back to article 10 years of the Kindle and the curious incident of a dog in the day-time

A little worse for wear after the first Christmas party of the season, I stagger up the driveway to be met at my own front door by... a Kindle. The Kindle is tapping one foot while gauging the weight of a rolling pin in its hands. It is furious. It demands: "And what time do you call this?" That throws me. My dad used to ask …

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  1. Craig McGill 1

    One good reason for the Kindle...

    I'm trying to nag the kids to spend less time on tablets and phones but it looks a bit hypocritical if I'm on mine, so I've gone back to the Kindle to show that I'm reading and not doing anything else.

    I keep meaning to pick up Jerusalem, but I may need to go to the gym first before getting that bad boy (and finish Artemis and the new Brookmyre)...

    The Kindle has been a cracking device though - moreso for what it brought to the market than the hardware - but the price on the books has been getting ramped up a bit of late. I hope this reflects authors getting more royalties...

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: One good reason for the Kindle...

      The Kindle has a web browser .....

      1. David Shaw

        Re: One good reason for the Kindle...

        The Kindle has a web browser ..... the original 3G kindle's (experimental) web-browser even worked via whisper-net (sim-free UMTS) behind/thru the great firewall of China

        good call on the Gutenberg txt repository too, I d/l every book in every language on that site (before I was banned) to use for part of my password-finding dictionary

        modern kindle paperwhite works really well on a beach , tho' not tried it yet on a Chinese beach

    2. VinceH Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: One good reason for the Kindle...

      "The Kindle has been a cracking device though - moreso for what it brought to the market than the hardware - but the price on the books has been getting ramped up a bit of late. I hope this reflects authors getting more royalties..."

      Upvoted for that last paragraph in general, and that final sentence in particular.

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: One good reason for the Kindle...

      Still nothing to replace my Kindle DX with....

    4. mr-slappy

      Re: One good reason for the Kindle...

      No, it doesn't. I share royalties of about 10% of the cover price with my co-author, irrespective of the format. Most (half?) of the royalties for a physical book go to the bookshop, for Kindle presumably that's Amazon.

  2. muddysteve

    I really like my Kindle

    It hasn't replaced books for me - I still read real books in bed, but the Kindle is great for holidays. Long battery life, plus the screen is much less tiring to read than a phone or tablet.

    I can also have the Kindle app on the phone for journeys, and it stays synced with my actual Kindle.

  3. frank ly Silver badge

    "Weirdly, the dog's owner didn't respond; ..."

    But did the dog let you know that it understood your clumsiness and that you were forgiven? (They can do that.)

  4. Mage Silver badge
    Boffin

    Kindle, Kobo etc

    The cheap kindle is only 6" and 167 dpi.

    Better Kindles and Kobos are 270 to 300 dpi.

    Font support is limited. Only serif, sans and mono can be reliably used on all platforms. Stupidly the early Kindles couldn't (and still can't) do non-Latin fonts

    Yes forget about images.

    Ironically the internal content of ePub and mobi/AZW is basically HTML and "responsive". But eBook GUIs and the management on device are garbage, like some sort of DOS program. Internally all eBook readers use either Android or Linux, so the 10 year ago lack of support for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Cyrillic, Hebrew and Arabic was inexcusable.

    Basically Amazon ported the Mobi reader and since has hardly more than updated DRM and spyware. It's sad how crap the Kobo and Amazon software is.

    Anyone with an eReader, or reading eBooks on a phone or Tablet App needs Calibre (free). Lets me read Amazon Kindle books on my Kobo, my old Kindle DXG is too heavy and awkward for annotation.

    The Kobo Aura H2O is better than Kindle Touch for annotation via Calibre.

    It's a pity Amazon never did audio support properly and then ditched 3.5mm jack.

    It's a pity Amazon is ripping off readers, authors & publishers with the subscription service / Prime / KDP Select.

    It's a pity Amazon now sells eBooks that don't work on ANY eReader, only on an App.

    It's a pity Amazon now have a format that if you download direct to eReader (3G or WiFi) you can only ever use their so called Cloud to transfer if ereader lost/broken and can't personally backup. Always choose download via PC, transfer via USB and keep WiFi/3G off on any eReader from any maker. They want to spy on your reading habits.

    A broken dream, due to greed and carelessness.

    1. Nattrash
      Go

      Re: Kindle, Kobo etc

      @ Mage:

      You're absolutely right (on many things actually, but particularly) on turning off wifi/ continuous air plane mode. Not so much on the tin foil hat issues perhaps (for me), but more on the general performance of the thing.

      When my partner decided to get one, the Kobo (Touch, Fleabay for ~ £15) came loaded with the lastest version of the OS software, yes, presenting the UI in her native language, but also with LOADS of crap, showing her what she "missed out on". And (not) surprisingly, these ads refreshed frequently, slowing the thing down even more. Overcoming her anxiety, I convinced her to factory reset it and return to the original Kobo base OS. Which is brilliant! And 10.000.000 times better than the later, higher version crap! No ads! Works with Calibre! Fast! Responsive! Less power draining! More reading time! And you can activate/ use/ read books (oh dear!) without the obligatory "Not registered? Create a free account to start using your device"! (Catching breath after so much marketing excitement!)

      So yes, I agree wholeheartedly. Whatever you do, don't turn the wifi on, and look into whether a factory reset gives you "a better reading experience"...

      PS - Reading up on it, there are lots of folks out there who do very interesting things with their (old) eReaders (e.g. hackaday.com, koreader on github). Can even remember finding a guy who used it as his dash/ instrument panel for his ultralight! An application where crappy images can really help (help. Help! HELP!!!)

  5. Schultz
    Facepalm

    I really liked my Kindle ...

    but exactly two years after purchase, it decided that the warranty period was over and refused to move beyond the screensaver. I loved the battery life, beat my Samsung phone by months. But the life span of the Samsung beat the Kindle by years.

    An outdated phone and a dead Kindle, which one to replace?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: I really liked my Kindle ...

      New ones do that. The original was bombproof. I still have a Kindle mark 1 (the one with the keyboard) and it still works and the battery still lasts for a couple of weeks.

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: I really liked my Kindle ...

        My first was the Kindle Keyboard, which I liked very much. It was very thin and light. A recharge lasted 6 weeks or so. The only problem was that it stopped working one week after the 12-month warranty expired. All that Amazon could offer me was a replacement at a small discount. I declined, which was just as well since just a few weeks later they launched a new improved Kindle series costing £20 less than the discounted replacement they’d offered me.

  6. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    e-ink is the benefit of a kindle

    e-ink is the Major benefit of a kindle over tablets. It makes reading for long times so much better!

    But god are you right about pictures being crap. I've given up reading Fantasy series' or anything that requires you to occasionally look at a map to see what they're talking about (travel guides are a prime example). Anytime you need to jump around in a book, you can pretty much kiss your enjoyment goodbye, as you'll be wasting Long minutes trying to find the right page/sector/Quadrant/parsec where the map is located, and then many more trying to get back to where you were.

    Still cant complain for having books when travelling, being able to pack a couple of dozen different books for 300g is not too shabby! :)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "[...] the ultra-low resolution and maximum JPEG compression of pictures in e-books renders illustrations like this illegible."

    The same happened with a real book. There was an out of copyright PDF version online - but it crawled and jumped erratically when scrolling. So I ordered a printed copy - which was a relatively expensive "print on demand".

    The book's contents were a catalogue of sculptures published in a 19th century architectural magazine. Just about every page was a black and white picture with a short title.

    Online the pictures were of an adequate resolution. In the printed version they were high contrast with no grey gradation. They were all just unrecognisable black and white smudges. The supplier couldn't see any problem.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "In the printed version they were high contrast with no grey gradation."

      Not a surprise. Printing images properly requires a proper printing process, inks and paper - and the original files need to have the proper information, or they have to be added during the printing process. I'm not sure many "print on demand" service will go through a proper process for a single print, but for a very high price, I'm afraid.

      Even "expensive" edition may not get it right - I bought the catalogue of an exhibition of Manet's painting a few months ago, and I was totally disappointed by many images - I wowed to inspect better any of them I'll buy in the future.

      But I have also many books about photographers' work that are printed excellently, in B/W or color.

    2. John Lilburne Silver badge

      Most digitized books, especially those by Google, are atrocious when it comes to illustrations. They are indeed grey/black smudges lacking the detail of the originals. Mind you some of the hardcopy reprints of out-of-copyright books are equally atrocious. I recall a 'complete' Sherlock Holmes book where the illustrations were scanned with an over-the-top contrast. Comparing those illustrations with those in the original Strand Magazine was a revelation as to just how butchered some of these things can be.

      That said I dislike e-books intensely they do not give me the same tactile feel. I can't quickly scan back through the pages to relocate something. Having read a book I can recall where in the book some information was, and whether it was on the right or left hand page or not. I cannot do that with an e-book. I mostly read non-fiction and like to jump about within the volume, again that is not convenient with e-readers.

      So although we have a kindle it is mostly unused.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        That said I dislike e-books intensely they do not give me the same tactile feel. I can't quickly scan back through the pages to relocate something. Having read a book I can recall where in the book some information was, and whether it was on the right or left hand page or not. I cannot do that with an e-book. I mostly read non-fiction and like to jump about within the volume, again that is not convenient with e-readers.

        ears ago, before e-readers and tablets really caught on, I had suggested an electronic/hardcopy hybrid. It was in the early days of the "e-ink" tech, and I suggested a 500-sheet paperback sized "blank" book, which you would insert a SD card into which contained the contents of the book. It would energize the e-ink to create a simulation of a paperback book which you could flip back-and-forth in, and get the tactile sensation of a physical book. Pretty much impossible to do even now.

  8. M.Zaccone

    Horses for courses

    I love my paperwhite, especially for trashy science fiction. Books have their place still, but it's great to be able to take a wide selection of books with me for less weight than my tattered copy of H2G2.

  9. Alan Sharkey

    I like my Kindle. I only read sci-fi with no pictures and for that, it's great. It's easier to read for long periods than my phone (the out of date OnePlus 5 !)

    I think we must agree to disagree.

    Alan

  10. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Cost

    Actually, these days many of the books I want for my Amazon device ( A Fire, not a Kindle anymore) seem to be pretty expensive too. Sometimes almost as much as the printed and delivered book, sometimes even costing more. Other times the Kindle edition does seem to be dirt cheap. So, Guards Guards by Sir Terry comes up as £7 print delivered and £5 Kindle. For a couple of quid I'd choose printed unless I wanted it now or/and portable.

    More to the point; Lucy Worsely's book on Jane Austen is actually £13 for Kindle,but just a tenner for the printed version - whereas Jane Austen's actual novels are a fiver printed and £0 for the Kindle download. Sort of makes me a bit mistrustful of Amazon.

    1. Seajay#

      Re: Cost

      That's because you pay VAT on ebooks but not on printed ones.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Cost

        Mildly irrelevant, the cost difference varies by amounts not in line with VAT. And Kindle ebooks don't have the print and delivery costs. Also 20% of significantly less cost price wouldn't bridge these gaps.

        1. Seajay#

          Re: Cost

          I'm not sure it's irrelevant, but yes it's not the whole story.

          I suspect that part of the higher cost of ebooks now is that they are under tighter control. You can't resell second hand ones, you can't take them out of the library both of those things limit the price of paper books but not ebooks. Plus it's just plain old market forces; ebooks are more convenient, people will pay higher prices for them, if people will pay more, copyright owners will charge more.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    E-books

    still full of the errors that are subsequently corrected in the print version.

    still full of the errors that are never corrected.

    There fixed it for you.

    As a published author with two of my books available on Kindle, I did the good deed and corrected the errors when they were reported to me. I reported errors in other works by other authors who could not care less about the quality of their work. Even glaring factual errors in a non fiction book go uncorrected. One replied to me "Well, for $1.99 what do you expect, Shakespare?" (Yes, that was how it was spelt).

    I am probably going to stop publishing new works on Kindle next year. The returns are pitiful. I'm frankly getting better results from lulu.com.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: E-books

      Shakespare

      well to be fair, the man himself appeared to use many spellings (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spelling_of_Shakespeare%27s_name)

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Shakespare

      That's in case the original Shakespeare keels over.

  12. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Mines a Sovos

    Solid, moderately ugly, basic. Fairly good battery, good recharge time, even after 6/7 years.

    If it'd landed on the poor doggie, it'd be a vets trip.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Mines a Sovos

      Might be better off trying a computer repair shop?

    2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      Re: Mines a Sovos

      "If it'd landed on the poor doggie, it'd be a vets trip."

      Nah. Labradors have very solid skulls.

      You know about it when one comes into contact with your shins, at speed.

  13. Richard Parkin

    Dog was puzzled you apologised not dazed

    Dogs have extraordinarily tough skulls and I’ve often cracked my various dogs on the head with a stick or similar (accidentally), apologised only to find they had not noticed.

  14. Artaxerxes

    Annoyingly the Kindle Keyboard (original) is far superior to the later ones, Amazon seems to have just gone for touch sensitive display just because when it was far more intuitive to just hit the toggle at the side of the thing to change pages.

    Ebook pricing is also still all over the place sadly.

    I like e-books and I like my Kindle though, it saves so much space and its lighter and easier than carrying a book a lot of the time.

  15. macjules Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Glad I am not the only one

    Terry Pratchett once wrote that the shortest unit of time was the New York Second: the interval between the traffic light turning off the red light and the cab driver behind you hitting his horn.

    I think that this has now been surpassed by the Christmas Second. It is where retailing ends of November 5th fireworks, costumes and other mindless tat (which bear no resemblance to poor old Fawkes and Gatesby's plot), and Christmas shopping begins, "Only xx days to Christmas, get shopping!" scream every shop window, TV commercials suddenly change to endless bloody Chanel #5 ads, various retail giants try to outdo each other with vomit-inducing "caring" ads and so on.

    This year I am being shoe-horned into "everyone has Alexa, so we don't need keys to get in after school" (not happening while I am alive), "iPhone 8 or X are so cool, everyone has one" (no they don't - your iPhone 5c is all you need for WhatsApp etc) and this is only November.

    Icon because, yes I want to retire to my bunker: wake me up on 26th December.

    1. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Glad I am not the only one

      "Icon because, yes I want to retire to my bunker: wake me up on 26th December."

      Sadly, the week after has become just as vile, "The stuff you didn't get that you were whining about before christmas" sales.

      I'd shoot for January 12th.

      1. MrT

        Re: I'd shoot for January 12th...

        Ahh, mid-January... adverts for summer holidays in full swing, shops stocking up on Easter eggs, and every magazine picked from a newsagent shelf shedding offers to start saving a fiver a week for hampers for Christmas 2018 all across the shop floor...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Glad I am not the only one

        I think "Do Like the Bears Do" by The Shrinks may be up your street:

        http://theshrinks.com/lyricsMoreDamned1.html

    2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      Re: Glad I am not the only one

      "Terry Pratchett once wrote that the shortest unit of time was the New York Second: the interval between the traffic light turning off the red light and the cab driver behind you hitting his horn."

      The Parisian version of that is the entire queue behind you is watching for the light changing and the entire queue behind you hitting their horns.

      They don't muck around with first driver setting off, then second driver setting off, either. They all set off in unison. Failure to comply with this rule means you get a gentle (or not so gentle) nudge from the car behind.

      1. Peb

        Re: Glad I am not the only one

        “the entire queue behind you is watching for the light changing ” I wish to god they did this here (uk) to counteract the number of times I’m sat in a queue watching a green light and shouting ‘just what colour do you want it to be! Move!

        1. peter_dtm

          Re: Glad I am not the only one

          Like we used to do in London in the 70s ? It took a while to learn not to do that in Manchester (may have been something to do with the endless chucking down of rain affecting brain cells and visibility)

          I really hate those who engage brain only after the lights have changed; then their brain has to engage a forward gear; release handbrake; count to 10 in ancient Babylonian before finally moving off at 0.1 inch per sec squared.

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Glad I am not the only one

        Which I'd actually prefer to the English version, which seems to be to wait until the car ahead is actually moving before even releasing the hand brake of your own car.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Glad I am not the only one

        @Wensleydale Cheese

        I live part of the year in the Paris area and the other part of the year in a large Turkish city. Compared to their local Turkish counterparts I fınd Parisian drivers to be rather mild mannered actually.

    3. strum Silver badge

      Re: Glad I am not the only one

      > the shortest unit of time was the New York Second

      That was a Johnny Carson gag from the 1960s (and probably not original, even then).

  16. Known Hero
    Happy

    YAY

    2CV Reference !!!

    1. DanceMan
      Facepalm

      Re: YAY

      "viewed through the windscreen of a Citroën 2CV while driving down a motorway on a rainy night"

      I'll see your 2CV and raise you a Porsche 944 parked outside in rainy Vancouver. For the first 10 blocks after starting off you have to squeegee the inside of the windscreen regularly until things heat up and clear. I think there's as much moisture inside as outside.

  17. David Nash Silver badge

    It would be very handy if Amazon provided a copy of the Kindle version when you bought a proper book, in a similar way to their "AutoRip" where they provide MP3 versions of CDs you buy.

    1. Alan Sharkey

      I did ask about that when they first started Kindle books up as I have quite a collection of real books too, purchesed from Amazon when they were a bookstore. Needless to say, the answer was a resounding "NO"!

    2. Mage Silver badge

      if Amazon provided a copy of the Kindle version when you bought a proper book,

      It's up to the publishers, not actually Amazon unless it's their copyright or publishing rights title.

      I provide DRM-free copy (any format) of eBook if people buy paper version. No mechanism on Amazon or CreateSpace or Barnes & Noble, so folks have to use contact form and some sort of proof of purchase.

      http://www.corvidspress.com/contact-us/

      I'll be shipping audio versions soon. But Audible only lets you stream, so I'll offer CD, Cassette or download on Corvids Press with included eBook.

      Most stupid things are because of actual publishers. Like DRM, which is just as evil as copyright violation, aka "Piracy". Piracy isn't theft, like nicking a physical book, CD or DVD. It's really worse if you make it available to others.

      1. J. Cook Bronze badge

        Re: if Amazon provided a copy of the Kindle version when you bought a proper book,

        Yep; the publishers also set the pricing, which is why the electronic version of the book costs the same as the print version, even though the actual manufacturing cost of the electronic version is fraction of a single percent of the print version's price. (I'll not get into the royalties- that way madness lies.)

        1. Phil Endecott Silver badge

          Re: if Amazon provided a copy of the Kindle version when you bought a proper book,

          > the actual manufacturing cost of the electronic version is fraction of a

          > single percent of the print version's price

          The 20% VAT largely makes up for that, though.

          (This should change eventually.)

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: if Amazon provided a copy of the Kindle version when you bought a proper book,

          That's an interesting point; also perhaps explains the strange pricing ratios I moaned about earlier, with some ebooks costing close to, or greater than, printed books. maybe some publishers just don't want to sell ebooks instead of paper ones.

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