Matt has made it well known that he loves his Kindle and for a while I thought about buying one too. Unfortunately I’ll have to order it from Amazon.com in the US because I live in Ireland. Attempts to buy it from Amazon.co.uk result in an error and asks me to go visit the US site. When you add shipping costs and import fees it drives the price on Amazon.com up to $193.58!
So, if not the Kindle, how do I read ebooks? On my phone of course! I downloaded the Android Kindle app for my Samsung Galaxy S. The 4 inch screen of this phone is plenty big enough for reading, though you won’t be doing it at arm’s length. It’s also backlit so there’s no need for a light to shine on the device to read it. That suits me as the majority of my reading is done when I’m in bed at night. I don’t think I’ll ever read a magazine on the phone as the screen is too small. I tried reading bits and pieces of a Retro Gamer pdf on it but it was a horrible experience. I presume Kindle formatted magazines are better suited to the small screen?
I tried reading books on previous phones but each time it was one of the free “out of copyright” books I picked up rather than a book I had to spend money on. Last September at Seaside all that changed when I bought the Kindle version of Terry Pratchett’s “Unseen Academicals” and put the paperback version of that book back into my bag. It was wonderful!
I don’t think I’ve bought a paperback since. I wandered into Waterstones once (killing time, I didn’t even head over to the sci-fi section), and any time I pop into Eason’s it’s to buy a magazine. I’ve since made several purchases on amazon.com including a few books by authors unknown to me. Check out Containment and Brainbox by Christian Cantrell for example.
I’m not happy about everything Kindle however. Even though Ireland is in the European Union along with the UK, Amazon customers here cannot buy the Kindle or ebooks through amazon.co.uk. Instead we have to use amazon.com. Thankfully there’s no VAT on books so the US price is the price Irish customers pay. Good thing the Euro is stronger than the US Dollar. It does however mean that we have to buy books with American English spelling and that won’t improve the humour of those people who will criticise the service.
Also, some books cannot be bought because I’m not in the United States or United Kingdom. Ender’s Game is one such novel. If I search Amazon.com for that title I won’t be shown the Kindle version at all but I found it by using Google. I can’t even look for it on amazon.co.uk because I’m in Ireland, not the UK. I understand this is probably because publishers have regional contracts but this is digital data and Amazon has a worldwide audience.
I’d still like to try out a Kindle as a reading device as I’ve heard so many good things about it, but the important part of the Kindle are the books, and I can read them just fine on my phone.
Besides the Kindle app there are many other Android ebook readers. I particularly like FBReader myself but check the market for others.
For historical purposes for those reading this in 10 years time when it will probably be hard to buy paperback books, Amazon sold more ebooks during the last 3 months of 2010 than paperbacks.
Amazon has revealed that it has sold more Kindle ebooks than paperbacks in the US during the final three months of 2010.
A similar pattern has continued during January 2011 with 115 ebooks being sold for every 100 paperbacks.