In Financial Express, Press

It’s been over three months that I’ve been living with an Amazon Kindle. For those of you contemplating investing in an Amazon Kindle, this review would come in mighty handy.

Amazon was one who practically created a market for eBook readers when they launched Kindle, very successfully way back in 2007. The first model was clunky but the technology was path breaking. The success of Kindle spawned an entire generation of rival products. In keeping with competition, the Kindle2 is a far improved product.

The biggest advantage for ebooks like Kindle is that they use the E-Ink technology that closely mimics the printed paper. You are almost tempted to touch the screen and feel the roughness of the paper!

Kindle and other eBooks which use E-Ink technology greatly scores over iPad or reading from laptops. That’s because iPad and netbooks use LCD screens which need to be lighted from behind. Kindle’s E-Ink technology does not need lighting and works on reflected light from the surroundings. This automatically means that Kindle uses much lesser power and consequently its battery life lasts for weeks.

Another advantage is that you can read Kindle even while sitting under bright sunshine. Try doing that with an iPad or a netbook and you’ll only be seeing a glaring screen. However, the Kindle loses out as the sun goes down. Since Kindle does not have backlighting, you will have to switch on your light and read it just the same way you would read a normal book.

Another huge advantage that the Kindle has is the wide range of books to choose from. That’s where the sheer might of the world’s biggest book store comes into play. It’s the reading content that becomes important. Even though Kindle may lack in coolness and features like the touch features of its competitors, it beats the living daylight off its competitors when it comes to book titles.

TR Santhanakrishnan, CEO of TaurusQuest, who has been using Kindle for over six months, draws an analogy with the Blackberry. He says, “Blackberry did not have touch screen for a long while and yet it was significantly better for a business user than iPhone.”

The Kindle allows you to highlight sections of a book and take notes, just like the same way we would like to jot down on a real book. Using technology to mimic real world actions is what makes the tool endearing to use. It is also intelligent enough to remember the page where you last left reading. When you switch on the Kindle much later, it opens up that exact page for you to restart reading.

So, why buy a Kindle or for that matter any eBook reader? The biggest reason is the portability. You can load hundreds of books and carry them on a single device. No need to lug big books. It makes perfect sense to buy one if you are a regular reader.

If Amazon was smart, they would vastly discount the hardware. Even though, Kindle is the highest selling unit on, they actually earn far more money in terms of book sales…which is really where they make a fortune. So, follow what Kodak did a decade ago. They sold their click cameras at dirt cheap rates and made money on film rolls.

In the month of March, there have been reports that Barnes and Noble’s new ebook reader, the Nook, had been outselling the Amazon Kindle in the US. With the advent of iPad and its stupendous success (it has already sold 10 lakh units in US alone), it has further eaten into Kindle’s market share. Unfortunately, neither the Nook nor the iPad is available in India yet. So, if you are in the market to buy a good ebook reader, Amazon Kindle is a safe option.