Monday, May 30, 2011

Military Books in Digital Format - Color Me Underwhelmed ...

Got an Amazon Kindle and found the whole bruhaha about digital books a gross exaggeration ...

Click for an expanded view.

First off, the screen size of the Kindle is 9 x 12.3 cm.  I needed to put that out because before buying it I had a terrible time finding the dimensions of the screen in the web. Drove me literally nuts to calculate this before purchase. There! I feel better already!

After 2 months of owning this gadget, I find it just convenient.  This will not be the gadget to hold my entire library because: (i) obviously not all books are available for the Kindle and (ii) even if someday all books would be available for the Kindle ... What are the chances that Kindle 10 will read the books I bought for my Kindle 3 without some conversion, upgrading or re-buying?

The Kindle 3 is an ergonomical masterpiece and a pleasure to use for page to page reading. You can hold it in one hand and flip through pages without having to put down the beer in your other hand. Navigation through a particular book requires some button pushing (there goes the beer to the table) but is not that bad.
The Kindle is a white and black gadget. The photos from this Osprey book look so-so in the Kindle. Click the image for a better view.
The e-ink thing that the Kindle uses is really impressive. Regular text appears crisp in the screen, sometimes even better than paper printed books. I had a hard time taking pictures of my Kindle, so some blurring will be seen in the posted images. Fear not, in the real thing, the text is really crisp.

The Kindle 3 can hold a lot of books and it's great not having to decide which book I'm going to take in my next business trip.

Now for a guy like me who is not into James Patterson, Jodi Picoult or the NYT best seller du-jour, the future marital troubles between the military history/sciences genre and the Kindle can be seen from a mile. Maps look atrocious in the Kindle: small, out of focus ... Unreadable. Even maps that span in a whole page in the printed version of the book. There is no evident way to zoom-in into images, photos or maps.

This map is as good as useless. Click the image for a better view.
In my opinion the Kindle is like music in MP3 format: just convenient but not where I want all my stuff permanently stored. The music I really care for I have it in CDs ...

Stay tuned for an entry about game manuals in the Kindle.



ww2fan said...

No, Kindle is no good for game manuals. Your best bet? An IPAD and the KINDLE APP. IPAD is full color, can do PDF's full size where a Kindle has to scroll, and an IPAD uses the IBOOKS store AND Kindle store so purchases will transfer over. Trust me I know EXACTLY what you are wanting to use the Kindle for. You thought you would prop it up, read game manuals as you did the tutorial etc etc.

Been there, done that. Doesnt work. Sold my Kindle, got a 1st gen IPAD for cheap on EBAY and never looked back

JBA said...


-first sorry for my english may had some errors but i'm not a native speaker, so:

-Well one of my hobbies is read about history and is a big pleasure buy a good edition book. But some books for economy sake is better have it in this device.

-Another good thing is the size and weight, the downside is the zoom problems in some documents, but generally can be solved changing the position of the screen.

-Is really good with traditional books and some pdfs, very handly but can't replace the old good edition book, just it can't. I see this device like a complement, is the mortar of the books, handly, like weight, can provide a good service but some task can't handle it.

Javier B.

Seydlitz said...

Hi. Iam with ww2fan. I also use a 1stGen IPAD with Kindle App. Its great. Much better then Kindle device.

Anonymous said...

I have a Kindle and really like it but it has some issues and one of these issues will be across all e-readers....

1. Maps. Yes, you can hardly even look at a map on a Kindle. I have Beevor's book on Normandy and I can't make heads or tails of the maps.
2. The price of Kindle books. I bought a Kindle because at the time, you rarely saw a single book over $9.99. That was a good price point. Sometimes you saw books that were a 2-3 books series (Lord of the Rings and such) that were more.

Recently, with the forcing of Amazon to price at what the publishers want, you never see a recently published book (within the last year, just to paperback) at less than 11.99 or 12.99. I have seen Kindle books (and they price them the same for other E-readers) at $19.99!!! 20 bucks for a digital book. Thanks, but no thanks.

H Gilmer

JC said...

I agree with all said here, fellows. The ipad would be also ideal for my work (I use scientific papers in pdf format). But I can't afford it right now.


Jomni said...

Kindle's only good for paperbacks. IPad is the way to go when you want colored stuff. It's also a good place to put all your PDF game manuals.

JC said...

Hi Jomni,

Agreed. But coming back to the issue of military history books, the maps in digital format suck, no matter what you are using to read them.


Desdinova said...

My advice: Grab the Kindle program/app for your computer/laptop. You can access the overall archive from anywhere, meaning you can drool or peruse your maps on your big monitor and still be able to read on the go.

Also the kindle's my choice because of the month long battery life--assuming you keep the wi-fi/3G off when you don't need it on.