can I read Kindle books on any other devices?
A. Yes. You can read them on the iPhone and iPod Touch, currently, as well as on PCs (with the app) and Kindles. Mac and Blackberry apps are coming soon.
Q. How many Kindles have been sold?
A. Amazon doesn’t release that information, but the Kindle has been the #1 selling item at Amazon.
Q. I’ve heard the Kindle reads books to you. Is that like an audiobook?
A. No, it’s a “robotic” sounding voice. Think of it as another way to access the information in the book, not as an entertaining adaptation, like an audiobook performed by professional actors. You can hear a sample of it here:
Q. What happens to my Kindle books if Amazon stops making the Kindle? Will it be like beta videotapes?
A. No. The beta versus VHS thing was hardware. Different e-book formats are a matter of software. I’m confident that we would have the ability to read our Kindle store books (perhaps through conversion) even if Amazon went under (knock virtual wood).
Q. Won’t I miss the feel of a “real book”?
A. You get used to it. I actually prefer it now. I love paperbooks, but this is easier. For more information, see this earlier post.
Q. I want to know more about it, like the technical specs. How can I get more info?
A. Start with the Kindle product page. You can go to Kindle Support from there, and even read the User’s Guide. I also recommend the Amazon Kindle community. You can ask questions there, and they will get answered very quickly by users. You can also leave comments on this post for me.
Q. What do I do after I get my Kindle?
A. See this earlier post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.