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Displays Education Media

Is the Kindle DX Worth the Money? 263

Posted by timothy
from the wouldn't-turn-it-down-in-a-gift-basket dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Now that some little time has passed, and the hype has died down a bit, I'm wondering if anyone has taken the $500 plunge and gotten a Kindle DX. From the academic-paper-reading-geek perspective, is it worth the money? How well does it work with PDFs, and is it easy to get them on and off? I haven't been able to find any good reviews on the interweb that address its usability as I would like to use it."
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Is the Kindle DX Worth the Money?

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  • Re:Math PDFs (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @12:36PM (#28572767)

    The PRS505 is god's gift to readers. Nuf said.

  • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Friday July 03, 2009 @12:37PM (#28572783)

    ...by any means here, but I'd never buy a Kindle unless I can borrow or lend a Kindle book like a dead tree book. Serialize it to the purchaser, and have the mothership ensure it's only on one device at any one time. To me, that's a reasonable compromise. The way it is now SUCKS and should be avoided at all costs (pun intended....)

  • Re:Math PDFs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bwalling (195998) on Friday July 03, 2009 @12:56PM (#28572975) Homepage
    The PRS-505 and the PRS-700 are both current models. The 700 has a touchscreen, which increases usability at the expense of screen clarity. The touchscreen is an overlay to the e-Ink screen, so you're viewing it through another material. The 505 is a nice device and handles PDF just fine. I picked one up a few weeks ago when Borders had it on sale for $199.
  • by DrXym (126579) on Friday July 03, 2009 @12:56PM (#28572977)
    If I'm paying full whack for an e-reader I expect it to support all of the common book formats without prejudice. If the firmware integrates a store or a proprietary format as an extra then fine. This after all is how the iPod sold so well. Apple wisely ensured it played unencrypted MP3s and AACs first and foremost, complete with ripping software. The result was iPods sold through the roof and Apple coined it from integrated iTMS support.

    I just don't understand who is stupid enough to buy a Kindle at full price considering how crippled it is. The device should be subsidized to reflect its proprietary nature or the software should be opened up to make it more useful. FFS even Sony (a company not exactly known for embracing standards) has a more open reader that costs less.

    Even less fathomable is why publishers are letting the ebook market degenerate into competing formats, proprietary readers and possible market dominance by Amazon. One would think it is in their interest to come up with and dictate a single book format, one which all readers can implement, one which all stores can sell books with. It sounds obvious but a single format would level the playing field and catapult ebooks into the mainstream.

  • by MBoffin (259181) on Friday July 03, 2009 @12:59PM (#28572999) Homepage

    Why not a laptop, you ask?

    Because a laptop battery doesn't last for two weeks.
    Because a laptop screen can't be read from any angle.
    Because a laptop is much heavier than a Kindle.
    Because a laptop doesn't have always-on, free Internet access.

    Because a laptop is not a book reader.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Friday July 03, 2009 @02:04PM (#28573611) Homepage

    Books are quickly accessible - you can flick to any page instantly and browse through at speed. You can't do that on a Kindle because a page turn takes 2 seconds.

    You can't just email books to your friends if you buy them from Amazon, thanks to DRM.

    The Kindle is pretty good for reading novels. It's almost useless for technical books and PDFs due to the slow screen update.

  • by nitroamos (261075) on Friday July 03, 2009 @02:04PM (#28573615)

    on the other hand.... perhaps a better question is whether it's a good idea to get a kindle, ASSUMING you already have a laptop. which is, i think, a quite likely scenario.

    so are the conveniences of a kindle worth 500$ to me? my answer is no.

    1) I have my own way of sorting & storing .pdf of academic papers on my laptop.
    2) My laptop already does everything i need, including markup, searching, cross-linking to the internet, VPN to my school so I can access more papers.
    3) All the tools I like to have (like energy unit converters) are easy access on my laptop, so if I'm reading a paper, I can quickly convert to my preferred units.
    4) It doesn't bother me to read on a laptop screen (macbook bought last year), although i don't typically read the entire thing.
    5) I don't need to read in random places or from random angles. Any places I might go, e.g. coffee shops, my laptop is not an inconvenience. They'll have an outlet for me to plug in, + wifi + coffee.
    6) I spend just about as much time searching for more papers online as I do actually reading them...

    so a kindle feels like a step down in terms of capability, that it doesn't make up for in convenience.

    at some price point, or in some possible life circumstances, maybe the balance would change, but for me right now, I'm not going to buy one.

  • by Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) on Friday July 03, 2009 @02:09PM (#28573661)
    Mark my words; as soon as ebooks are the norm, they will cost "full price" no matter what the reader costs. The cost savings are never passsed on to the consumer, it will be taken as profit once they can. eBook readers are case of "oooh, it's digital" "coolness" more than anything else for the user, for the publishers it's a way of delivering less so that they can increase their profit margins.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 03, 2009 @02:22PM (#28573771)
    Keep your books. Thats fine. Whenever you want to bring a book somewhere, just see if you can "find it" online somewhere in PDF format. You're complaint is equivalent to the guy who had hundreds of VHS tapes saying, "I'm not buying a DVD player until some guy figures out how I can get my old collection on there with absolutely no work on my part." With over 2000+ books, space saving seems like it'd be ultra convenient for you. You can save an entire room that must be dedicated to books. That room can now be used for something completely different. You can even sell those books if you want or donate them to a library or school. I dunno. I'm just saying that what you're waiting for is never going to happen. It didn't happen with VHS->DVD. And it didn't happen with DVD->Hi Def discs or digital downloads. It didn't happen with cassettes to CDs or CDs to digital downloads either. You'll always need to either put in work, find a copy online, or buy it again. I'll admit the effort required to convert a book into digital on your own though is significantly more of a hassle than converting a music CD.
  • by JohnBailey (1092697) on Friday July 03, 2009 @03:21PM (#28574251)

    How about the iNone? Until they figure out a way to KEEP the library of books that I apparently only "license" (for quite a pretty penny). For example, if I buy the Kindle now and "buy" some books - then in two years say Sony (OK, maybe not Sony, but someone) makes a better one and I want to upgrade - how do I transfer my books? Oh, that's right - they aren't "mine"; it's more like the VHS to DVD thing where you either stay on the old stuff (carry the Kindle as it slowly wears out AND your new reader) or buy everything again.

    Simple.. Only use DRM free books. Then you can format shift to your heart's content. And there is definitely no shortage of books out there. Check out Mobileread.org for links to e-book stockists, public domain and creative commons stuff, as well as the authors who sometimes drop in and give free first parts to their series, or advertise the DRM free stuff they do.

    Simple truth is that if you hand money over for DRM infected media, you do not own it. You rent it until such time as the owner decides you have had it long enough.

    Eventually the two sides of the e-book reader concept will meet in the middle, and you will be able to buy DRM free freshly released books by major authors. But for now, we are at the "plays for sure and napster trial" stage.

    I guess this is a non-issue for the folks who read something once and then are done with it (for example those that read a physical book then take it to the used bookstore). However, I read things over and over and I don't want one of these devices until I can be assured of having my "purchased" material through vendor changes, vendor going out of business, format shits, etc.

    Agreed. I'm the same. I have 30 year old books that I got in my teens that I still read again. And just because it is electronic does not mean that I intend to have to buy the same thing twice.

    All the current readers have at least one DRM free format, and once you have a DRM free file, you have a universal file.

  • by BikeHelmet (1437881) on Friday July 03, 2009 @03:30PM (#28574321) Journal

    Books also don't mysteriously vanish when the publisher goes out of business.

    But if Amazon's DRM servers ever go down, all your eBooks go with it!

    I know, I know... "What are the chances of Amazon going down?" ... well, slim to nil. But what are the chances of them deciding to shut off their DRM servers to save money, in 15 years? I bet those odds are much higher.

    PlaysForSure? Uh huh! Burn me once and I'll learn!

  • Re:Maybe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rbanffy (584143) on Friday July 03, 2009 @04:59PM (#28575061) Homepage Journal

    "nor can you use the search function"

    That's really bad if you want to keep a library in your backpack. Indexing and search should be the first thing to be implemented after rendering.

  • by jdhowe (903139) on Friday July 03, 2009 @06:40PM (#28575799)
    With the exception of point 1 and 4, most of what you are writing is patently false. 2. You can load a book on up to six Kindle devices. You can send an issue of a newspaper or magazine to any of the devices and they will be readable on each of them, ï 3. Your book purchases do not depend on having an active Amazon account. 5. You can return any ebook purchase to Amazon within 7 days for a full refund. 6. That is a problem with your library system and with the publishers, not the Kindle. The Kindle can read many, many book formats. You can also purchase download free books from many sources. There is nothing to stop library systems from creating subscription or time-limited access to books, other than the book publishers and author associations. I would say that you are the one who should get cracking and write some letters!
  • by melted (227442) on Friday July 03, 2009 @07:44PM (#28576219) Homepage

    #2: http://www.teleread.org/2009/06/22/device-limits-fuzzy-on-downloads-for-kindle-books-if-so-should-the-ftc-investigate/ [teleread.org]

    And a Kindle wielding friend of mine was complaining that newspaper subscription he uses is limited to one device, too. Which is insane.

    #3: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44350&highlight=amazon+banning [mobileread.com]

    This dude now has a $350 door stop.

    #5: Yes, my bad.

    #6: That still doesn't change the fact that until this problem is addressed (and Amazon has enormous leverage here, while I personally don't), Kindle will not be able to replace books for me.

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