Tuesday, December 16, 2008

C.S. Lewis on Kindle E-Book

My book Conversations with C.S. Lewis is now available in digital form as an Amazon Kindle e-book ($9.99).

Do any of my blog readers own a Kindle? If so, what do you think of it? What about the concept of electronic books in general? I can certainly see some benefits, especially when it comes to reference books.


david said...

Here are some quick thoughts:

a) The search features are very useful. I can query my entire Kindle collection for any given word or phrase. When connected to the Whispernet (which comes free of charge with the unit) you can search the internet as well - making use of cell phone towers much like smart phones.

b) Every word on the page can be looked up in the dictionary with a single click. If you encounter a new word, you can also search your other books to see the word used in other contexts (very useful for vocabulary development).

c) I also like converting electronic documents for my Kindle - lengthy blog posts and articles, etc. Last I checked Kindle supports converting HTML, Word, and PDF files. Upon purchasing a unit, you are assigned a Kindle email account which you can send your files as attachments to. The attachment will be converted to the proper format automatically and delivered via the Whispernet connection to your Kindle.

d) Most footnotes are made into hyperlinks, so even books with endnotes are a bit easier to reference while reading. You simply click the line that contains the footnote, and select the appropriate one you wish to view. The table of contents is fully hyperlinked as well.

e) One downside is black and white only, which for most books is not even an issue.

f) There is also limited ability to "thumb through" a Kindle book when you want to find something in a real book. Pretty much you can go page-by-page or jump forward by some larger increment. Sometimes I just want to feel my way to the section I'm looking for, but the searching capability makes up for that.

g) If you travel much you will definitely benefit. Before Kindle, I would often have 10 lbs of books in my carry-on bag!

h) Of course highlighting and notes are available, but honestly it is not the same as writing your own notes in the margin. The bookmark features are done quite well I think.

i) All Kindle content is backed up on the Amazon server, and should you ever lose the unit you can retrieve your purchases again.

Doug Geivett is quite a Kindle aficionado, and has several articles on the Kindle. As a fellow philosopher you may enjoy reading his thoughts:

Robert Velarde said...

Thanks, David -- some helpful insights. I've been reading e-books for years in one form or another (yes, I even own a couple of Apple Newtons). I'll check out Doug Geivett's site. I wouldn't mind having a Kindle just to try it out, but I don't ever see myself giving up my print library.