UPDATE: Amazon has now released several NEW Kindle models. I have done a full review, comparing features and prices. Check it here: Comparison of the new Kindles.
No doubt you have heard about the Kindle E-book reader. It seems like it wasn’t so long ago that a lot of people were saying, “Electronic gadgets are nice, but they will never take the place of real books”. It looks like that may not turn out to be true, based on the numbers.
Amazon is the largest online seller of books, and last July they reported that Kindle digital books were outselling hardcover books by a 2-to1 margin. That was just hardcover books; I don’t know about you, but if a book comes out that looks interesting to me, I usually wait for the paperback version.
But now the numbers are even more interesting. Hardcovers are now being outsold by 3 to 1, and for the first time, Kindle books are outselling even paperbacks (source).
If you are thinking about getting a Kindle, you need to decide which version is right for you. There are a few options: basic Kindle, Kindle 3G, and Kindle DX.
The Basic Kindle (click to view)
This is the simplest model, and the least expensive at $139. It has a 6 inch display with what Amazon calls E Ink Pearl Technology. This just means that is has nice contrast, and is easy to read. The display tries to simulate the actual page of a book, and it does a pretty good job. You can read a Kindle (any model) in bright sunlight without a problem, so they are good for the beach. For reading in bed at night, the screen is not backlit so you will need some external light source (again, this is true for all 3 models).
With the basic Kindle, you can get new books anytime you are within range of a wireless internet signal. Most people have this at home now, or you can get a signal at lots of public places (McDonalds and many other restaurants, most bookstores, most hotels, etc.). Of course you will need an Amazon account, and your Kindle will be set up with your account information. When you want to get a new book, just power up and browse. Find a book you like, buy it, and you have it immediately on your Kindle. It is really easy, and Amazon is brilliant for having come up with this business model.
Of course, while you are in the range of the wireless signal you can buy as many books as you wish, and they are all stored on the Kindle for you to access any time – you don’t need wireless access to read the books, only to order them.
Kindle 3G (click to view)
The Kindle 3G is the next step up at $189. It has the same screen size and most other features as the basic model. The extra $50 is for the connection options. As you can tell by the name, this one has free access to the 3G network to order new books, so you don’t need to be in range of a wireless signal in order to buy a new book. You could buy a new book and have it immediately while you are waiting to renew your driver’s license, while traveling on a bus, or while you are visiting someone that doesn’t happen to have a wireless connection in their home. If you are in a place where a cell phone would work, you can use your Kindle 3G to order.
Kindle DX (click to view)
Here we have the top Kindle model, and also the most expensive($379). With this model, you get both wireless and 3G connectivity, but you get one more nice feature – a big 9.7 inch display. Is that larger display worth an additional $190 to $240? That’s a question that only you can answer. Some people think so though.
One thing to consider with the cost of a Kindle is the cost of the books you order. Most are $10 or less, with the exception of some new releases. So that saves you some money.
Also, you can actually try out the Kindle technology without owning a Kindle. There are Kindle apps for the iPhone and Android phone, and also for your computer or your iPad. So you could buy a book and read it on your phone or your laptop if you want.
Do you have a Kindle? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments section.