Proclamation: I Hate My Kindle

As this image from GottaBeMobile illustrates, there’s a lot backlash in the realm of book readers.

It was almost a year ago that I jumped on the Kindle bandwagon thinking one thing, while the other thing (that which shall be explained) never crossed my mind.

Until now. Well, not just now. I admit, I’ve been slow to my remorse. The strange occurence last year of Amazon deleting books by (no joke) George Orwell, including 1984, should have been a clue. But here I simply offer a meager list of reasons I liked the Kindle when I bought it, and then a list of reasons why, frankly, it sucks.

Why It Was Awesome:

1. The Cost. Being an avid reader, I could search the world over and not find books this cheap, and that means dollars in my pocket for more important things like stromboli and skydiving. A hardcover new release like Stephen King’s Under the Dome costs 25-30 dollars. $10 on Kindle. Over time, this savings, plus the gas money to drive to the bookstores, pays for the device.

2. The Download. 3G networks and the like are cutting edge technology, and it’s ultra-convenient to be anywhere, say your garage, or being dangled from a building by a mobster, and be able to order a book. Presto! It’s there, and ready for your perusal in seconds. That’s cool. It’s almost a magic feeling to have the power to make something appear before your eyes.

3. The Ease. I like to read while I’m eating. The Kindle was the answer to always having to find some impromptu weight to hold my book open so I can simultaneously digest Neil Gaiman while horking down a Spicy Italian. I hated getting mustard on my pages; now I’d just get a smudge on the Next Page button, and it wipes off easily!

4. The Free Stuff. Aside from having tons of free downloads available by indy writers and such, there’s the Preview feature in the Kindle Store. You can preview any book, usually the first chapter. It’s the reason I decided against buying The Lost Symbol.

Why It Sucks:

1. Well, that whole thing about them coming and taking books away from people after a sale was final… that’s messed up.

2. The Interface. Not as cool as it seems. the Off switch requires me to hold it for six seconds, the interface cursor is slow as hell, handling the tablet tends to result in inadvertent page turns, and the dictionary that’s built in doesn’t recognize the word “Facebook.” (Okay I made that last part up.)

3. Typographical Errors Galore. It’s terrible to be in the middle of a passage you really like, and then see a double “the,” or other wrenching editorial error a true publisher would hang somebody over. Most hilarious of this Kindle tendency is when I was reading Chuck Klosterman, and the whole chapter devoted to Rick Allen – of Def Leppard-  incorrectly spelled his last name as Alien.

4. The Feel of a BOOK. Yeah, one of the first people I bragged to about my purchase sang this true tune~ there’s just something about a book. The paging process that so happily engages the fingers and thumbs of millions daily. The ability to thumb back a few pages and easily find a passage you wanted to re-read. That’s like, yeah/no with a Kindle. And footnotes are a pain in the ass. If there is one thing to say about this aspect, it’s this: I can’t loan a Kindle book to a friend. Of course, I could loan my Kindle, but then I’d be without my whole library for however long it took them to read the book I loaned them.

5. The Future. I can’t imagine a young person growing up without some kind of bookshelf/collection that tells others who see it what this person’s reading. It’s a key and sublime element of our interaction. If everyone’s books were hidden behind clicks of buttons, and scrolling of wheels, that magic would be lost forever. I’d also like to defer to point #3 in the Awesome section, and call bullsh*t on myself. Reading should be enjoyable, yes, but if you put work into it, it’s even more rewarding. And I don’t mean work like trying to balance a tablet on your steering wheel while you drive.

6. Lifespan. What happens when the battery needs to be replaced? Besides, there’s another huge risk here; people drop stuff. Even the most careful and mindful people drop stuff from time to time. I made the mistake of momentarily setting my Kindle on the hood of my vehicle. It slid off, and although I was able to make a close enough grab to slow its descent, it ended up looking like this (the now-useless battery indicator is always there, taunting me.):

In Conclusion:

I’ll still use it for the freebies, and to research authors. But… sorry, trees… I’m going back to paper books for future purchases.


29 Responses to Proclamation: I Hate My Kindle

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I haven’t purchased a Kindle, and won’t for exactly the reason stated in #4 under Sucks. Thanks for verifying what I’ve said all along!

  2. Paul Stagg says:

    The Nook from B&N solves part of #4, as you can loan books to other users (although it’s limited).

    I just got a Nook. #2 isn’t an issue on this device, and I haven’t noticed #3 (but I’ve only read a couple of books on it so far). For me the only thing I’m missing is the page turn, and I agree that books on bookshelves are part of who I am.

    But the world’s a-changing, and if I can take the space I now have storing books and use it to store, say, wine, I’ll be OK with that.

  3. izziedarling says:

    I’m with you – and Elizabeth – on #4. Gotta have that book and all those pages at my fingertips! Good post.

  4. John Farrier says:

    I’m pretty far behind — I don’t even have a laptop, smartphone, or iPod. They’re too expensive. When a Kindle costs twenty dollars, I’ll think about it.

  5. Johnny Cat says:

    Interesting, John. I have a laptop, gave my iPod to my daughter, and just can’t afford a smartphone (I want an Android). Sadly, I thought my Kindleness would make me feel more modern. It didn’t.

  6. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  7. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

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  10. doowangle says:

    It really kind of sounds like you are nitpicking

  11. Zebra says:

    My Mother is in her mid 80’s and loves her Kindle.

    My husband bought me a Kindle for my birthday……what a pain in the arse. I hate the thing and I’m a techno freak. Used it once and now it sits and collects dust. I love REAL books. Long may PAPER books live.

  12. Mike S says:

    Hey Zebra,
    If it’s OK with your hubby, can I have it? I’ve been debating one, but am really hesitant without even having handled one.

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  19. Sam says:

    The Kindle – who on earth needs this crock of s**t to read a book?

    What a shame somebody couldn’t invent the simple book anew as of tomorrow – it would outsell the Kindle 1000 to one.

    The Kindle – you know it doesn’t make sense.

  20. Catherine Alexander says:

    Just bought a Kindle and I hate it. What a disappointment. Most of the books sold for Kindle do not have the capability of allowing you to search for a chapter or section. Fine if you’re reading fiction, start to finish. But if you’re reading non-fiction, and want to go straight to a particular section, it is ridiculous not to be able to do that. I have to go page by page until I finally locate Chapter 7. How in the hell is that an improvement over a regular book??

    And the screen is dark gray. You need way more light to read by that you are used to having for a regular book.

    The Kindle app for iPhone is better than an actual Kindle. That is lame.

  21. Brian says:

    im considering getting a kindle in the new year purely for the reasons a. i had surgery earlier this year which has left my right arm weakend and therfore holding onto a book isn’t all that easy for me b. im a techno freak lol
    but my wife is like you she cannot stand the kindle or any other creation that spells possible doom to the paper book…divided household yep

  22. Lola says:

    My husband gave me a kindle for Christmas, after being told REPEATEDLY through the year, that I DID NOT WANT ONE…EVER !!!!! Guess who’s miffed that he has to return the loathed device for a refund…men NEVER listen !!!!

  23. Nothing beats the Kindle Fire in my opinion. Webmaster of Kindle Fire Full Color 7inch Multi-Touch Display Wi-Fi

  24. Bob says:

    No parental controls!!!!!!

    My parents bought a Kindle for my daughter – 11 years old. We’ve discovered that there are absolutely no parental controls. I set up my credit card for 1-click purchases and can’t disable it. So now my kids just accidentally purchased an item without my approval. The only way to control the Kindle is to deregister it. I will not make any further investment in Kindle devices.

  25. Propagandum says:

    Books on my Kindle are SO ugly. I like typefaces and beautiful pages – a proper page is based on good manners, legibility, and 1700 years of tradition, but Kindle books ignore all of this. I like to know how many pages I have read, and how long a book is. I like to feel scared by a big fat book and then feel good because I’ve read it. I like to flick through books backwards and feel a faint breeze on my face. I like smelling books. I like to see verso/recto pages – a book with illustrations talks across from one page to its twin. My Kindle doesn’t keep my place if I read a book twice. It’s mean, ugly, plastic and will be out of date in two years. I like leaving bookmarks from my life in my books. When my father died I left the physalis flower my 8-year-old gave me in a book I was reading. I like books signed by the author. I like some tech stuff, but Kindle? No thanks.

    I write about this kind of thing in my blog,

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