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Why I Returned the Amazon Kindle

Recently, I ordered the top-of-the-line Amazon Kindle, with the nice large screen (the best model). I was thrilled by the readability in sunlight, and the wonderful resolution that looked more like paper than like a computer screen.

But within a week, I returned the Kindle:

  • Trying to read certain books with chapters was a bad joke: some books are collections of short stories, and navigating to a chapter really means navigating to a story— all of which lacked titles (“Chapter 1”, “Chapter 2”, etc = useless), and required numerous button presses to get there. Are they #$*#$#* kidding?
  • Trying to read a newspaper or magazine with a grossly condensed table of contents: no pictures, no subheadings, no way to get easily to what interests me, or even to determine what might interest me. Hardly like looking at the front page of a newspaper. Total waste of my time with fiddly make-work button pressing to see what might be there.

If one wants to read a conventional book page-by-page the Kindle is the very good, but as a general purpose reading device , it was a total waste of my time, a disaster.

Kindle has no color. So it’s useless for many types of publications. Like mine.

The Kindle button-based interface is so grossly inferior to a touch screen it isn’t funny, at least for many types of navigation, zooming, or similar task. A better screen and publishing platform on the iPad, and Kindle is dead, at least for me.

Finally, the Kindle is just a bit too heavy for reading with ease using one hand to support it. So is iPad, but just sayin’.

Update!

Some readers have written to protest— they love reading complete books on the Kindle— yes of course. But reading entire books is not my goal, and I stick by my assertion that the Kindle is an abject failure for other tasks because of inherently poor ability to see at a glance what’s available, fiddly controls for basic tasks with such material, etc.

Other readers have noted that smaller version of the Kindle are available (lighter weight)— but no thanks. If anything, I want a larger screen. At middle age, presbyopia is not a trivial issue, affects everyone of 40's and older, and a small screen becomes a serious challenge for reading.


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