I love love love my Kindle. However, Syp from Bio Break got me intrigued. He, too, loves ebooks. And he, too, reads his books on the Kindle. The difference between us, however, comes in that he is referring to his iPhone app while I have the ebook reader from Amazon.com itself.
So I gave myself a little challenge. I would read at least one novel in its entirety on my iPhone Kindle app and see if Syp was nuts or if my wife had spent an exuberant amount of money on my Christmas gift that was inferior to something I’ve owned for years.
The book I chose was World of Warcraft – Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden.
“This sucks,” I thought to myself as I sat in the faculty parking lot, reading Arthas before my night class started. I had been under the impression that being backlit would make night reading easier.
After just a few minutes, my head and eyes ached from the glare, so I turned off the Kindle app and started an audiobook to ease my head before I had to teach.
That night, I was perusing Syp’s blog, and I noticed that he mentioned changing the font/background color on the app. I tried this option (which I had been previously unaware) and inverted the colors. White letters on a black background was much easier on my eyes. Even the Sepia setting was easier to read than the stark black-on-white.
Since I made that change, I have had not a headache one.
Probably the best feature of the Kindle for iPhone app is its portability. As obvious as it is, it’s true. Being able to read a few pages of a book while waiting on appointments, sitting in the car, even chilling in the mall waiting for my wife to get out of Ann Taylor is awesome.
While the normal Kindle 2 is extremely portable and I keep it in my briefcase all the time anyway, I found the iPhone version to actually be a little more convenient. I didn’t have to pull out another device to read on or keep up with a separate device. I always have my phone with me; therefore, my book is with me, too.
And its easy to read. It took a little tinkering with, sure, but once I found my perfect text size/color and realized I prefer to read in landscape mode (thank goodness for the ability to lock the app in landscape or portrait), it was a cinch to read. Tap a couple of buttons, bada bing bada boom, a book in my hand, ready and easy to read.
There is no native downloading support in Kindle for iPhone. This is unforgiveable.
To make a purchase from your iPhone, you have to go to the Amazon.com mobile site. That’s right, the mobile site. You can’t even use the Amazon iPhone app to purchase a book because you can only Wish List Kindle items with it. This, my friends, is a serious flaw in the technology.
While certainly not a gamebreaker, one of the major advantages of the Kindle 2 is 1-click purchasing. Convenience is a major selling point for ebooks, and Kindle for iPhone’s purchasing process is anything but. I hope that Amazon realizes how obnoxious this lacking is and adds an in-app browser for the Kindle Store.
And it’s relatively uncomfortable to hold. Unlike the actual Kindle 2, the iPhone was not made for luxurious lounging and comfortable reading. It was made for multipurpose functionality. And while it’s perfectly functional, the iPhone just doesn’t fit well in my hands for relaxed or extended reading.
And honestly, that’s the biggest draw of the Kindle 2: it’s exponentially more comfortable to hold and read than a physical book. The iPhone Kindle, however, gave me a couple of hand cramps and just isn’t something that I rush to grab when I want a nice, quiet night at home. It is great for on-the-go reading, but I don’t see it becoming a fixture of my quiet evenings at home.
While I do not expect the Kindle for iPhone app to ever be my first choice for ebooks, I have to say that it was a much nicer experience than I had anticipated. I think my wife made the right choice in buying me the Kindle 2 for Christmas. I like the iPhone Kindle, and I see myself getting a great deal of enjoyment out of it in the future; however, I do not see myself curling up with my iPhone instead of a good solid New Release hardcover or even the Kindle itself.
I have made the decision, though, to keep a couple of iPhone specific novels loaded at any given time. That way, I still keep the mobility and wonder of literally never being without a good book, but don’t have to deal with those nagging little annoyances that make me prefer the Kindle 2 as my ereader of choice.