Monday, 11 July 2011

Rekindle your love of reading - Part 2!

It's the return of our guest blogger, Nigel Morgan from Cardiff University library! After a few weeks of getting to know his new Kindle e-reader he's back to share his musings with us...

A great response to my blog entry on Amazon Kindle last month! So, I thought I'd let you know how the Kindle and I (great title for a musical!) have been getting along.

I've now read 4 complete books and it's been a generally positive experience. Once the eye gets accustomed to a smaller amount of text per page, it is easy to adapt. I can understand why Kindle is so popular with many of those who commented in the blog.

And what fun it is linking to the Kindle store for browsing and buying. I get tempted like a child in a sweet shop. The problem is, it's so easy to just click away and make multiple purchases, magically delivered to your device in an instant. I've gone a bit mad buying a series of CJ Sansom books which I really didn't need. I've also found that it's easy to accidentally purchase a book, though thankfully it's very easy to 'unpurchase'.

I'm disappointed that many of the titles I want to buy are unavailable in Kindle format. I was unable to buy one of my favourite classics Ulysses. Also, Paul Scott's popular Raj Quartet. I've also found that certain books don't fit well into Kindle format: I 'returned' a complete works of Shakespeare in which the alignment of the text was dreadful.

The disadvantages are obvious. I agree with Sue Owens that in dim lighting conditions a standard printed book is better. Though of course you can enlarge the text - I'm wondering whether to get one for my 83 year old mum who will only read large print these days.

Sadly, Kindle isn't great for displaying images. The maps in those Sansom books are illegible - as far as I can tell, You can't zoom into them. And everything is in monochrome. It's not difficult to see the areas in which Amazon will need to make improvements. Another disadvantage: I'm a nosey parker and love seeing what other people are reading on the train or station platform. Kindle doesn't facilitate this. Though, I guess if one is reading something really trashy it is a definite boon!

A welcome surprise is that you can actually 'lend' books to other Kindle owners. Ideal for book groups. And as with all ebooks, searchability is a key advantage. If like me you are a bit of a dope and need to recap on earlier passages, the ability to tap in a keyword and home in on relevant passages is brilliant. I guess this is useful if you are reading something racy and want to home in on the naughty bits!

Well, I certainly intend to carry on using my Kindle though I will not completely forsake printed books - I'm currently wading through a print copy of Name of the Rose, another popular title unavailable for Kindle.

I'll be back to give my final blog entry soon to share some thoughts about the wider implications of Kindle for reading and book production in the future. Happy reading!


  1. I am also a nosey parker and slightly horrified at the thought of a world where I will no longer be able to spy on what fellow train passengers are reading! Great to hear more thoughts on the pros and cons of a Kindle from Nigel.

  2. I too have learnt more about my Kindle since the last blog. I discovered Amazon have hidden games on it! Press Shift ALt and M simultaneously and you can play minesweeper or GoMoku (like connect 4, but 5) which I have only managed to beat the Kindle at once.
    Missing books, well, an internet search eventually revealed both Ulysses and Name of the Rose for download (not for purchase) but not the Raj Quartet. I have Richard iii, As you like it and Midsummer Nights Dream on my kindle and their arrangment is fine for me, I suppose it depends on the publisher, as well as the reader. I cannot abide the way most PDF files are displayed on the kindle. Though some are published for Kindle display, some tourist venues now have PDF for Kindle broshures on their websites for download e.g. VisitPembrokeshire.
    We will all have to come to an agreement to set our Kindles to largest print when on public transport to enable others to see what we are reading, or perhaps, have a print of the book cover glued on the back.
    The clearest advantage is portability, Im off on Holiday soon and I know that my suitcase will be lighter by 6 to 10 paperbacks thanks to the Kindle. Here's a funny thing, Amazon are selling PAPERBACK books,guides and manuals on How to Use the Kindle! Did anyone ever buy a Video cassette on how to use their DVD player? :-)

  3. There's a free version of Ulysses in Project Gutenberg. I'll admit to only managing 5 pages before the lack of punctuation got to me!

  4. Glad to hear that you're generally happy with your Kindle Nigel. I downloaded an issue of the Guardian last week and was quite impressed with how it looked and how easy it was to navigate around the different sections. It is certainly easier to handle in a confined space! I do have to agree, however, that a world where you can't take a sneaky peek at what some-one else is reading on the bus or train will be a much sadder place.

  5. NEWS!
    Amazon Have a refurbished Kindle outlet and an ebook sale, as well as links to these there are reviews of other, what I call "budget" ebook readers at:

  6. May I recommend, (from the Amazon sale)
    Last Tango in Aberystwyth by Malcolm Pryce at only 99p. It's a Noir detective comic novel set in a not to distant town.
    I have the series in paperback and they all make me laugh out loud even on 3rd reading. The author's a nice bloke too and responds to emails as long as you write "not bonkers" in the subject line.