The Amazon Kindle 3 After Almost a Month

Almost a month ago, I video-taped the unboxing of my new Amazon Kindle 3 and posted it here on my blog. I shared my initial impressions. However, after using it for almost a month, I wanted to share my thoughts here in a little more depth.

Amazon Kindle 3 in a Hand

I should start by saying a few words about the iPad. I have pretty much set it aside. Why? Two reasons.

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First, it isn’t sufficiently powerful enough to replace my laptop. If all you do is consume media, the iPad is great. It is lighter and smaller than most laptops, and thus easier to lug around. But, if you create content like I do—blogs posts, presentations, and other documents—you might find it too cumbersome. I did. It did not replace my laptop, and I ended up carrying both devices around.

Second, while the iPad can do much more than the Kindle, I found this multi-function capability frustrating. While reading, I was constantly tempted to pop out of the iBooks app and check my email or Twitter account. The iPad is also much heavier, and I found the backlit display tiring to my eyes. I just didn’t find that it contributed to “an immersive reading experience.”

Consequently, I think we will see a growing divergence between smaller devices: multi-function tablets like the iPad and dedicated eReaders like the Kindle. I think you have to assess your own needs and workflow to determine which is right for you. For now, I am sticking with the Kindle 3.

Here’s what I like about the Kindle 3:

  1. Affordable price. At $139 for the wi-fi only version and $189 for the free 3G plus wi-fi version, the Kindle is more affordable now than ever. When I have shown the device to friends and told them the price, they can’t believe it. Several have ordered one on the spot.
  2. No monthly fees. Although you will pay $50 more for the 3G version (which I did), you won’t have any monthly fees for 3G access. This means you can access the Kindle Bookstore where ever you have cellular access (via AT&T), even though you might not have wireless—like after boarding a plane.
  3. Big selection. The Kindle Bookstore has almost almost 700 thousand books available (excluding public domain books). While I still can’t find some book I want, it is rare. Conversely, I rarely found the books I wanted on the Apple iBooks store, although this is gradually improving. As a result, I had to resort to the Kindle app on the iPad.
  4. Smaller footprint. The Kindle 3 weighs just 8.7 ounces—about one-third the weight of an iPad. This might not seem like a big deal, but I found the weight of the iPad annoying for protracted reading. At just 7.5″ tall by 4.8″ wide, the Kindle 3 feels just right in the hand.
  5. Greater battery life. With 3G and wireless on, the Kindle will last 10 days. With it off, it will last one month. That is a very long time, especially compared to the iPad.
  6. Easier page navigation. The page-forward and page-backward keys are easier to use and seem more intuitive than even the Kindle 2 (which was a big improvement over the original Kindle).
  7. Higher screen resolution. Amazon has really improved the screen resolution in this new model. Frankly, I didn’t think the resolution on the Kindle 2 was bad, but if you put them side-by-side, you can definitely tell the difference. The text truly rivals the printed page.
  8. More storage space. I can’t remember how many books the Kindle 2 can store, but the Kindle 3 will store 3,500. That’s amazing when you think about it. It’s like an entire library in your hand. It’s certainly more than enough for most people.
  9. Lighted case. The case for the Amazon Kindle 3 is really nice. It is similar to a Moleskine notebook, with an elastic band that holds it shut. I bought the lighted version. It has a built-in retractable LED reading light that pulls out from the back cover and slides away to become invisible when not in use. The cover comes in seven colors.

Here’s what I don’t like about the Kindle 3:

  1. Lack of a touch screen. After using an iPhone for a couple of years and an iPad for a couple of months, my brain is conditioned. I automatically want to interact with every device by touching the screen. The navigation selector is improved in Kindle 3, but it’s still not as straight-forward or intuitive as touch screen technology.
  2. Clunky, bland interface. I also wish the Kindle 3 had a color screen. I don’t miss this too much for straight text books, but the iPhone and the iPad have raised our expectations. In addition, highlighting text and adding annotations are cumbersome. The chiclet-style keyboard takes some getting used to.
  3. Elimination of number keys. One of the reasons the Kindle 3 is smaller than the Kindle 2 is because Amazon eliminated the top row of keys. They are now accessible through the “Sym” key. Frankly, this makes the keyboard even more awkward. I don’t understand the design objective since there is still plenty of room for these keys on the current design.

So far, I am loving the Kindle 3. I am carrying it with me everywhere. The only downside is that I am back to taking notes in my Moleskine notebook (as opposed to Evernote on my iPad), but that is not a big loss. Best of all, I am finding myself voraciously reading again. I was starting to lose this with the iPad, and it made me nervous about the future of book publishing.

Amazon says that Kindle users buy 3.3 times the number of books as non-Kindle customers. If my experience is any indication, I can definitely see why.

Questions: Do you have a Kindle 3? What has been your experience?
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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • @dickmyerscough

    As another month-long Kindle 3 user, I think I agree with most of your comments, Michael – especially the (lack of a) touchscreen and navigation. I've also begun to notice that the Kindle works best for me with certain kinds of books – reference stuff (theology) is harder work than novels, because I like to 'flick' a bit when returning to a book in order to regain perspective. I think also the 'physical resonance' (for want of a better phrase) is a factor in learning from a book which is absent in a Kindle.

    One other thing: I've begun to notice a number of Kindle books now priced higher than the paperback version – whoah, not good!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I haven’t seen the higher prices phenomenon that you mentioned. I wonder if that is for some kind of enhanced version that includes more production cost.

      • DanD

        Higher production costs is only a concern for the initial copy. As with any digital format though, the reproduction costs are nil or almost nil. There must be something else happening.

  • MichaelDPerkins

    I don't have one yet…
    Been getting rid of some junk and setting a little aside so that in a few months I can get one. I think it will same money in the long run too.

    • Michael Hyatt

      It will definitely save you money in terms of price-per-book. However, be warned: you might buy more books!

  • TesTeq

    I’ve bought both – lighted and standard – covers ( ).

    Reading with LED light of the lighted cover is not comfortable enough for me. The lower left corner of the screen is too dark.

    The standard cover on the other hand seems to be too heavy for this light device.

    I am waiting for a neoprene slide-in cover – it will be perfect in my opinion.

    Has anybody seen such thing?

  • elizajanehuie

    Thanks for whetting my covetous appetite!
    Just like your comment in your unboxing post; "You’d think Amazon would send these free (hint, hint) to major publishers", you'd think major publisher's CEOs would give away their old devices on their blog posts (hint, hint)…but they don't.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I do give them away—just not on my blog. ;-)

  • TesTeq

    Michael Hyatt says: “I haven’t seen the higher prices phenomenon that you mentioned.”

    Today at
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    Kindle Edition $21.26
    Paperback $19.79

  • Nathan Teuscher

    Nice review, but I think you should be comparing the Kindle 3 to other eReaders instead of the iPad. I have a Nook and I love it. It has the same price point and a touch-screen interface. Perhaps you should switch to the Nook to solve your dissatisfaction with the Kindle.

  • Sweetie Berry

    The reason the Kindle appealed to me originally was its accessibility for large print as well as read aloud function. At the time I had a bilateral eye injury and the Kindle was a mind saving encouragement…a way to connect to books again. As an educator, I am aware how Kindle has changed the playing field for what books my visually impaired daughter can access, we are thankful for the ease and ability to access books for both of us.

  • John Richardson

    I don't have a Kindle 3 yet, but I do use the Kindle app on my cellphone and laptop. It works well and provides a large variety of books at my fingertips. I do like the ability to download free samples of most of the books they offer. This gives me a taste of the author before shelling out money for the entire book.I still prefer the iPad iBooks application as a book reader, but they don't have near as large a library as the Kindle store. I think the jury is still out on what will become the norm for book reading. With a new version of the iPad due out in the first quarter of 2011 that will have a camera, facetime, and probably be lighter to boot, I think I will wait and see how that plays out. Personally I think a multifunction device like the iPad will win out over a single use Kindle, but a single use reader might be perfect for students (although they won't be able to do their math homework on one??). It will be an interesting journey.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I love the free sample feature, too. In fact, when someone tells me about a book, I usually just download the sample right then rather than writing it down.

  • LP

    In using my Kindle since July, the only thing I would change about the Kindle is the page numbering system. I don't understand it, and have friends who are having a hard time writing academic papers and properly citing text.

    I made my own carrying case and have a good booklight on the wish list!

    • Michael Hyatt

      The reason for this is because Kindle (and other readers) provide the ability to change the font size. This re-flows the text in the entire book. Thus, position number—which Kindle uses—is more accurate. Academic reference systems are going to have to change. I don’t think we will get back to static pages with fixed page numbers.

      • LP

        This makes total sense, I guess it's just a transitional adjustment hiccup.

        • dmooresb

          I use Questia, which allows enlarging, but I can always tell what page I’m on. For those of us in academia, we cannot use Kindle for research because we have to credit sources, including page numbers.

          • Michael Hyatt

            I think you will see this change regarding Kindle. In fact, Academia will have to change because page numbers will ultimately be going away in the vast majority of books we read. If you Google “academic citing kindle location references,” you will find some helpful articles.

    • Josh

      If you aren’t aware, Kindle now shows both position numbers and static page numbers on most of its books and every day some of mine are updated to include static page numbers.

      • Michael Hyatt

        Yes, this is a new feature they added a few months ago. However, the publishers have to furnish the meta-data for this to work.

  • Nicolas

    I have a Kindle for a month now and just love it. I agree with most of your comments, except two: I don't miss colors or touchscreen. It my be due to the fact that I've never had an iPod, nor an iPad. As I read books and non-imaged publishings (newspapers and political magazines) on my Kindle, I think a colored screen would only bring drawbacks and needless burdens for the device (glare, battery drain, etc). You forgot another advantage of the Kindle over the iPad: the non-glare screen thats perfectly usable in direct sunlight. However, I have to agree on you on the over-simplified keyboard.
    The Kindle is just great for readers. The price is not steep anymore, and it does great was it's intended to do. Ever since ordering it, I never parted with it for even a day, I carry it with me everyday, so consequently read everywhere, much more than before.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I know Amazon makes a big deal about being able to read in direct sunlight. This may be important to some, but I can only think of about twice in my entire life when I have wanted to do this.

      • Parker Trey Thornton

        As a college student I can vouch for the necessity of that feature!
        I’m always reading while walking between buildings, or sitting on a bench in the breeze and flipping through my text book before class.

  • Colleen Coble

    Are you sitting down? I ordered a Kindle yesterday. :-) I can't wait to get it now and see how I like it. Even though I'm a huge Apple fan, I haven't wanted to buy an iPad for all the reasons you mention. Mostly it's just too big and I didn't like the limited book selection. So I'm about to step into Kindle-land!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Colleen, Woo-hoo! I can’t wait to see what you think. Give yourself a couple of weeks to get used to it and then report back.

  • PaulSteinbrueck

    I read a lot of books, but I rarely buy them. Most are sent to me by publishers, authors, or BookSneeze. Many are pre-release copies. I would get a Kindle or (or an iPad) in a heartbeat if I could read comped books on them. Any chance BookSneeze will have a Kindle or iPad option any time soon?

    • Michael Hyatt

      We are working hard to make digital editions available via BookSneeze. As it turns out, it’s more difficult than it sounds. However, we will get there soon.

      • PaulSteinbrueck

        Actually, when I think about the fact that Kindle editions are sold through Amazon, for a fee, to anyone who wants one, creating a way to distribute them through a 3rd party site, for free, to specific individuals seems pretty difficult. :) Glad to hear it's in the works.

      • Chris Brandt

        Don't forget that Kindle ebooks are just MobiPocket ebooks with Amazon's DRM wrapped to them. Many ebooks can be loaded onto a Kindle in .mobi or .prc formats and read just fine. You can even go to other sites and download ebooks in MobiPocket formats. This may be an option for distributing editions outside of Amazon's storefront.

  • Marc Buxton

    Great review – I can tell your comments are from experience and not just theoretical. Right now, I'm using my iPhone as my e-reader! But you've made me think about the Kindle. I'm also still considering an iPad….I present our ministry to pastors in their offices quite frequently, and I need something to play videos on that will really pop. So, I'm still leaning towards Apple to solve that issue for me. If you really get tired of your iPad and you'd like to sell it….let me know! :^)


    • Michael Hyatt

      Marc, I do think the iPad is a great device for the situation you described. I have a friend who is a photographer and uses hers for sharing her portfolio. It is very impressive in that context.

  • perryh031

    I was in a restaurant last night using my iPad when the guy at the next table asked if it was "that new Apple thingy". He then asked me what I used it for. I did not have a great answer until now, thanks to you. Now I can say, "I consume media with it". What I did end up telling him was that I did not do anything with it that I could not do with the other devices I own (Laptop, Kindle 2, iPhone, etc.). But hey, it's cool and people in restaurants stop me to ask about my cool stuff. That has to be worth something!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Glad to be of help … I think. ;-)

  • Liberty Speidel

    I'm currently investigating all the e-reader options (Kindle & Nook are currently my top 2), so it's good to hear something from an actual user.

    As a writer, I'm curious if the Kindle is the best option for me. I'm wanting to able to take my projects (and those I crit for others) with me in a lighter format than my laptop, or just be able to read/work when my husband is using my laptop. I know one can make notes on books with the Kindle, but can you do more than that? For instance, if I'm away from my laptop, but have my Kindle, and get a brain flash about a good blog post, could I write it on my Kindle and transfer it to my computer later?

    • Michael Hyatt

      No, I’m afraid not. It’s a reading device, period. You could probably cobble something together, using the experimental browser and Google docs, but I think it would be cumbersome at best.

      • Chris Brandt

        Actually, you can. The keyboard may be a little bit of a drawback, but you can have a document ported over to your Kindle, then add notations to it. Those notes will show up on your page.

        This means you can take notes and write things while wireless is turned off. When you turn wireless back on, it will sync your notes with your kindle account, which can be copy/pasted later.

      • Liberty Speidel

        Hmmm… Maybe I'll be waiting a while longer!

  • ThatGuyKC

    Thanks for sharing this balanced review! I received my Kindle 3 earlier this month and have LOVED it.

    Definitely concur with your comparison to the iPad and the benefit of having a dedicated reading device. How light and slim it is just blew me away. When I show it to friends they can't believe how clear and crisp the screen is.

    What are you going to do with the iPad now? Do I smell a stupendous giveaway? :)

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m actually handing down my iPad to someone else in my organization.

      • ThatGuyKC

        It was worth a try :)
        I bet they work very hard for you and will very much appreciate the gift.

        As cool as the iPad is I'm on the fence because, like you, I already have a laptop (MacBook Pro) and an iPhone so the Kindle 3 pretty much completes the gadget portfolio.

  • Michael Hyatt

    Thanks, Lee. Unfortunately, the “shelf life” on my recommendations is pretty short. I can’t believe how fast everything is changing. (Do you start saying this more as you get older?)

  • Michael Hyatt

    Totally agree.

  • @SkipsMKGirl

    I was waiting for this blog this morning when I took my son to his guitar lesson. His instructor, after seeing me with a book (again) showed me his new Kindle. He was raving about it and said he and his wife are already thinking they won't be able to share one.Thanks so much for the review because I have been trying to decide what to do with the last of the money I got from selling my schoolbooks. Guess now I know!

    • Michael Hyatt

      The cool thing is that they can share their books, even if they get two devices. You can connect up to five devices to one account.

  • KayakerNC

    Actually, you do NOT have to use the Symbol menu for numbers.
    Use the ALT key as a function key and press the top row will give you all the numbers.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I didn’t know that. Very cool.

      (That’s one of the things I enjoy about blogging: I get so much helpful information from my readers!)

  • Philip Nation

    Just received a Kindle 3 as a gift (from my father – shout out to him!) and I'm enjoying it. My question is about the need of a lighted case. The screen has exceeded my expectation but not sure of what cover/case to purchase. Are you finding that the light is a necessity for a better reading experience?

    • Michael Hyatt

      The light is only necessary in low light. I find myself using it in bed (when I don’t want to disturb my wife) and in airplanes at night.

  • writesprite

    I so love this thing! My husband bought me one! I may actually, after all these years, finally get some real reading done! It's perfect. I love turning it off to see what picture it's going to give me. The only drawback? Ahem — my credit card and Amazon are spending way too much time together! ;)

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  • Preston

    After using this for about three weeks, I agree with everything you're saying here. I love the built in dictionary. I've wanted to read Catch 22 and Atlas Shrugged, but Atlas Shrugged is nearly $18 on the Kindle and can't find Catch 22. Otherwise, the catalog seems decent. I thought I'd miss the tactile feel of paging a book, but this Kindle 3 has me set up proper.

  • Michelle Rayburn

    I just got my Kindle 3 six days ago. I love it! There are a few extra features that you haven't mentioned. I paid the extra $50 for the 3G and with that you can browse the internet, post to facebook and post to twitter. A big bonus.

    Also, if you don't like using the Sym button for numbers, you can also hit Alt and the top row becomes a number row. Alt Q is 1, Alt W is 2, etc. You don't have to hit them at the same time.

    The MP3 player feature is terrific. I can listen to music while I'm reading and the speakers have great quality sound. Output to headphones is quality too.

    I always thought I was strictly a paper book reader. But with all of these fun features, I'm more than willing to click instead of turning real pages in a book. Now if they could pump the smell of books from it, that would be cool.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I haven’t found the Facebook and Twitter integration all that helpful. Especially since the link to the page with the quote ends up being (in part) a big ad for the Kindle.

      I should have mentioned the MP3 player.

      • Michelle Rayburn

        Actually, there is a separate feature under "experimental" on the menu where you will find a web browser. You can browse the web by typing in a web address. Different from integrated quotes. You can look up things on Google this way as well.

  • crispone

    Sold. Now I just have to come up with the $139 (or $189). I've been back and forth between the Kindle & iPad, but I've been anticipating several things that you verified for me in this post, particularly regarding the greater opportunities for becoming distracted from reading that come with the iPad's greater functionality.

    Thanks for this post.

  • stacy

    I think it's hard to confirm Amazon's claim that people are *actually* buying/reading more after buying a Kindle. The only thing you can really say is that they're buying more *from Amazon.* They might be cutting out a regular trip to the bookstore that involved buying as many books or more, just in person rather than online. Amazon's playing a little fast and loose with the claim of any kind of absolute certainty.

    The study done by Sony sounds more scientific, though also more vague–readers self-report reading more and intending to read even more. So it supports Amazon's claim, which put together means great things for reading, yet that claim by Amazon alone doesn't actually mean what they claim it means.

    • Nicole

      True. I have maybe 30-40 e-books right now, but closer to 200 physical books on my shelves, most of which were bought secondhand. How could they even claim to track that??

  • Richard Mabry

    Michael, that about does it. I've resisted the temptation too long. If Mike Hyatt likes it after putting it to the test, who am I to ignore the march of progress? I see a purchase in my future.
    Thanks for letting us look over your shoulder.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Disclaimer: I liked the iPad, too, at one point! Buyer beware.

  • Michael Hyatt

    Some libraries are lending the EPUB versions. However, I don’t see them lending the Kindle versions. It is proprietary to Amazon, and I don’t see the economic incentive for Amazon.

  • Bethany

    At the risk of dangling my toes over the edge of a bottomless philosophical chasm, I was hoping that you would stick up for what you meant by refining what you said about “Lack of a touchscreen”. You equated conditioning to intuition. I reject this, and if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief in my viewpoint, then I’d appreciate knowing which you’d really mean if you could only mean one. This is a leading question from me, because I’m actually very familiar with the research behind human-computer interaction and interfaces. Simply put, touch screens are not at all intuitive in their current form, and, ironically, even capacitive multitouch, which is the current passive digitizer of fashion, turns out to be one of the very worst choices in terms of usability and human interface. In the industry, the presence of a touch screen isn’t considered a feature, not even a consumer feature, but rather a compensation for a hardware deficiency. For example, an industrial design with specific aesthetic considerations, such as no or few hardware buttons, requires the presence of a touch screen. Of course, this is not the only negative consequence that promoting aesthetics to the top of design can have, as the reception issues of many popular smartphones also illustrates. Naturally, the time, effort, and money that we put into researching these issues aren’t intended to invalidate anybody’s individual anecdotes or self-justifications any more than their anecdotes and self-justifications are incapable of invalidating scientific findings. More than anything, I’d be interested to know if “Lack of a touchscreen” violates your expectations/attitudes/behaviors or if it objectively impedes your ability to interface with the device, especially given the ways in which a touch screen actually would.

    P.S. Your comments about the iPad reflect the rumblings that we’ve recently heard, and it seems likely that the tablet revolution may be a fad about to sputter out. That’s actually a good thing, because there are some fantastic advances coming from innovators like HP and Toshiba that will truly revolutionize how we compute soon.

  • @mulderj

    Thanks for this post, and to the reader comments. Both have been incredibly helpful. I've been looking for a good comparison between the iPad and the Kindle specifically related to how they function as an e-reader. I've been purchasing books almost exclusively through Amazon using the Kindle app on my iPhone knowing that when I eventually purchased an e-reader my choice would almost certainly be between these two devices. Although it seems silly, the burden to "prove it's case" as to why I should purchase it has fallen on the Kindle over the iPad, despite the fact that the iPad costs significantly more. Chalk it up to brand loyalty…or cultish behavior.

    In any event, one question that remains that I hope you (or your readers) can comment on- how easy is it to "insert notes" or highlight on the Kindle? I do this frequently when I read in my iPhone, and using the touchscreen is a breeze. Later, I can reference my notes or highlights easily through the Kindle for Mac application. The physical keyboard on the Kindle seems like it might be easier as far as taking notes goes, but highlighting seems like it might be a challenge because of the lack of touchscreen.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Adam_S

      I think it is just fine on kindle. You use the cursor to chose the area to highlight and just type in where you want the note. The best part of the notetaking/highlighting is that the notes/highlights are automatically uploaded to a password protected area where you can review them and copy them directly into a blog post or paper.

  • MaurilioAmorim

    But can you play Angry Birds on a Kindle? That settles it! :-)

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes! (Just kidding.)

  • Jeff

    While there is still room for another row of keys for number keys, it would come at the expense of that little strip of space under the screen where I sometimes place a thumb or finger to hold the device. Yes, the cumbersome SYM key and having to navigate to the numbers is a pain – and I would think the next version will correct this. I love the Kindle 3. It is my first Kindle and I experience so many more pluses than minuses!

    • Michelle Rayburn

      If you use the ALT key, the top row of letters will also type numbers.

      • Michael Hyatt

        I love this tip!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree.

  • @DanielsNick

    I've had the Kindle 3 for a couple of weeks and love it. I had the same experience as you, Michael, with the absence of a touch screen, but now I actually like it that way. I can pass my fingers over the screen (as I would in a paper book) and the page wouldn't turn unwillingly.

    Oh, and the best thing: I got the ESV Study Bible for $7.99. Try getting a hard copy for that price…

  • Ron Lane

    The e-version for Booksneeze would be awesome. I know that if you can do it, you will.

  • @RobertTalbert

    This may be kind of a strange question, but I thought I'd throw it out to all the commenters for thought. Is there any evidence, or has anybody experienced, the Kindle causing sleep problems? I do most of my reading at night in bed before I fall asleep — in fact I have a hard time falling asleep unless I read first. I just finished reading a book using the Kindle app for iPhone, and all throughout that time I was having problems sleeping after I finished for the night. I know there are some studies linking late-night TV watching to sleep issues, and my sense is that reading a book on the retina display on my iPhone 4 for 45-60 minutes just before bed might be a similar thing.

    The Kindle has a screen, of course, but not the same kind of screen as an iPhone, so I didn't know if there were similar issues. Thanks!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I have not heard of this. If the screen were backlit—like the iPad—I think there might be a correlation. But this is much more like a printed page. In fact, you can’t even read it in low light.

    • Jan Marie

      LIke you, I read every night before turning out the light – I have experienced no more sleep problems from reading the Kindle than from readling a hard copy book.

  • sbarkley

    Kindle vs iphone question:
    My wife is a voracious reader of novels using the Kindle app for the iphone. She loves it. I have thought about buying her the Kindle. But other than screen size, what is the advantage for her application?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know that there are any. If she is comfortable reading on the iPhone, then she already has everything else. Thanks.

    • Adam_S

      Not just size but quality. The eink is a fundamentally different technology than LCD. I think it is much preferable for reading. There are some that do not think it makes much of a difference. But it is something I would try out in person. BestBuy and Target are now carrying Kindles, so you can see them in person to see the difference.

  • Joe Wallace

    I have to say, you've given me food for thought on the iPad. I was never really interested in Kindle at all, but reading your side-by-side comparison makes me curious about Kindle now…but how long til iPad mutates into something closer to the aesthetics you like about Kindle 3? I personally would love the option to browse the web AND read books Kindle-style…but that backlit issue on the iPad gives me pause.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Unfortunately, this is a fast-moving product category. The innovation is only going to get better. It’s already come a long way.

  • Janice Campbell

    I've had my Kindle 3 for a couple of weeks, and have taken it on two trips, which was one reason I got it. My impressions are similar to yours. It's easy to carry and read, but as a dedicated Mac and iPhone user, I really miss the touch screen. I also miss the ability to easily page back and forth to refer to previous thoughts. It's good, but it definitely has a PC feel, which I think is a liability.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree, but I think this will only get better with time and more competition.

  • Nancy Shohet West

    Very interesting post. The wi-fi Kindle 3 is at the top of my wishlist. The iPad is not, for budgetary reasons, but I am glad you validated this priority!

  • ajith505

    Been using Kindle 3, after using Kindle 2 for a while. The best thing I like is the improved contrast and faster page turnout. I would never need an IPad for reading. I am not a mobile gamer, and for web access on the go, I have my cellphone and even kindle can handle my urgent online needs.

  • clavejones

    The color screen is the determining factor for me. Comic books are just getting into the iPad game and that's an experience you can't replicate with the Kindle/

  • yamabuki zhou

    writing notes ain't bad, highlighting is super easy. Sending highlighted sections to twitter or facebook is easy too.

    As for the audio, the voices aren't bad, but the reading sounds choppy and would be better i think if it was slower. Better then nothing i guess, but not very good in my opinion

    The selection as others have mentioned is great on amazon. But you're better off shopping at the web site.

    eInk is much easier on the eyes then the lcd displays of the iphone or ipad

    size and weight are great.

  • Jan Marie

    I bought a Kindle about two months ago – I have about 45 books on it so far, most of which I got free on Amazon and all of which are Christian fiction. I have never used an iPad or any other device so can't compare it to others. Nothing will ever take the place of a 'real' book for me but it comes in handy to take to school and read on lunch break. I have been able to convert books that I am reviewing and this greatly facilitates the process. I like the fact that it automatically saves your place when you stop reading and you can quickly resume right where you left off. My only complaint is that some formats don't convert well to the Kindle format but it is usually not too bad inasmuch as it is still legible. Kindle provides free conversion through your own account, another plus.

    • Jan Marie

      One other thing I just checked on after reading comments – even though my Kindle is quite new, I do have the number keys available on mine. I seldom need them, however, so would probably not miss them if they weren't there.

  • pritchett4

    How does the Kindle 3 compare with Kindle app for PC, Mac, etc. I have Kindle on my PCs and do like the ability to carry books since one is really quite lite and portable. I normally keep Wordpad open to take notes (though may try using the highlight note feature which has just been included in PC version since I find myself slowed down a bit and highlighting would undoubtedly be quicker). I do understand the screen flicker issue and I think that is why sometimes at night I don't read – eyes are tired from the day. Certainly can't read on new computer screens outdoors but they do have backlight). I was hoping that Kindle for PC would cover for spending the $$$ on an actual reader. But reading these comments are proving pretty tempting, especially with price drop on new K3. So any comments about user experiences between the two platforms would be helpful. Second question, is WIFI enough (I am around most of the time) or is spending the extra $50 recommended so wireless wherever?

    Great post and comments – really helpful! Great site, Michael!!

  • Julie-Ann

    Thanks so much for the insight on the Kindle. I’ve been considering this purchase, but have been a bit leery. Sounds like Amazon has a handle on a decent product at a good price point. Much like Nintendo’s Wii, this sounds like a good all-around product for the price. As this article ( points out, providing what customers want can help companies stand out from the crowd.

  • Noah Fleming

    I have a Kindle 2 and an iPad.

    I find myself doing more reading on the iPad now. That being said, you're right. It's too tempting to jump in and out. I'm looking forward to whatever advancements come from Amazon and the Kindle.

    I love buying Kindle books (even though I read many on the iPad).

    They've made it too easy, too fast, too convenient..Which in my eyes, is perfection.

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  • @dickmyerscough

    Michael, some examples of Kindle prices being higher than the paperback versions would be the Booker Prize nominees – and they're not the only examples I could give.

    • @davidhooper

      I have noticed quite a few Kindle books being more than hard copies. Perhaps because they're being distributed by different companies?

  • @davidhooper

    Agree with you on the iPad/Kindle comparison. Glad to see I'm not the only one who isn't into iPad for reading books.

    Saw there is a Scabble (or a knockoff, maybe) for Kindle. With people pushing the limits of what it can do, you might just get something to distract you from your reading yet! :)

  • 117len

    Amazon needs to add page numbers.

    • Michael Hyatt

      They really can’t. One of the key features of the Kindle is the ability to change the font size. Every time you do this, you change the page count. The content flows differently based on the font size, rendering page numbers meaningless. Their location system is the most accurate. Everything will eventually convert to this kind of designation.

      • ruach

        the location system is becoming acceptable in academia although I have not seen the final MLA format convention

  • ruach

    I am definitely reading more with the kindle although I have not stopped reading printed material. I discovered a new fiction series and read all three books in a matter of weeks–so easy and I think my reading is faster with the kindle.

    In reading my more academic books, I use the highlighting feature a lot and have to limit my posts to facebook. Because I am reading six books on my kindle at a time, I find that I need to go through and transfer my text file from my kindle to my computer and then copy/paste the highlighted portions to a new word doc that I have opened for each particular book. If I don't, it is unweildy to work with. I wish a separate text file could be created for each book I am reading so i would not have to do this. As it is, all the highlights are in a generic my clippings text file.

    Other minor complaint concerns kindles requirement to use mp3 files while itunes uses mp4 files and I have yet to find an easy way to convert them. So, it forces me to buy them on amazon and then import them into itunes rather than the other way around

    • pritchett4

      If I am understanding your comment correctly about highlighting – you can go to and browse by book (Your Books) where all of your highlights and notes are organized according to each book that you have read rather than one large file – hope that helps.

      Note: I just purchased the Kindle 3 and still learning!

      • ruach

        Wow, thanks. I had not known about that–it does work! That is helpful and will save me time if I want to cut and paste the file when I have finished the book to put it into a word document and edit. Thanks so much.

  • Shari

    My Kindle 3 arrives today. While I have relied heavily on my iPhone to read Kindle content, especially at night, I too have experienced frequent distraction to check my GReader or Mail resulting in fewer books read. I have tried to use my husband’s iPad to read in bed and found it awkward. I ordered the Kindle case with light and hope to enjoy distraction-free dedicated e-reading in bed again. Thank you for the thoughtful review!

  • LP

    Thanks for the insightful review. I love my Kindle because it’s so portable and easy on the eyes, and it also allows me to create e-books out of any texts that I can download from the internet. I’ve been using my Kindle for a couple of months, and I still haven’t bought anything from the Kindle Store because of all the great stuff I can get for free!

    I also agree that the greatest weakness of the Kindle (1,2 or 3) is it’s cumbersomeness when it comes to other functions that accompany thoughtful reading (notes, highlights, etc.).

    • Gretchenwhicker

      I have had mine for 1 day ;D. I have the standard , but am considering returning for an upgrade.. at which device do you start to loose the sleekness of the Kendle 3, and wil the 1st upgrade to touch screen with audio allow for mp3 ?

  • Todd Stanfield

    I prefer the iPad because of the ability to touch a word and instantly get a definition, rather than needing to navigate the cursor to it. Same applies to highlighting a passage. Simply wonderful!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yep, the touch interface is awesome. I would love to see Amazon add that.

  • alitagtagjac

    Thanks for the review: covered all the bases, straight to the point. I especially appreciate the Kindle-3 vs Ipad comparison, even though they are different devices: I can;t be alone in weighing the cost-benefit of one over the other. Can’t wait till our his and hers get here.

  • K.C. Procter

    I’ve had the Kindle 3 for a few months now and just posted my review here:

    Thank you for always sharing value added content and being accessible. It is a great opportunity to interact and learn from a leader like yourself.

  • Bobseymore

    One of my favorite features is the option to load the kindle app on up to 5 devices and sync your reading and notes between all 5 devices. For casual reading I can use the Kindle, but I can seamlessly read a couple of pages on the fly off of my Iphone or my Macbook where all of the same notes are stored and it opens to the exact page I was reading in any of these devices. I love the Kindle on the plane or in my chair by the fire place, but the same book is on my Iphone when I am waiting at the doctor or at my desk when I am preparing for a meeting with the notes and highlights.

  • shopgirl

    Agree with you on most. I love my kindles. I have two (one is a gift) and both are the 2nd generation. My one big dislike is the lack of ability to “search”, which is also related to difficulty in navigation. I basically only buy books on the kindle now if I know it is (more or less) a once over. For reference things that I need to frequently go back to a specific page, or other random access reads, I would go for the real thing that opens however I want. Plus the real tree smell and feel is always nice.

  • Eric Connor

    Have a Kindle 3 myself and also love it…but also wrestle with how to best take notes with it. I keep a Moleskin myself handy to jot things down. That being said, I find the highlighting/bookmarking in the Kindle 3 pretty cool when you consider you can access all of it together under “My Clippings.” I’ll highlight sentences/paragraphs while reading a book and then download all of them through clippings to my desktop – from there you can slice and store them any way that fits you best.

  • Nora

    I have been using a Kindle since January of this year and preordered the K3. It’s a great reading experience . I have over 150 books with me wherever I go, I can buy books wherever I am and the dictionary is so handy. I have never been able to read for very long on a backlit screen. The Kindle is really easy on the eyes. I don’t have an iPad but did consider getting one and wouldn’t rule it out for the future. I wouldn’t give up my Kindle though. The free book samples are great, making it easier to know if I am really interested in a book before I buy it. As for the higher price for Kindle books- I have seen it several times and have held off buying several books because of it.

  • Nicole

    I don’t have any of these yet, but I’m in the market for one.

    I have different specs I’m looking for, though. I travel internationally a lot and am looking for something that will still work well when electricity and internet access are spotty or rare. That is, a charged battery needs to last a long time and the books should be stored on the device, not a website. The format of the books that the reader accepts also matters since I have downloaded books as PDF, EBUB, and others. Due to the wear & tear travel puts on electronics, I actually like the ones that do not have a touch screen, as they have less to break.

    With all that in mind, does anyone have a good recommendation?

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  • Kim Leslie

    I love my kindle. It’s just so easy and that makes reading fun! However I’m disappointed about 2 things: (1) no book sharing between other kindle readers, and (2) the book prices are escalating from the initial price of $9.99 per book to $14.99 for new releases. I’m sticking w the kindle for space reasons but I wish the prices would come back down.

  • Williamdavid1218

    Hey! This may be slightly off topic. But just wanted to let you know about one small kindle issue. When you buy a kindle cover make sure that the hooks on the cover that connect to the kindle are not made of metal or are at least painted well. Otherwise the hooks will act as conductive point (remember the cover with the light uses those hooks to power the light) which causes the Kindle to crash

  • Wade Goodman

    Love my Kindle. But here’s my wish list (just in case someone has an in-road with Bezos)…

    1. Page Numbers that correspond with print books. I understand the need for “locations” but for group study, reference, etc. we need pg#s.

    2. Free Blogs — Free on my computer and iphone but a fee on my Kindle. Strange.

    3. Facebook Posting to a Fan Page. Not everything is suitable for my personal FB page.

    4. Book Loans — Would love to loan my books to other Kindle owners

    5. More Library Views — “collections” are great. How about books by cover, sortable by title, author, last read, percentage read, date purcahsed, etc.

    6. Highlight/Note during text-to-speech — or, at least, while text-to-speech is paused.

    7. General Notes – a place to store general notes and thoughts not linked directly to a book and available online for download like book notes.

    8. Reading stats – Number of books read, amount if time spent reading for period, start/end dates, etc.

    9. Link to Shelfari (or other social book sites)

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think you will ever see page numbers. The location of a word or sentence changes with the size of the font (e.g., if you use a larger font, the “book” will have more pages). I agree with your other items. Thanks for commenting!

  • New Kindle User

    I’m a new kindle user and a long time book listener. My favorite thing to do is listen to a book as I go to sleep. What’s missing as far as I can tell is a “go to sleep after 30, 45, 60 (etc.) minutes mode. I pull the same thing off using my netbook using a sleep mode widget from and was looking forward to the same experience using the kindle.

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  • Duane Scott

    “If all you do is consumemedia, the iPad is great. It is lighter and smaller than most laptops, and thus easier to lug around. But, if you create content like I do—blogs posts, presentations, and other documents—you might find it too cumbersome. I did. ” 
    I bought an iPad two days ago and returned it today because of that reason. 

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  • kindle ebook publishing

    Yes, these are good points for kindle 3.


  • Anonymous

    to be honest, personally I think Kindles products have become too complicated, they haven’t differentiate them wide enough 

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