Six years ago the very thought of reading a book on a electronic device was something I cringed at. This reaction was not due to a dislike of technology, but because the technology had not matured to a point where the experience even came close to reading a real book. LCD screens, although having improved, did not work at all outdoors, caused eyestrain, and required much more power than was convenient.
I can’t remember when this happened, but I remember when a technology company made the announcement that they had developed electronic paper that they felt would be viable in a reader device. The idea of a reader device working just as well outside and inside, having no backlight and thus causing no eyestrain, and requiring power only when the paper needed to be updated (i.e. turn the page) – all of this intrigued me. However, I made the assumption that such technology would not be available to consumers for 10-15 years.
Then came the first-generation Kindle. Guess I was wrong on the timeline. Everything about it sounded (to me) like a viable platform. However, content for the Kindle became my next issue. It seemed like the Kindle’s content was heavily weighted toward the crowd most interested in the latest New York Times Best Sellers. As I looked through the content that most interested me (mostly technical/reference), almost nothing was available via Kindle. So, I promptly disregarded the Kindle release.
Then came the second-generation Kindle. Definitely an improvement over the first generation device. By this time some of the content I was interested in was starting to become available, but not enough to justify buying the device. At this point I noticed that the Kindle could have other content converted, as long as you emailed it to a special Kindle email address. However, I found out that this butchered most technical content. So, once again, I promptly disregarded the Kindle release.
A few months later Amazon announced the Kindle DX. At first glance the biggest distinction I could make is that it was a bigger screen. Nice, but what really caught my attention was this: “native PDF support”. Excellent! There was way more content that I was interested in available in PDF format. On top of that, I could produce documents in PDF format and use it for giving presentations.
I ordered and received the Kindle DX three weeks ago – it’s been a game changer. I’ve already finished two books on the Kindle and I’m working on my third. I’ve been using it for many other purposes as well, one of which is giving a talk off of it. The PDF support has been phenomenal, and it is THE reason I’ve enjoyed owning the Kindle. I’ve got way more content on my Kindle than I could probably consume in two years, but that’s okay. It allows me to carry things along as reference material, and it lets me take advantage of those 5-10 minute gaps between activities to get some reading in. I’ve even purchased some Kindle content directly from Amazon, which is almost TOO easy to do.
I’m hoping they continue to add support for the PDF format (e.g. searching across multiple PDFs, dictionary lookup of words while reading a PDF). That being said, I strongly recommend the DX, even if you are not interested in technical content. The PDF support alone makes this a great platform!