back to article Amazon Kindle Paperwhite review

Kindle came first, of course, but is it the best ebook reader still? After all, there is a wide range of alternatives from multi-talented colour-screen machines like the Google Nexus 7, Kindle’s own Fire and Fire HD models and now the iPad mini. Those are designed to offer greater versatility with apps galore. But they lack the …

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Anonymous Coward

At least yours worked

Mine went back the day after I got it, it would never boot past the screensaver no mater how many resets I tried.

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JDX
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Re: At least yours worked

Good story. Maybe you could self-publish it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: At least yours worked

> Maybe you could self-publish it.

I just did :)

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Kindle came first, of course

Did it?

Maybe in the US they were, but certainly not in the UK.

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Mushroom

Shameless Amazon advert?

Ummm no.......... Kindle was NOT first (no matter what the Amazon marketing drivel you're reprinting says). I bought my first Sony E-reader in 2006.

Also - on what planet is it worth paying 50 of any currency to be allowed to borrow one book per month? I can borrow books for free from my local library, and many libraries are starting to lend e-books but usually only in EPUB format (which Kindle doesn't support). You're paying for next day delivery, and the ability to borrow a book per month hardly even qualifies as 'added value'.

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Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

...and many libraries are shuttering as councils are cutting back on services. Your taxes pay for the library.

I agree that £4/mo is a bit much for one book only, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

Kindle may not support EPUB but Calibre (which is FREE) does...and it will convert to MOBI and sync to your Kindle.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

= FAFF

Most people would not bother.

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JDX
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Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

It is free, it's a bonus gift for Prime subscribers.

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Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

You're not paying £50 a year to borrow books. You're paying £50 a year for Amazon Prime, which gives you free shipping on all Amazon shopping, and - as a bonus - allows you to borrow books.

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Silver badge

Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

While EPUB and MOBI are similar, conversion isn't lossless so Calibre is better than nothing but it doesn't excuse the Kindle using a proprietary format in the first place. Any reason for not supporting EPUB natively is purely commercial, not technical and while it might suit Amazon's interests it certainly doesn't suit their customers.

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Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

I don't give a flying monkey what other benefits and / or "benefits" it gives me, bottom line is, if I want to borrow "free" books from them, then I have to dish out 50 quid. Well, they can fuck off and die then.

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Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

I get free shipping on all my amazon orders anyway, I just don't mind waiting a few days, so the £4/mo to borrow one book is still a valid metric for me to judge it by

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

"...and many libraries are shuttering as councils are cutting back on services. Your taxes pay for the library."

..speaking of which, I discovered that my local library will let members have free access to OED and Britannica online (from home, using credentials from the library card), as well as borrowing e-books. I just need to bloody remember to get down there of a Saturday and join, some time... Thanks for reminding me :)

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Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

"Also - on what planet is it worth paying 50 of any currency to be allowed to borrow one book per month?"

It isn't and he doesn't suggest it is. But, if you are already an Amazon Prime subscriber then, effectively, you are getting twelve free ebooks a year - which is certainly worth considering if you are trying to decide between a Kobo and a Kindle.

As an existing Amazon Prime subscriber looking at a new 7" tablet it NEARLY tipped the balance towards the Kindle HD - until I read the reviews on that device.

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Holmes

Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

The lack of epub support may be a niggle, but since this is an issue only when purchasing books from stores other than Amazon, you then also have to look to the 3rd party in the equation: the publisher of the book itself.

Amazon choose not to support epub on their device. It's their device, and it's their choice.

Other publishers are free to choose whatever formats they wish. The more enlightened ones will themselves realise that publishing only in epub will deny them access to Kindle owners as customers, hence they will also offer their titles in mobi format.

O'Reilly manage this quite easily. I can buy books from O'Reilly, download them in mobi format and then using the "Send to Kindle" app in my OS X dock, within seconds my purchase is in my Kindle Cloud and on whatever Kindle devices I may wish (I have a Kindle Touch plus Kindle reader software on my Mac, Android tablet and phone). Or I can download epub or PDF.

The lack of epub support on Kindle's is a feature check-list problem, not a real world one ime.

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FAIL

Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

@what's a handle - Buy the effing books then cheapskate

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Thumb Up

Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

It isn't a faff if you think of Calibre as the management software for the Kindle.

You just tell it "I want that book on that device". You don't need to think about whether the book format is supported by the reader, Calibre knows what formats are supported by the attached device and converts it on the fly if needed. It will also set the metadata up for you, automatically (including the cover art) if you give it the ISBN number.

Calibre really should be in the box with the Kindle.

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Unhappy

Re: Shameless Amazon advert?

I wondered what the privatisation of libraries would look like. £49 per year for membership, and e-books only? Yeah, that sounds great...

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"The temptation is to have it always on, just for the way the screen looks bright and appealing."

The Paperwhite's light is always on - you can turn it down but there's no way to turn it off.

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Anonymous Coward

"The temptation is to have it always on, just for the way the screen looks bright and appealing."

"The Paperwhite's light is always on - you can turn it down but there's no way to turn it off."

Crivens, you're right, too. I thought "0" was off, but just made myself look like an office loony by looking at mine with a coat over my head.

However, it's very efficient, and sips small amounts of power, and is very easy on the eye, so it's nice to use.

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Re: "The temptation is to have it always on

It says in the manual that holding down the minus sign will turn the light off - is that true, or just the same as zero?

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Alert

Tactile Rubberised Finish?

Would that be the industry standard "tactile rubberised finish" that turns into a sticky mess after 2 years?

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Obsolete by well over 10 years

It still doesn't support epub. The amazon book format is based on mobi pocket book format which is itself based on html 3.2. Html 3.2 has no proper css support. The maker can not easily style these books. It's obsolete by well over 10 years. If Amazon must use a proprietary format they should, at least, keep it up-to-date.

PS: epub is also slightly obsolete but much less so than mobi format.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Obsolete by well over 10 years

OH NOES!!

Books still look fine on kindles. Somehow they've got away with not supporting CSS, much like, well, books don't.

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Silver badge

Re: Obsolete by well over 10 years

Books are physical objects whose content doesn't change once it's printed. They also have the benefit of typesetting and proof readers who can fix issues such as when a table runs out into the margins or there is a large gap at the bottom of a page.

An ebook has to look good on multiple displays and multiple font sizes, in portrait and layout mode and it has to do this dynamically, i.e. when user hits zoom or rotates or whatever the page has to flow properly.

Interleaving the layout with the content is a bad idea in ebooks for exactly the same reason it is for HTML - because what looks good on one device or one font might not look good on another. Another good reason not to do it is because embedding the styling bloats out the size of the content. Mobi files are often bigger than Epub because the latter isolates the styles into a seperate set of rules whereas Mobi inlines them all over the place.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Obsolete by well over 10 years

Your source of information on the Kindle format also seems to be obsolete, you might want to look into Kindle Format 8 http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1000729511

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Black Helicopters

Re: Obsolete by well over 10 years

"... in the coming months we will roll out KF8 to our latest generation Kindle e-ink devices as well as our free Kindle reading apps."

Have been seeing this line on their site for several months now... I'm an interested party only because I have to produce content for these things.

Maybe when they turn a decent profit in the UK they'll be able to invest in finally getting it out to the grubby unwashed e-ink readers. Frankly I don't care any more, with the evasive performance they put in regarding their piss-poor tax avoidance regimen I'm not filling their coffers any more.

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Thumb Up

Re: Obsolete by well over 10 years

Pretty sure they've already rolled it out, Calibre offers KF8 (AZW3) as one of the formats to convert stuff to for my Kindle 3.

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Kindle started well

But I don't like where it's going - the things that I like best (the keyboard and Next/Previous buttons) are deleted, the thing that I hate the most (touchscreen) added, storage size slashed (4 GB to 2 GB)... I'm not sure that screen illumination makes up for the crippling of ergonomics.

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Still no buttons

Still no page-turning buttons on these new Kindles. Why? Sure, the touch-screen interface is great for navigation, etc., but I spend very little time navigating, and most of the time reading. The page-turn buttons on my Kindle Keyboard get pressed thousands of times a week. Surely the cost of including real page-turn buttons in addition to the touchscreen would be tiny. The focus should be on making the reading experience perfect. That "horribly intrusive" flash to refresh the screen bothers me not one jot - but having to stick my thumb in front of the text every page seems a lot more intrusive and is definitely a retrograde step.

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Re: Still no buttons

Do you not have to stick your thumb in front of the text to turn a page on a real book?

I've never really noticed it before, I have a Sony E-reader and the swipe to turn action feels natural as it's similar to flipping pages. The Sony has buttons to change pages also but I don't think i've ever used them.

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Thumb Down

Re: Still no buttons

Touch screen doesn't work with gloves on though. With my current, outdated Kindle I can read my book in a chilly train station without getting cold fingers, something that simply isn't possible with the touchscreen designs.

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Re: Still no buttons

Agreed re the buttons. The main reason I bought a Kindle was to get around reduced baggage allowances when I go on holiday as I usually take about a dozen or more books on holiday when I'm off for a fortnight so my case weighed a ton. As I go to hot places where I tend to get a bit sweaty I keep my Kindle in an Aquapac to stop it getting in a mess (also helps should I drop the Kindle into the pool or the sea by accident) the touchscreen wouldn't really work, plus all those sweaty fingerprints would probably render it unreadable. Until they bring out a new Kindle which isn't touch screen I'll stick with my now fairly antique model.

Not fussed about a light either. If I want to read and it is too dark I put the light on. Simple. Works for me.

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Re: Still no buttons

I can use gloves too! The Sony touchscreen - at least on the PRS 650 - uses IR sensors embedded within the bezel to detect input, the older ones used a resistive layer but this made them absolutely awful to read on!

I've just remembered that it has a stylus too, how quaint!

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Mushroom

Re: Still no buttons

Wow, you must be the first and only person to have this problem, otherwise someone might have thought to develop gloves to address this specific issue. Oh but wait, they have.

Have you heard of this thing called "Google" ? Apparently in can be quite helpful in finding stuff... ;)

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FAIL

Re: Still no buttons

So wait, your solution to my problem is to buy reading gloves? Thanks, but no thanks -- I have a nice pair of soft, warm gloves I'd rather not swap for a crappy capacitive pair every time I fancy a bit of reading.

Also it doesn't address the waterproof bag situation mentioned above.

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JDX
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So...

You said it's a better dedicated e-reader than iPad or Fire, but we've all known that anyway. The one thing you didn't answer directly is if it's a better dedicated e-reader than the competitors.

So?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

Yes if you ONLY want to read ebooks it's not a bad device but is it worth carrying 2 devices to read ebooks and do other stuff like play games, email, web etc. etc. Personally I would rather have the one device to use / carry.

I see the b/w Kindle devices losing a lot of market share - they are very limited in that you can realistically only use them with Amazon and black and white only (apart from the Fire). The price is also no longer 'cheap' when tablets are perhaps only double the cost (or less).

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Happy

Re: So...

The one thing you didn't answer directly is if it's a better dedicated e-reader than the competitors.

Well, to be fair, he did actually say the Kobo Glo has a better on-off switch and is also slightly smaller (though the screen is the same size). Given that the Kobo Glo also supports ePub and and costs a tenner less.....

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Silver badge

Re: So...

My tablet needs recharged when I get to the hotel on holiday. My Sony ereader needs recharged when I get home.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So...

Is that really an issue - it's not for me. When I go on holiday I may read for 2 hours a day perhaps - maybe more - maybe less. So my iPad Mini will probably manage 4-5 days between charges and it's colour and it can browse the web / play games / doubles up as a iPod and video player on the plane.

e-reader do any of that - no...?

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JDX
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Re: So...

It's not a debate whether a dedicated e-reader makes sense alongside tablets because Amazon continue to sell truck-loads of them. You can say you don't want both but the sales figures show this is a non-story.

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WTF?

As before, you can set the page refresh – that horribly intrusive white-to-black-to-white flash – to happen every page or every six pages. If you do it every sixth page there are some artefacts that build between flashes but it’s so much easier on the eyes that it’s definitely the way to go.

Or, like me, you might decide that artefacts building up on the page and a flash every six pages is more distracting that a flash every page which, frankly, you forget about. I always switch the setting to redraw the whole page every time. That's definitely the way to go.

I've been reading on e-readers for three or four years now - I don't even notice the flash on a page turn now.

But yes - I'd still like to have hard page-turn buttons.

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Anonymous Coward

Does no-one else like colour...? Yes I know most 'books' are black and white but some include colour pictures and you lose that on a b/w device. Also the battery life is good but is charging a normal tablet every 10 hours of reading such an issue. The iPad mini or Nexus 7 are about twice the price but both do so much more.

My wife has the previous model Kindle - she quite likes it but actually prefers to read on the Kindle app on her iPad - this model is an improvement but at that cost it's too near a proper tablet - for their features e-readers should be about £50 - when you get to £100+ you are in proper tablet country.

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Silver badge

Colour

Sure, colour e-ink would be nice but even B&W e-ink is much better than LCD for reading.

I don't expect my paper books to show me the internets, so when ereader does not do that either - it's not an issue for me at all.

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Anonymous Coward

"Does no-one else like colour...? Yes I know most 'books' are black and white but some include colour pictures and you lose that on a b/w device. Also the battery life is good but is charging a normal tablet every 10 hours of reading such an issue. The iPad mini or Nexus 7 are about twice the price but both do so much more."

I suspect that quite a few people have managed to get the hang of books without pictures.

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JDX
Gold badge

I find battery makes a difference. Sure, my iPad is wonderful compared to a laptop - I can watch Netflix on it for ages - but you still have to keep an eye on the battery and remember to charge it.

When you're talking weeks between charges, I find it changes the way you treat the device... you leave it in your bag rather than thinking to take it out and recharge, etc.

Mine lives by the bath.

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Anonymous Coward

I read my books on an iPad Mini now and the scrolling feature (rather than page turns) seems much better (to me at least) but guess it would not work on an e-ink reader with it's slow page updates. The benefit of an iPad (or Android) if you have more choice as I have iBooks and the Kindle reader (actually prefer iBooks).

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Anonymous Coward

you can’t borrow more than one book a month

wow, this is, like, a must-have bargain, get 12 FREE books to borrow, for ONLY £50. See terms and conditions for details, rotfl.

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