I bought a Kindle Paperwhite with some of my professional development money. I’ve been waffling for 2 years on whether or not to buy an iPad with the PD money, and it’s just never been the right answer for me. I don’t see the need for an iPad in my life, and should I ever need one for a bit I can simply borrow one from the library. My Kindle, however, I do use fairly regularly, and it was starting to show its wear. I’d heard good things about the Paperwhite, so I ordered it and then sold my old Kindle Keyboard on Craigslist for $50 (which, by the way, is more than it is listed for used on Amazon. High five!)

I really like the Paperwhite, especially since I can choose to turn off the backlight. I mostly use it for low-light situations as a built-in book light, but I believe this is not the intention of the designers. I can tell this because the screen clearly instructs the user to use the high setting for bright light and the low setting for low light. I’m pretty sharp. Anyway, I think that’s backwards, but I’m not on the market for the absolute highest contrast possible in bright light. There is a nice range in the backlight, and you can usually find a sweet spot in any lighting situation where the backlight can create a comfortable reading situation.

The interface has changed quite a bit since my Kindle Keyboard, but things seems to work pretty seamlessly. Creating collections is a bit more confusing but I’m willing to chalk that up to user error. One feature that is hugely improved is the footnote feature. The old models had you jumping great distances through the book to the notes section and getting back to where you were before you read the footnote was a pain. The Paperwhite does footnotes like pop-ups. This works so much better, I can’t even tell you. If the whole page has to reload when you close the footnote, well, it’s still much improved over my previous experience.

The one thing that is unexpectedly less than awesome is the touchscreen turn. I used to be continually trying to turn pages backwards in my Kindle Keyboard with the button on the left-hand side, which was simply a duplicate of the page-forward button on the right. I thought I would really like the fact that on the touchscreen Kindles, you touch the right of the page to move forward and the left side to move back. Generally, I do like this functionality better than the Keyboard. It’s the actual touch screen thing that throws me. The device is almost entirely screen, which means there’s not a lot of safe area for you to touch and hold when you’re using it. Unlike an actual book or non-touchscreen Kindles, you can’t just simply rest your hands or fingers on the part of the page you aren’t reading. Do this and you turn a page. Where do I put my fingers? Where do I rest my thumb when I’m not turning a page? I read very fast, so simply moving my hand in and out of page turning position is not an option. I have my text size set to the smallest possible, but I still turn a page 5+ times a minute. Anyone have advice on optimal Kindle reading position?

I just finished Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel by Susanna Clarke through Overdrive. I have had cause to truly appreciate the new footnote functionality, as this book was chock full of them. I love a good footnote. I’d recommend the book – well written, extremely thoroughly thought-out, engaging. My only complaint is the length. At the end you realize how carefully the book is put together and there are few truly extraneous parts, but it took me more than a month to read it. By the end I was very ready to be done. I’m in the market for something fun, fast, and possibly not that great for me. Ideas?

One thought on “Toys!

  1. Kim says:

    I just got a Paperwhite this week myself and noticed the “where do I put my thumbs” problem, too! I It’s been great so far for low light reading and instances where I don’t want to use my iPad for reading (e.g., before bed or after I’ve been staring at my computer screen all day).

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