back to article Brits got Kindles for Christmas

Ask punters what they got for Christmas and a rather large number of them say they got a Kindle. Pollster YouGov asked that very question of 2000-odd UK adults and found that one in 40 of us received an e-book reader as a gift or bought one for ourselves over the festive period. Given that the adult population of the UK is …

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Kith and Kindle

50% of our family now either have one or are waiting for the Touch to come to the UK. My 93 year old mother in law is particularly enamoured with hers. She doesn't have a PC/wireless connectivity, so has the 3G variety. It also helps that all her favourite books are free! To be fair we are a family of book nuts with a real storage problem for those that we've already got.

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Anonymous Coward

Errm.

Kobo Touch is already out. It's not only better than the Kindle Touch, it uses the open EPUB format, rather than the locked down Amazon AMZ.

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OK, I'll bite...

The Kindle also supports the MOBI ebook format, which isn't hard to produce or convert yourself - just install the Calibre ebook manager/converter (actually, do that whatever reader you own - :-)).

Also, "better" is such a vague and subjective term - the Kobo is a fine machine (and I considered it), but in the end, I think the Kindle nudges it if you're an Amazon regular. (I also like my Kindle's hardware keypad.) I don't buy many ebooks, though - Calibre and the likes of Project Gutenberg help see to that...

But if you're happy with the Kobo, good for you - horses for courses and all that :-)

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The main thing which swung me towards to the Kindle over the Kobo were that side mounted page turning buttons. The touch screen in nicer for typing but for reading (which is the main point of the device) I found the buttons far more practical than having to poke the screen with my other hand (well, that and the fact that Amazon have far more of the non-fiction book I wanted available).

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Anonymous Coward

Kindle - less than £100

Tablets - average £400 (some exceptions I know)

I wonder if price had anything to do with it?

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Exactly.

This article is kind of like saying "More chocolate than Kindles purchased at Xmas!"

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I bought a few kindles from Tesco for £79 ... Xmas sorted!!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm, I wonder

how many people now use the word Kindle as a generic term for e-book reader.

I know my mum told her bowling friends she got a Kindle, despite it being Kobo, we got her the Kobo because it's got more books, and is generally a better reader.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah - same with the iPad...

I bought my wife an Android Asus EEE Pad (TF101)... and she insists on telling all her friends that she got an iPad for Christmas... and they all call it an iPad even when they're looking at it.

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Headmaster

The low-hanging fruit

I called my MP3 player an iPod for years, despite the fact it had nothing to do with Apple or their products. But two syllables are easier to pronounce than five. Similarly, it's a lot easier to just say "Kindle", a well-known brand, than "e-Reader", which, to be perfectly frank, is a pretty stupid name to begin with.

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Gold badge

I think "iPod" went the way of hoover and biro some time ago, particularly in playgrounds.

Kindle might follow, but only if Amazon stop diluting the brand with things like the Fire.

I don't know if "owning the brand" is commercially useful to Amazon. It makes them the first place people go if they are interested in buying an e-reader, at least for a few years. (I don't suppose anyone buys hoovers or biros from the original manufacturer anymore.) It is certainly deserved. Amazon made a product cheap enough and good enough for book lovers rather than gadget lovers.

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Trollface

It's Amazing!

How all you people could have remembered one small post that I made here saying thanks-but-no-thanks to e-books and their readers. I know it seems unlikely, even impossible, that people should have gone to the trouble of finding out who I am, and where I live (El Reg security issue here?), but it looks like they did, and wow! Just what I wanted! No kindles for Christmas.

What I'm a lot less happy about is that none of you sent the real books I asked for...

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Kindle, Kobo...

we decided on Kobo over Kindle, particularly with the pre-Christmas price drop, and based on various comparison tests. Having tested what went to a relative, I'm quite happy I didn't get one for myself. Yes, it's ok, and probably less locked down than Kindle, and with epub support. But the 4-way navi pad is a pain and being rubber covered you never know if you press right (and you often get it wrong, going "up" instead of "right". Yes, I would prefer a hardware button on the side. Bundled software is crap, and why the f... do I have to register to install it? Yeah, so they can push their s*** back at me, and then probably lose my data to some hack. Fortunately I stumbled upon the obvious software choice that Kobo decided to keep shtum about - Calibre does the job well enough and there are even plug-ins for those, who want to unlock their DRM-chained purchase.

It's all a bit of a f*** with all the formats and conversions (why the f**** can't they read common formats such as rtf?).

And then, there is a matter of handling contents, when I loaded the device with some 300 Mb (not that much, huh?) of the books I had scanned and read, the device would get so sluggish that it was hardly possible to navigate the menus. Sadly, it seems to automatically scan for and "tag" whatever you drop into its memory. And then, the flash every page, or every 4 pages, depending on your settings, this is annoying. Yes, it's the nature of e-ink, but you won't find a word of this "feature" mentioned by any of the e-book reader manufacturers, nosir.

And, on top of everything, you need a source of light to read them, so no more wasted eyesight reading off a lit screen of a "smartphone".

But the price is just about acceptable, considering the (non-removable) battery life and the decent quality of text display. Give them another year or two and they'll drop to 50 quid and become less clunky.

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Trollface

You mean like the two bookeen opus's I bought my kids, £50 each, weighs less than a kindle, (ok it's a 5" screen, but most of their books are smaller anyway.

The opus's also read txt files as well, although not rtf's. Why not RTFs? well probably the same reason as they don't read .doc and .docx

The Rich Text Format (often abbreviated RTF) is a proprietary document file format with published specification developed by Microsoft Corporation since 1987 for Microsoft products and for cross-platform document interchange.

Both devices loaded with over 500mb of books, should keep them quiet for a while!

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Anonymous Coward

how many of the 2000-odd received actual books?

just asking...

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Its all about price and marketing

I would have bought anyone in my family an e reader for xmas, they are cheap enough to do so. There are only a couple of members of immediate family I would have spent £400+ on to buy a tablet.

As for all the Kindle/Kobo/Sony is better debate, it's immaterial. Look back over the years and you will see many examples which illustrate that it doesn't matter which product is technically better, the key to success is marketing. Kindle have nailed it with a product which is good enough (although maybe not the best) and a marketing and distribution chain which can't be beaten.

Do you think my 80 year old grandparents are more concerned about DRM or the ability to buy a book in 1 click from a website they know how to navigate?

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IT Angle

YPTAFH (doesn't exactly roll off the tongue does it?)

assuming that your 80 year old grandparents didn't retire 15 years ago having helped usher in the computer age and talk machine code in their sleep Id reckon the YPTAFH factor would be important as well (Younger Person To Ask For Help)...

doesn't just apply to the older generation either.. quite a few of my friends+gf got kindles at least in part because I had one and was able to help them set theirs up/use it.

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"Good with computers"...

... three words I have expressly told my parents and relatives to never, ever, again use in a conversation with other people.

Despite this, I still get phone calls from random friends-of-friends/relatives asking me if I don't mind driving halfway across the fucking country to move their mouse two inches and press a button.

(Sorry, it's been one of those Christmases...)

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Bronze badge
Happy

The Kindle works well. It's not the only e-reader out there.

I suppose everyone knows about Baen Books at www.baen.com who have been using free electronic editions as a promotional tool. I wonder how the explosion in e-reader numbers will affect them. But they have a lot of free SF.

There are some decent cheap e-books from Amazon, and some real rip-offs. If you want to read "A Princess of Mars" go to Project Gutenberg. The version I got from Amazon has most of a chapter missing.

That 1-in-40 could be a pretty high percentage of those who read books for fun. The per capita annual book sales in the UK are roughly the same value as the cost of a Kindle About a quarter of adults don't read books, Half read fewer than five a year.

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Silver badge

+1 for the Baen Free library regardless of ereaders.

Brilliant way to get free books from some cracking sf/f authors including half a dozen Hugo and Nebula winners.

Their paid site Webscriptions is DRM free as well.

Additionally some of their Hard Covers include a CD with 20 odd normally paid for ebooks for free.

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Stop

2000 odd UK people?

I never received this survey from YouGov. Does that make me 'normal' in their eyes?

Are 'odd' people statistically significant?

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Anonymous Coward

Kobo Touch

Got my eldest a Kobo Touch as it was the one recommended by El Reg readers, it is brill. I was hoping he would throw a strop and say he didn't like it, sadly for me he loves it too. I'll have to wait for my birthday and hope the missus takes the heavy hints.

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Anonymous Coward

Bookeen Opus

Bought mine from Waterstones £49 - can't go wrong.

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Coat

eBook piracy...

It would be interesting to know just how many of those readers are going to be loaded with books from mates collections, downloaded from dodgy sources.

In most offices up and down the country, I bet there's a little stash of digital goodies lurking on file servers, including plenty of eBooks.

There's another reason why the devices are so popular - your not locked in the same way as you are on a fruit based tablet device. Just connect with USB, drag and drop, done.

I'm not condoning this type of activity, heck, it's just what people do, innit?

The perception of value in tiny digital files simply doesn't have much significance when compared with a dead tree book. Head onto Amazon, bloody hell, that tiny download is like £15! - may as well buy the book and get something tangible!

iow, eBooks are often very overpriced and so we get the old mp3 thing all over again, seeking out dodgy, often sub-standard digital wares - the distributors just never learn.

... Just saying ...

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I gave one to my Mum and one to my Dad, Mum loves hers Dad's a technological dinosaur and used it for about 5 min then it's sat in the draw next to his bed since then.

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Anonymous Coward

Mine got a bust screen (apparently very common) after 14 months and they want 40 quid to replace it because it's outside 12 months warranty. Since I can only read their books on their obviously rubbish hardware they have me over a barrel. Couldn't possibly recommend them to anybody.

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Anonymous Coward

Sale of Goods Act etc

Should be able to argue that it ought to l ast more than a year without breaking.

Take thee to moneysavingexpert.com

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Anonymous Coward

"that one in 40 of us received an e-book reader"

How many will be a novelty and end up in the spare room/cupboard by the end of January? Don't get me wrong I have a widescreen Arnova 10" cheapo Andy tab and it's perfect for ebook reading, I just wonder how many people bought them as presents for people without really thinking if the person wants to buy online books or knows how and where to get the free public domain books?

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Bronze badge

the other few percent

I got the Sony PRS-T1, I've been reading out-of-copyright fot years so format wasn't an issue - compatibility with my local library's ebook was.

Only problem with ereaders is needing a separate light source for reading at night in bed (compared to say reading on the iphone).

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Silver badge
Angel

And yet...

...while sitting in the park under the biggest light source I know, a Kindle beats the pants off an iPhone.

I also find it easier to switch on a bedside light than switch off the sun, for some reason.

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If you're not particularly picky about accessories, I heard on the grapevine that Poundstretcher were selling clip-on reading lights for e-readers, for (surprise) £1. I went in, found one and figured I had nothing to lose...

...and it works fine - one very bright, white LED, running off one of those "button" watch batteries, fixed to a metal "gooseneck" with a "bulldog clip" on the other end. The clip could be a bit larger (to go round my Kindle in its case), but otherwise it's surprisingly well-made, and when it finally breaks you can buy another.

Basically, for me, it's a "no-brainer", and certainly about £49 cheaper than Amazon's own "lighted case"...

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Bronze badge

I got one too.

I'll probably still buy physical books, usually second hand. But the number of free out of copyright books alone made it worthwhile.

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Anonymous Coward

"Kobo Touch is already out. It's not only better than the Kindle Touch, it uses the open EPUB format, rather than the locked down Amazon AMZ."

You totally miss the point - it's about ease of use - this is why Amazon with the Kindle and Apple with the iPad have it so right. Most of the epub books will free on kindle anyway.

Can you get a 3G Kobo you can use worldwide - thought not...

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Anonymous Coward

I appreciate people on here are perhaps more technical than most but the reality is *most* people do not want to faff around uploading their own ebooks when there are a stack of free and cheap ones on Amazon. I bought my wife a Kindle - took all of 2 minutes to setup and she can happily get all the books she wants within seconds.

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Anonymous Coward

Kobo is not bad but recon the Kindle will win through - it's just an easier experience.

Kodo --> Dodo

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Thumb Up

I got a Kobo Touch for christmas, and have to say that it's fantastic. I wasn't sure sure about them a few months ago but after having a good go with mine over the holidays and I am extremely impressed.

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Anonymous Coward

"Only problem with ereaders is needing a separate light source for reading at night in bed (compared to say reading on the iPhone)."

Surely a problem they have in common with their paper cousins. People want it every way - a screen that looks like paper and a mega battery life but also backlit so you can use it in bed.

Most people solve the problem with a bedside light or a clip-on LED light (often built into the case) or even a headlamp.

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Sat at the side of the pool I've seen plenty of kindles, just one iPad, they were sat under the stairs well away from the sun they paid so much to enjoy. The missus loves hers too.

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