Late last year, I decided to buy a Kindle . Quite a lot of people in Latvia have already managed to do it, others are still waiting and thinking about whether the investment will be worth it. In this article, I will explain the reasons why I finally decided to buy it myself.

I read a lot. In fact, most of your work day. And by reading, I don’t mean just reading books, but eyeing the monitor, keeping track of letters and lines. Of course, I also have a lot of “articles” – letters, lines and reruns of articles I have written. The programming code is especially difficult to understand, because there are all the big letters , different special symbols, between which there must be the correct spaces. In short, I read a lot.

So one day I realized that I felt tired of looking at the LCD screen. Whether it’s a laptop, iPad, or iPhone. I have “sat down”. I simply can no longer and do not want to read on the screen materials such as technical literature.

I know I’ve said bad words about the Kindle before. Both here on the blog more than 3 years ago, and recently on twitter . Then suddenly something happened. I would really like to reiterate what the only and real advantage of the Kindle is; it is – electronic ink .

I thought before that I would need another device for reading only – I can read on anything I have at home, and any device is already doing it and 100x more. This is true, but the Kindle is not intended to replace all of its multifunction devices (computer, tablet, smartphone). This realization came to me very late. But came.

I live with the Kindle for about two weeks. So far, the reading experience has been great – I feel much less eye strain and I can read much larger volumes. I’ve read two medium-thick books that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. This is the most important thing.

I don’t particularly appreciate other things like button size, layout, speaker quality, etc. It doesn’t matter to me, I don’t walk around with this unit 24/7 to squeak about design flaws. I will write a few observations a little below, but even if what is written does not seem to be very positive, it must be understood that all this is insignificant, because the most important thing is reading. And it’s great.

Pag, why not printed books?
Nothing is unambiguous. I believe that there are books that are designed to be perceived visually (drawing, web design, some books about advertising) – they will be better to buy as physical, printed books, because the experience will be perceived on a visual and sensory level. I have a couple of such books and that’s ok , I don’t crave digital.

On the other hand, there are books that are focused only on content. Then it doesn’t matter how the content is delivered “to the brain”. I choose the digital format because it has a few advantages, such as the ability to search for text throughout the book, postpone, delete, and add notes.

Printed books take up a lot of space, they are not practical to move (take on a trip), whereas the Kindle weighs 250 grams and is 0.8cm thick. The Kindle allows you to store 3GB of e-book content, which should be enough for a long time. But maybe it all has something to do with childhood’s disgust for the obligatory literature, and therefore also for thick books. I do not know..

Design, irons and feelings
At first glance, this e-reader seems to be small, it seemed too small to me at first. Get used to the form factor a little later. The more I look at it, and the more I use it, the more I feel the size and dimensions are perfect. The reader is suitable for holding in one hand, it is easy to take with you on a trip.

As I mentioned before, my only and true argument for buying a Kindle is e-ink. You can read about its operating principles even on wikipedia . One major benefit of this technology is that no electricity is consumed during reading. This only happens when the page is “flipped”, as well as when using a WiFi connection, such as when downloading a new book. Usage time will vary depending on the intensity, but on average you can safely do two to four weeks without charging the machine.

Content and Availability The
Amazon Store has around a million books available on the Kindle e-reader. In terms of accessibility, the biggest problem is with books that are not in English (Latvian, etc.). You can find self-scanned books on the Internet. They can be easily converted to a format that the Kindle understands, but be aware that formatting and other things may be lost (such as the table of contents, “clickable” references to another page of the book, and the like).

There are free books, there are books that are relatively inexpensive ($ 5-$ 10), several are priced from $ 30-$ 40. The biggest mystique for me so far is the price of electronic versions of books, which is often higher than the price of printed books.

Here is one example. A book on improving MySQL performance is currently available for $ 29.99. The same electronic version of the book (Kindle) costs $ 33.34.

This approach is completely incomprehensible and unmotivating.

More in terms of prices. I recommend that all supporters of legal content then go to the book publisher’s website and see if it is not possible to download the book at a lower price. As you can see, in my particular case, the Kindle version of the book from O’REILLY (publisher) costs $ 27.99. In contrast, the printed version at the publisher costs $ 49.99, which is $ 20 more expensive than the Amazon store!

As I am saying, the pricing policy is unclear. Summary – you need to look for a book in different stores, the prices are worth comparing. It should start with the publisher.

Formats and workflows
By default, the Kindle understands a few standardized formats, such as mobipocket (mobi), pdf, txt, tpz, as well as its own DRM- protected azw format. If you use the Amazon Store, you might as well forget about formats. Formats are needed to know what content to copy to the e-reader in case the official store is not used.

There are two ways to insert a book into the reader – either by connecting your Kindle via USB to your computer, or by using Amazon’s free service for downloading books wirelessly. The buyer is given a virtual e-mail address ( to which electronic documents can be sent. This account is linked to the Kindle device, after processing / checking the sent document, it is delivered to the device if it is on and connected to the Internet, which is possible thanks to the built-in Wifi adapter.

As part of this free service, Amazon also offers to convert uploaded files. Currently it is possible to convert pdf, doc, html, as well as a couple of image formats. Detailed description in the explanatory section .

If the book is available on your computer in another format, you can convert it to a format that your Kindle understands. I myself use a tool like caliber (open source), which can convert formats and all sorts of other tricks, including creating a Kindle understandable format from RSS feeds on websites and sending it as an electronic document directly to Kindle (via Amazon service).

In short, I convert content from non-standard formats to MOBI format, send the converted file to my @kindle mailbox and wait for it to appear in the e-reader.

I will just add that there is a problem with PDFs. They are suitable for higher resolution devices, so converting them to a Kindle-understandable format (mobi) may result in loss of formatting, distorted pictures, and other artifacts.

Oh, and I’ll add that Amazon’s standard DRM format (awz) isn’t that drastic, as Kindle books can already be read on all popular devices, including desktop PCs (Windows, Mac), mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7). A web version will also be launched soon , allowing Amazon customers to read books from any device with a semi-modern web browser. In this case, DRM restricts the copying of files rather than their use. But DRM is DRM. Amazon, by the way, allows publishers not to introduce DRM protection in books (this is not a mandatory requirement when selling books), so that this comes from publishers rather than from Amazon.

Nice things, but not as buying arguments
These are definitely not the things I bought a Kindle for, but maybe it’s worth knowing that the device knows a few more things. For example, play music. This is done by copying mp3 files and inserting diapers into the audio output, or an analog standard device. The Kindle even comes with small speakers that might sound like a parody of listening to music. However, these speakers are not all for music, but are primarily intended for text-to-speech, which is actually implemented at a fairly good level.

There is also a web browser on the Kindle. An experimental tool that is not designed for regular internet browsing because it is very inconvenient and slow, but can sometimes be useful if your phone runs out of battery or if your phone is out of hand.

Price and Purchase after 01.01.2011
As taxes have been raised since January 1 (jeeej unity!), Which I also wrote about in a blog before , many might be interested in what is with taxes and how customs clearance takes place.

Then so be it. First of all, the Kindle is shipped from the United States. Even if you go through an English store, you will be sent to the US page at the time of purchase. This means that the tax applies and must be paid.

The six-inch Kindle with WiFi is priced at $ 139. Delivery to Latvia costs $ 20.98. VAT is charged on the purchase of the product, the cost item is under the name ” Import Fees Deposit ” and amounts to $ 33.60. So, all together at checkout it costs $ 193.58.

It seems that the supply company can also charge VAT to the seller, which in this case is quite certain that this is the case, as I did not have to pay anything more at customs clearance. Of course, you can’t do without a little chakra, but at least it wasn’t as crazy as last time (you can read about it here ).

So, the product is delivered by a private, international courier, in my case UPS. In order for the company to declare the shipment received, I have to scan and print (or copy) a passport or driver’s license. The following text must be written on the printed passport:

I authorize SIA “EKL / LS” (authorized representative of UPS services) to provide direct representation and please declare the shipment with the product code with the highest rate.

Then scan the paper again and send it by e-mail (or fax). It’s not too big a chakra if you have everything you need at hand. In my case, I got a call from UPS, told me to send only a scanned document. I did it. When I was driving home from work, another person called me and said that I would have to do it again, but I also had to write the text on top of it. On the evening of that working day, I could no longer do it, so both lost time and double chakra the next day, doing it all again.

If I counted the days correctly, then the Kindle arrived at the Latvian customs within 3 days after dispatch. From customs to my hands – another 3 days. I don’t know like others, but I still feel like butter. although thank you to the great power that you didn’t have to go to the airport and offices yet.

In summary,
Amazon has released a great product. In my opinion, it could also be twice as ugly, I value its basic function and e-ink screen the most. This product is extremely successful. This is also confirmed by online reviews, as well as, for example, the fact that I ordered a Kindle in the beginning of December, but it came after more than a month. Apparently, many had this gift this Christmas.