back to article Amazon Kindle 3 e-book reader

Even a blind man in a dark room can see what the problem is with eBook readers has been – the cost. Every eBook reader review Reg Hardware has run has been followed by dozens of comments all along the lines of: Nice idea, but how much? Amazon Kindle 3 Amazon's Kindle 3: e-book gets new cover Now Amazon has bitten the …


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  1. Paul Eagles

    In my opinion the 3G one is clearly the better option

    If the Kindle weren't available when 3G then I wouldn't have bought one. True, wireless hotspots are not too hard to find but if you're in a hotel that requires you to connect to the network then open your browser to authenticate then you're out of luck as the Kindle can't do that.

    I'm a frequent business traveller so I like the way I can get my daily newspaper 'delivered' every morning no matter where in the world I am without having the mess about finding a wireless hotspot. Turn the Kindle on and within a minute or two there's my newspaper.

    Even if I weren't a frequent traveller I'd still have goen for the 3G version if only to get around the annoyance of being on holiday, finishing all your books and wanting something else to read. A couple of weeks ago I was in Munich (oh how I love the Oktoberfest) and while waiting for my flight back to Heathrow I finished my last book so without any hassle I went on the Kindle store from my Kindle and downloaded a book.

    Global 3G is one of the main differentiators for me between this and other eBook readers.

    My only gripe is that the directional keypad has a thin border on it so with my fat fingers I often push the central button when trying to push a directional button. A minor annoyance to what is otherwise an excellent device.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Still has that major downside

    Still a nice idea ... but how much?

    You could get a LOT of books for £109, especially at library prices, and especially considering you not only have to buy the book reader, but books to go on your new book.

    Another money spinner to pump the public for cash or fantastic new invention?

    1. Trygve

      I used to think that...

      But after having acquired enough e-books that I would need another two metres of shelf space (at least) to store the physical equivalents, I came to realise that (for basic text-only novels) ebooks are a premium product, at least as far as I am concerned.

      I'm happy to pay extra to avoid having kilos and kilos of paper cluttering up the house, or stuffing my luggage when going on holiday. Being able to pop the e-reader in a ziplock bag and read in the bath is also a nice side benefit.

      Also, a lot of ebooks are available DRM-free for $5-6 a pop from the US, which is pretty decent by UK standards.

    2. Bryce 2

      As a bibliophile

      I can say that I spend much more than £109 a year on books. Lots more. I generally read 5 - 6 books a week and recently had my bookshelf collapse under the weight of my personal library.

      This is perfect for me as now instead of having to carry multiple paperbacks on my person, I can carry one device that holds my entire library, and even better it won't punish my furniture.

      1. Sid James

        5 or 6 books a week?

        either they're very small or...

        400 pages / book, 6 books = (400*6)/7 = 340 pages per day = a page every 42 seconds!

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Bad math

          @Sid James

          > 340 pages per day = a page every 42 seconds!

          You might want to go back and check that calculation...

          1. Anonymous Coward


            OK, I think the calculation was based on a 4 hour period of reading each day which gives you:

            4 (hours) x 60 (minutes) x 60 (seconds) = 1440 Seconds / 340 = 1 page per 42.35 seconds

            OK so you could read for 8 hours a day every day if you liked but I think a 4hour reading period over the day is a reasonable assumption

            1. Anonymous Coward


              a page per 42 seconds is actually pretty slow reading. Many people can manage more.

    3. ThomH

      But, in its defence...

      ... all out-of-copyright books available from Amazon (more than a million, I think) are free on the Kindle, from anywhere in the world, for as long as you want. Where Kindle editions come out they also tend to appear at the same time as the hardback, but at a tiny little bit less than the paperback price. Furthermore, as the review says, you can carry round 900 big books if you want. I'm the sort of person that tends to hop from book to book, so just the reduction of three or four into a Kindle-sized package is a major win for me. Being able to put any old document on there is also a massive boon versus printing whenever you want to take away something more than about 20 pages long.

      Me? I ordered one while Amazon were listing the New Yorker as being available for £3/issue rather than the £6-ish I pay from the newsagent. But at some point it was withdrawn, prior to Kindles actually shipping in the UK. So I'm quite annoyed, but such other magazines as are available seem to be similarly cheaper.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Charity Shops

      I get most of my books from charity shops. Usually they are no more than 50p for a paperback, sometimes less. OK so there is some free stuff available from Kindle, but not a whole lot and there's very little available for 50p. Downloads are hardly any cheaper than "real" books and amazon do free delivery on the reall books. If you're relying on a 3G connection downloads aren't free. So this thing would never pay for itself in purely fiscal terms.

      It would probably be better if they gave you tokens for £100 worth of books with your purchase.

      The other thing that's wonderful about a real book is that it comes from the charity shop for only 50p but will take any amount of abuse. OTOH a Kindle costs £109 or more and hasn't been "ruggedized" in any noticable way.

      Reading in the bath? Slapping it in your rucksack while you're being outdoorsy? Could be risky.

      1. Matt_payne666


        have you read a paper book in the rain?? or tried using a soapy hand to turn a paper page?? My PRS-300 has been dripped on as ive dried off by the pool, rained on and dropped a few times, yet it still comes back for more! they are robust-ish! (although, to be fair every time i drop it, i do hold my breath when i turn it back on!!)

    5. Code Monkey

      Re: how much?

      I've been filling these fora with similar comments, but the price is falling. Once we're seeing decent features for sub £100 I'll become more interested.

  3. jamiefer
    Thumb Up


    Of course, you use something like Calibre to convert file types, and Amazon handily will convert all sorts of PDF and doc files into Kindle-ized documents, within minutes of you sending them an email.

    The 3g version is probably worth it if you're the kind of person who would like to check the web on the way to work, rather than youtube - which isnt compatible. I find the guardian mobile sites, and my Uni course webpages display with perfect functionality.

    The 3g also is useful for looking up further info, and as someone who lives and works and commutes in places that have no hotspots, it's a godsend. It's FREE INTERNET! (albeit B&W Internet).

    But yeah, awesome, isn't it?

    1. Jim_aka_Jim

      It's not free internet

      It's only free browsing of the Amazon Kindle store and the ablility to download books/mags where ever you are. For internet and everything else you need to have a WiFi conection.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Jim_aka_Jim: Wrong

        Jim, the post lady put mine in my intray just before lunchtime. The 3G version connects to wikipedia and the BBC news site just fine with no WI-FI.

      2. Dapprman

        some what wrong

        the 3G version is free internet

        1. Jim_aka_Jim

          You were right, I was wrong

          So who's paying for this then? Seems too good to be true, but it is. I can't help but feel they will block this after a while.

          I tried Wiki and BBC news while in Hungary on 3G, both loaded fine with up to date pages. Still looked aweful, but it did work.

  4. iamapizza


    If you want to read epubs, get yourself Calibre. You can then take your epubs and convert them to mobis, then send them over to the Kindle. It's a must-have for ereader readers. That takes care of the does-not-support-epub point, although the lazy ones among you may complain about the extra steps required, it's still better than nothing. Right. Right.

  5. Ralph B

    Swings and Roundabouts

    Well, it's nice to see that the price of the Kindle has dropped, but I was shocked to see that prices of eBooks at Amazon are now mostly higher than their paperback (and often hardback) equivalents.

    Of course, the olde Gutenberg-sourced eBooks are available for free, but is there really any excuse for delivering books electronically at a higher price than the paper versions? Apart from attempting to preserve the dead-tree-based business model?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Paper is cheap dude

      I'd not be happier with consistently higher prices, but the cost of actually printing a book (especially at publisher volumes) is small compared to writing/proofing/editing so I'd not expect much discount, and I'd hope for little variance, but when you are the only significant ebook store I guess you can charge what you like.

      1. GaryH

        title here

        one factor may be that ebooks attract VAT, paper books don't. Go figure HMRC

        1. Grease Monkey Silver badge


          Buy them from charity shops or second hand bookshops for pence. Or better yet get them from your local library for nothing.

          Really I just don't get the idea of paying a lot for a book, "e" or traditional.

          1. JonHendry


            "Buy them from charity shops or second hand bookshops for pence. Or better yet get them from your local library for nothing."

            I'm not sure the books I read would be the kind I'd find in second hand shops, or charity shops. Or even libraries.

      2. Sid James
        Dead Vulture


        True...but from Amazon's point of view there's no storage or postage costs.. That must account for a few £s.

    2. Dapprman

      Not any more

      In my recent searches I've noticed that the price of eBooks on Amazon are now generally less than the paperback editions (post discount on both). I do remember them being more so it may be more to do with the fact that with them selling the Kindle3 directly in the UK market forces (i.e. a lot more people out there who will be buying eBooks) has actually brought the price down.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I've found the opposite to be true. Take the top three on Amazons bestsellers list. No.1, Eat, Pray, Love; Kindle price £3.11, paperback price £3.27, RRP £7.99. No. 2, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest; Kindle £2.44, paperback £3.99, RRP £7.99. No. 3, Worth Dying For; Kindle £6.64, Hardback (no paperback edition available) £7.59, RRP £18.99. The same is true of every other title in the top 10 that has a kindle edition. I'll grant you that the differential isn't substantial, but it is there and it is less.

    4. GarethB

      Kindle books are cheaper

      Dont know what books you are looking at. Look at the top 10 paper book chart and 9 of them are available on kindle and of those the kindle edition is always the cheapest.

    5. JB

      Hard slog

      I don't know about the newer titles, but there is a considerable amount of work that goes into publishing an ebook.

      I have a large collection of 1950s and 60s pulp fiction, a very niche market, and probably hardly worth converting to electronic format. But I am in the process of converting one to see what it's all about, and I can tell you it takes a long time:

      scanning the pages

      Using OCR to convert it to editable/searchable text

      Going through page by page, correcting erors the OCR made (some very funny!)

      Getting the formatting to match that of the original.

      It isn't necessarily difficult, just very time-consuming, so I would imagine that would push the cost up, at least until the technology becomes reliable and fast enough.

      1. Gweilo



        Some OCR packages are much better than others. I've found "ABBYY" the most reliable.

        Once it's "trained" on a particular font it makes fewer mistakes.

        Pulp novels were printed cheaply in every way, from the paper that gave them their name, to the layout which was quick and dirty and often too tightly set. So I wouldn't worry too much about matching the original format. As long as you get the logical structure: paragraphs, chapter heads; otherwise let the text flow and choose a more legible format.

        You might find more people in your niche than you expect.

        See eg and other sites linked from there.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it me...

    or does anyone else find the page refresh annoying on e-ink displays?

    The first line of this review made me laugh as anyone in a dark room wouldn't be able to read on a kindle!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      To be fair...

      anyone reading a book in a dark room would have the same problem.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge


      In a drak room, you'd be hard-pressed to read something written on paper either.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't notice it any more

      I've had a Sony Reader for the last couple of years and yes the flash is initially distracting, but I can honestly say I stopped noticing it after a while.

      I've just bought a new Sony Reader 650 which uses the same screen as the current Kindle. The Sony feels more solid, is a bit more elegant and I prefer its interface; but the Kindle is streets ahead in getting content on to the machine. I'd have probably jumped ship if I hadn't already bought quite a lot of ePub and LRF books.

      In contrast to Kindle, using the Waterstone's store and the Sony Library application is something like the fiddly process of getting content on to an MP3 player before Apple introduced the iPod - clunky.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suprised to think people even consider the 3G version

    When you can simply use your phone's AP mode...

    1. Ian Yates


      If you're abroad, would you rather pay the extortionate roaming charges through your phone, or use the free 3G on the Kindle?

      I have a Sony PRS-600 Touch and am considering the Kindle 3G because of the improved screen and the worldwide free 3G.

      Calibre pretty much gives Kindle epub support, but it would be nice for Amazon to accept the standard natively.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I dunno about you..

        But my data roaming is pretty dirt cheap. On a recent 6 week trip stateside, I paid around £120 for full data roaming (email & calendar pull, browsing, using as AP for my iPad, etc). Not too shabby.

      2. mego

        In general, we do not charge you for this use of wireless connectivity

        Is what it says... further "Your Kindle may use wireless connectivity to make other services available to you for which we may charge you a fee, such as personal file download and subscriptions when you are located in another country"....indicating there will be a fee if you are roaming..

  8. En_croute
    Thumb Up

    WiFi only - really?

    I was suprised you reccomend the WiFi only option, and not the 3G version.

    With a querty keyboard, and a web browser providing access to the internet for webmail (Gmail, MSN, Yahoo! etc) as well as the ubiquitous Twitter - for an extra (once off) £50 fee, and supporting roaming in 100 countries - the 3G option looks like an absolute bargain.

    I'd like to try one before buying - but that's just not possible with Amazon.

    1. Ben Tasker

      You can sort of

      Once you've bought it, you can send it back for a full refund within 30 days, so long as you retain the original packaging etc.

    2. JonHendry

      Web browser is best only in an emergency

      "With a querty keyboard, and a web browser providing access to the internet for webmail (Gmail, MSN, Yahoo! etc) as well as the ubiquitous Twitter - for an extra (once off) £50 fee, and supporting roaming in 100 countries - the 3G option looks like an absolute bargain."

      I have the kindle 2, DX, and a new 3rd generation with wifi only. With wifi, the 3rd generation brower is much faster than the earlier models, but I still wouldn't want to use it intensively. Maybe to look up an occasional item on wikipedia.

      I haven't seen the performance of the webkit browser on 3G, but on earlier kindles it was frankly a bit painful to use the browser. It's convenient to have it when you have no other way to get online. Say, if your cellphone doesn't have web access, and your car breaks down on the highway and you want to find a tow truck.

      I used the 3G pretty much only to download things I'd bought from Amazon via my Mac.

    3. JonHendry

      Ride a bus?

      "I'd like to try one before buying - but that's just not possible with Amazon."

      They're sold in some retail stores in the US (Target, Staples, Best Buy). I guess they aren't doing that in the UK?

      I've been seeing more of them in use on the subway in Boston (US) lately. And someone in my apartment building got his in the mail today. (I could tell from the box).

      Find some commuters, and you might find someone with a kindle who'd let you take a look at it.

  9. Shadowfax

    3G is much better choice

    I think you missed a few vital points when you suggested that the W-Fi version was the way to go. The extra £40 gets you a 3G data connection with no additional monthly fees. Firstly this means my newspaper and magazine subscriptions arrive without any fuss about whether or not I'm connected to a hotspot.

    There is also the free roaming to consider. This means that when I'm abroad I still get my subscriptions and I have free access to basic web browsing, so I can check my email, grab a map or just look something up without racking up a massive data bill.

    Another great feature (of both versions) that you failed to mention in the review was the ability to send documents as email attachments to a Kindle email address. The attachments are stripped out of the email and dropped straight on the Kindle with no hassle at all. Great if you're someone who uses their Kindle to read a lot of documents, presentations etc.

    PS. Thank you for not trying to compare the Kindle the Ipad.

  10. xenny


    Doesn't this version include a basic web kit based browser? Just how basic is it?

    1. Dapprman

      Not as bad as people make out

      It's basically a gray scale smartphone browser, but with a larger resolution and viewing area.

      It works a lot better than expected, but is still rather basic compared to those on the very latest smartphones.

  11. Jim_aka_Jim
    Thumb Up

    I've had one for 2 weeks now...

    ...and this review has it pretty much spot on. Buying books is so easy, I've had to resist building up a huge backlog!

    This is my first e-reader and it's good enough that after the first book I forgot that I wasn't reading off paper. Being able to change through so many different text sizes made it very easy to read in any condition (i.e on a bumpy bus ride).

    Music support: will anyone actually use this? I bet everyone who buys one of these already has a dedicated music player. This feature is available so it will support audio books, nothing else.

    PDF support: is great.

    No epub: not great. But threre's a handy little bit of software (not included) which converts epub to pdf if you want to.

    Web browser: is rubbish. Connected to fast WiFi it's still slow and much easier to use my phone.

    Oxford English Dictionary included: awesome. I'm not the most well read person in the world, my vocab range is good but I've already used this feature on a few occasions. In any book you can select any word and the deffinition appears at the top/bottom of the screen, depending on which is further from the highlighted text.

    American dictionary is also included so you can switch between the two. I work with mainly forginers and after seeing this feature they've ordered a Kindle.

    Cost of the dedicated case: a joke. Buy a 3rd party one. Or use a sock.

    1. JB

      US/UK dictionaries

      Good point, I've always had a mini-dictionary by the bed to look up words when I'm reading at bedtime. My wife wonders if I'm all there, flicking through a dictionary in bed, but there you go!

      I was wondering, though...I'm a Brit living in the US and am very tempted to get one of these. I was wondering if the UK English dictionary is available on the US version. somehow i doubt it, but it would be nice if it was.

    2. JonHendry


      "Cost of the dedicated case: a joke. Buy a 3rd party one. Or use a sock."

      I use a $1 bubble-wrap mailing envelope. It's a little big, so I folded one edge and stapled it to provide a snug fit. Then I put it inside a slightly more rigid cardboard mailing envelope. Total price: $2.

      It's open at the top, so it just stays in my backpack and I slide the kindle in or out when needed.

  12. Alex Wilson

    Alex Wilson

    You forgot possibly the most useful feature!

    If you have an existing library of ebooks/word documents etc, the Kindle comes with its own email address that you can send stuff to in various formats....which then quite miraculously arrives on your Kindle in a readable format! I found this incredibly handy as I had around 300 books floating around my PC in various formats.

    I did have to download a 3rd party converter to convert .lit files to .HTML or .doc format before sending them in batches to the email address, and there's still no easy way to convert epub format books so there's still plenty of room for improvements.

    Another niggle is the 'collections' method of organising your books, it can only be done manually on the Kindle which (with a large number of books) is VERY time consuming! Surely there must be a way to sort this out from the PC?

    Overall I'm really happy with the Kindle 3, it's a pleasure to use once its fully set up and so far I've actually been reading more than usual, lets hope that lasts!

    1. Dapprman


      You can create a collection, go in to it, then go to the menu and there's an option for selecting multiple books to add to the collection. After that you basically scroll through your books ticking what you want to add. Shame you can't do it online in advance, but a lot quicker than one at a time. Annoyingly I only found out after I'd gone through my 32 books (all free through Amazon).

      BTW you do know Amazon charge (all be it a small amount) for each book you send to your kindle email account (and if they don't anymore can you point me at where it says that as I can only find charge details)

      1. GaryH


        they only charge for delivery via 3G

  13. Anonymous Coward

    But how close to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is it?

    According to the specs, the 3G version has an always-on connection to the web and especially wikipedia. What I want to know is how close to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is it, and can you get a cover with "Don't Panic" on it in large friendly letters?

    1. JonHendry


      I had a sad when I bought the kindle version of the HHGTTG.

      When I reached a page with some Guide text, I had the brilliant idea of having the kindle read the text.

      But the publisher had told Amazon to disable text-to-speech.

      BTW: Not only can you access wikipedia from a kindle, when you use the built-in search function, you're able to choose what to search: your items on the device, the store, the dictionary, google, or wikipedia.

  14. Paul 25

    Lovely bit of kit, but oddly weighted

    I've had a play with a friend's kindle and it's a lovely bit of kit.

    The only thing that I found slightly annoying was that it seemed top heavy. It's not a massive issue, but I naturally hold it near the bottom so it was more effort to hold over a long period than if the weight had all been in the bottom.

    Also, on the 3G front, if the RSS reader was able to read arbitrary feeds (rather than just the ones in the Amazon feed store) it would be really useful when travelling.

    Combined with the access to wikipedia and travel sites, the free worldwide 3G makes the kindle a really interesting travel device.

  15. DrXym

    Looks like a nice device

    It's too bad it's tied to one store, and a proprietary format. I really wonder what people, especially bibliophiles are thinking to purchase a device which forces them to buy (or rather license) their content from a single provider which prevents them from ever transferring that collection to any non-Amazon blessed device.

    1. Ben Tasker

      It's Not

      I can use an store as long as it's a compatible format (AZW obviously, but DRM free Mobi, Text etc are all supported.)

      AZW can easily be converted to something else, and are simple to copy to the PC (It shows up as removeable media when connected).

      Don't know what the Kindle 1,2 and DX were like, but on this latest one the only real drawback is the lack of EPub support.

      I bought the basic cover (i.e. no reading light) and I'm gald I did because, quite apart from protecting the screen, it means I can hold the thing the same way I hold a book when reading - thumb in the spine at the bottom.

      Amazon do have a Kill-switch for books (which you'll recall they've used), but in reality it's not a major issue. You can copy the books from the Kindle to the PC for backup/archiving, so convert it to PDF, txt, Mobi or whatever. Amazon can no longer wipe it. Simples!

      Each to their own though

    2. jamiefer


      Except it's neither tied to one store, nor to a specific format, as discussed in the comments section already.

      1. DrXym

        It is tied to one store

        Virtually every store uses DRM and Kindle only supports DRM on its own proprietary format. It has token support for a handful of non DRM'd other formats. It's a crippled device. Apologists can pretend this doesn't matter all they like but they are deluding themselves.

        There are far more open devices out there but what is really needed is an industry wide format and DRM. In the meantime industry leaders Amazon should be as encompassing and open as possible. Doesn't stop them building in support for the Amazon store but why restrict people reading books they purchased elsewhere?

    3. Bryce 2

      Speaking as a bibliophile

      I make most of my book purchases from Amazon anyway, so it's not much of a stretch.

      1. DrXym


        And now you have no choice. So well done. If Waterstones or WH Smith or some other random bookseller has a seasonal sale on, let's say 3 for 2 or 50% off then guess what you're not going to be able to buy your books from there. If Amazon decides to drop some publisher over a legal dispute then guess what you're screwed. If Amazon decides to start sunset older Kindle devices or OTA delivery in favour of something else (as they did when Unbox was changed to a streaming service), then guess what you're screwed.

        Buying into Kindle is like entering a golden cage, locking the door and tossing away the key. There are far more open solutions out there. Many still use DRM and encryption which some would argue is bad, but some such as EPUB and Adobe Digital Editions at least mean you are not restricted to one book seller, or one brand of reader.

        1. JonHendry

          You're not locked into Amazon

          O'Reilly books are available in kindle-friendly formats, as are books from Each site provides their books in multiple formats, with the ability to redownload or download a book in more than one format. also lets you know when an updated/corrected file is available for download.

          Neither uses DRM.

          I have books from both on my kindle.

          1. DrXym

            Yes but

            You are relying on the good grace of a single specialist publisher to offer non DRM books to somehow pretend that Kindle is not tied to Amazon and a proprietary format when it is.

            Perhaps you should go and investigate what Tim O'Reilly himself thinks of the Kindle, e.g.


            Summary - He hates it because it's proprietary, expects it will die and wishes it would support EPUB which is an open standard. also point this out on their ebook page that they prefer people to use EPUB, probably because the experience is superior as well as being open.

        2. Curt Vile
          Thumb Down


          The Kindle is by no means restricted to ebooks with DRM. It can read PRC and MOBI files that have no DRM, and it is pretty trivial to convert epubs, txt, rtf and you-name-it to MOBI format using Calibre. This naturally includes ebooks purchased from other sellers.

          You can also (if you like) drag your DRMed ebooks from Amazon off your Kindle, and back them up and/or remove the DRM.

          In future please do some elementary Googling before putting your fat fingers to the keyboard and flailing away in a fit of frothing righteousness.

  16. David Licence

    3G vs. Wifi

    "Of the two devices it's the cheaper Wi-Fi only version on review here and, in my opinion, it's clearly the one to get. Surely, even the most avid reader doesn't get consumed by the burning urge to buy literature so suddenly that they need a cellular link"

    That's true, but it's the fact that the 3G connection, and any data usage, is free once you've paid the £40 premium for the 3G Kindle that swung it for me.

    I was using it on the train last night to check up on my email and RSS feeds.

    OK so I could have done that on my phone, but, when I'm travelling through Europe or any other country with a data connection available I can still use my Kindle there and the data is still free - no massive roaming charges. Brilliant.

    1. DrXym

      Maybe you should look at the Amazon wireless small print

      "Your Kindle uses wireless connectivity to allow you to shop for and download Digital Content from the Kindle Store. In general, we do not charge you for this use of wireless connectivity. Your Kindle may use wireless connectivity to make other services available to you for which we may charge you a fee, such as personal file download and subscriptions when you are located in another country."

      Located in another country from what? From the Amazon store? From your home address?

      Assuming Amazon allows you to order books from the US store from the UK you may find yourself slapped with fees. And because you're not actually *buying* the book, you're *licensing* it, Amazon may be obliged to slap VAT on top of the book price *and* delivery regardless of where you buy it from.

  17. Ben Rosenthal


    am on supposed to be on pre "primary gifting period" spending lock down from about now onwards.......but I really do rather like the look of these.

  18. Irritable Grumpy Bastard
    Thumb Down

    Nice idea, but how much??!

    I think the opening comment completely misses the point on cost.

    The cost of the device itself has never been as huge a problem as the cost of every e-book purchased. Most e-books I've ever looked at sell for around the same or even MORE than the physical books. However they have no re-sale value (thanks, DRM), and they cost absolutely nothing to produce and distribute, so why does the cost not come down?

    Yes, electronic format is cool, and it is nice to have 20,000 books in one device, but most people only read ONE book at a time! It's not like MP3s, where most people like to listen to many tracks in one day, hence electronic format is far more convenient and there doesn't need to be a price advantage. Books however is a completely different product and these readers will never take off until e-books are substantially cheaper.

    1. DrXym

      Price and the format are critical

      People don't like format wars, and ebooks are the mother of all format wars. Seriously we've been subjected to 10 years of this shit where dozens of proprietary ereaders & apps have sprung up for PCs & devices. Each platform of course heavily favours one particular proprietary format, usually ties the format to a store and ignores or pays lip service to other non DRM formats.

      The consequence of all this fighting is the ebook market place is a wasteland of failed services and cliques busy building little alliances and fiefdoms. No one seems to want to take their head out of their asses to question what would happen if they worked together on a single DRM and format, and stopped engaging in predatory / cartel like price fixing.

      If the industry were to unite around a single open format and sell their books at a fair price and a fair & competitive basis from various online vendors then sales of ebooks would increase ten fold. Everyone would benefit. I am surprised publishers are letting Amazon get away with things so far. Don't they remember what happened to the recording industry and Apple? The publishing industry should be mandating a level playing field for their own independence and long term viability.

      The laughable part is the only people unaffected by this infighting and warring are the pirates who can scan a book, proof it and have it out within hours of general release. The general public are the victims here, either by buying into a proprietary anticompetitive service, or by sitting on the sidelines until the war ends. And there is no sign of that happening any time soon.

  19. LesB
    Thumb Up

    Yup, works for me...

    I've had mine about a month now. Like El Reg, I went for the WiFi only version, and I've had no cause to regret that.

    The key selling point for me is that Amazon are careful to charge slightly less for eBooks than the currently cheapest physical versions (if the book's in hardback, the eBook will be slightly cheaper than that, if it's in paperback, it'll be cheaper than that), which is where things went wrong with Watersone's tie-in with the Sony Reader. This tends to take books that are currently top-selling paperbacks below £3 for the Kindle version, which combined with instant delivery is a good deal.

    Magazine subs work nicely, too - obviosuly this works better for text-focused mags (Asimov's and Analog work well for me), and are generally well-priced.

    On a recent three-day business trip, I was happy to have the Kindle (size of one paperback) rather than the physical version of the latest Peter F Hamilton book (size of one brick), and have more to read after that without any extra weight.

    O'Reilly eBooks transfer nicely over USB, too.

    So far, there isn't anything I don't like about it.

  20. Dominic (The Pimp) Connor

    Loading it with files

    What's the current story with getting files onto the Kindle ?

    In the past I've read about having to email to Amazon, so that they can charge you for the privilege.

    My work generates a fearsome array of PDFs and flat text, so I'd almost never use it for novels, just work :(

    1. David Harrison 1

      Re: Loading it with files

      Email files to -- have only tried a few supported formats so far. But no serious fails as yet.

    2. CaptainHaZ

      data import

      3 ways to get your files onto your Kindle.

      1. Drag and drop on a PC as the Kindle is recognised as a USB Mass Storage device.

      2. Email to your kindle address and free Wifi delivery (and conversion to .azw format if you want it.

      3. Email to your the other whispernet delivery email address for delivery via 3G at cost of 99p/MB

    3. Somerset John
      Thumb Up

      Transferring files to a Kindle

      Just connect via supplied USB cable, the kindle is then treated as a detachable hard drive. Then it's just drag & drop. (Into the kindle's document folder.)

  21. GarethB
    Thumb Up

    epub not a problem

    The lack of epub format is really a non issue. Download and you can convert from many formats. Converting from pdf even works very well. You can also convert sites such as the bbc news and theregister to a magazine and have it sent via email automatically.

    1. Neill Mitchell

      Not DRM'd files

      Calibre cannot convert files with DRM. So you will not be able to buy or borrow ePubs and then convert them to Kindle.

      So the lack of ePub support IS a problem.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i like these

    but i still think that the keyboard is unnecessary, anything that could bring the price down even more. These readers need to be almost disposable, if they are truly to take the place of books

    1. Moogal

      That's all well and good

      ...but how would you use the Kindle store or the web browser without a keyboard?

  23. Bilgepipe


    Very tempted by this as the iPad and other slates are too pricey, but... no ePub support, no sale. Amazon need to cater for all formats, not just tie it to their own. iBooks on an iPod Touch is still a better option in this regard.

  24. clanger9
    Thumb Up

    3G version

    Fun feature on the 3G version: it works pretty much anywhere in the world.

    So you can check websites/email/etc using the built-in browser without any charges whatsoever. Amazon don't really talk this feature up (maybe because it's experimental), but it makes it a bit of a bargain...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There's always a reason

      They don't talk it up, so that they can quietly disable it or start charging access fees for it later, without consumers being able to sue them.

  25. Ben Tasker
    Thumb Up

    Got One

    Actually bought one the other day, figured it'd be useful for carrying various user manuals and parts 'microfiche' around. I'm very impressed with it (I splashed the extra £40 for the 3G so that I can grab what I need from our servers even if there's no Wifi on site).

    There is a couple of annoyances IMO;

    They say that PDF support is native (and it is), but if you browse the net to find a PDF on the (admittedly experimental) browser, you can't view it. You can't even download it to view it, the browser will only download AWZ, TXT or Mobi files.

    The second annoyance is (again) in the browser. If a site has provided a link and specified it should open in a new window (i.e. target=_blank), you can't access it. The browser doesn't support multiple windows, and they haven't thought to just ignore the _blank and open it in the current window. The end result, is some links are inaccessible on the kindle.

    I'll accept that the browser is experimental, and it doesn't detract from the ability to read with the device (it's actually very good at that!), but it would be nice to see this fixed.

    Glad the item was reviewed, I had assumed the Audiobook/MP3 functionality only worked with headphones (hadn't noticed the speakers). The audio quality is actually surprisingly good (based on the 1 track I have on there!).

    You can get books for free from Gutenburg, and probably a few others.

    OH, the only other issue is deleting books. It's not very intuitive, pressing menu doesn't offer the option. You have to highlight the book and then press left on the Navi pad to be offered the delete option.

    All in all, I'd recommend it. Reading from it's easy on the eyes, and (most) books are reasonably priced. If you find that Amazon are charging too much, you can buy it elsewhere and convert it into a supported format on your PC. Granted it loses the ease of having the book delivered by 'Whispernet' (you can get Amazon to convert and Deliver for 99p per meg though)

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Future Proof?

    Pricing has been silly for quite a while, but there is still no professional platform for readers to acquire and store their ebooks.

    What happens if you (unthinkably) decide that Amazon and the kindle is not the platform for you? Can you transfer purchases? Get a refund? Are there any assurances that you won't be buying your way in to a digital dark age with every book?

    It's a nice enough screen, and it's nice to have the option of buying ebooks, but the remains no future for ebooks, until someone comes along (much as Amazon did with digital music) and pioneers a format that ensures customers are in charge of their books what is the point in paying a high price for an rental.

    1. AceRimmer


      This is the one aspect which puts me off buying a kindle.

      ebooks need to be as transferable as mp3's (and preferably DRM free) before I'll switch.

      Alternatively a subscription service giving me access to x number of books pre month for y pounds per month would tempt me as long as the ratio of x to y was correct

    2. clanger9
      Thumb Up

      re: Future Proof?

      You can get Kindle clients for Mac OS/Windows/Android/etc, so you can always access your books somehow - even if you don't have a Kindle. Agreed, it would be nice to have a choice of non-Amazon e-readers but at least the multi-platform support means I shouldn't be locked out of my content.

      The Whispersync feature is actually very cool: I can read a few pages on my phone, then when I pick up my Kindle, it's moved the book on to where I left off. Very nice!

    3. JonHendry

      Amazon's device-agnostic

      "Can you transfer purchases? Get a refund? Are there any assurances that you won't be buying your way in to a digital dark age with every book?"

      Amazon's kindle apps for other hardware have shown that they're platform-agnostic. If they can put their books on another platform that comes available, they likely will. Not so much competing ebook readers, but general-purpose devices for which they can write their own reader app.

      They have their iPad app, which supports the device that some expected to kill the kindle. They have apps for Mac OS X, Windows, Android, Blackberry, and iPhone. Their attitude seems to be that they don't really care what device you use, and are happy to help you use other devices by writing the software, so long as you buy some of your books from Amazon. (The software will also read .mobi files from sources other than Amazon, so you're not locked in.)

      If Amazon stops making hardware, I'm sure there'll be software support on a variety of other devices.

      And if Amazon were to kill their whole ebook business and end-of-life the kindle reader software I'm sure the then-current DRM will be cracked before long, and at that point Amazon won't be putting up any obstacles or changing formats to keep the DRM viable.

  27. CaptainHaZ
    Thumb Up

    Highly Recommended

    I purchased one the day it was released having preordered it and I havent regretted it once! Its light, easy to read everywhere, ultraportable and very comfortable. I spent hours reading it in the sun in Spain without a hint of glare or eye strain. All my files are converted to .azw for free by the Amazon email conversion thingy or just kept as .mobi. The file restriction really isnt a problem. Page flow is smooth, images rendered correctly even though they are monochrome. I would highly recommend this to anyone wanting to purchase an ebook reader.

  28. Mark Rendle

    Excellent device

    I've had mine a few weeks now and I'm really happy with it. Lighter to carry and easier to read than a paper book. There is an issue with the availability and price of titles, but now the thing is selling like hot cakes hopefully the publishers will start to take the platform more seriously.

  29. Steven Jones

    Public Domain Books

    I too am a bit concerned about buying DRM format books tied into one hardware vendor. However, at £109 if you read a log of "classic" books then it will easily pay for itself. There's a huge amount of stuff out of copyright, although in the UK that isn't until 70 years after the death of the author (so you'll have to wait until 2016 for any HG Well, although you'll find online versions in the US where the copyright period isn't so long).

    At this price it gets to the point where you don't have that much to lose.

  30. JDX Gold badge

    software updates?

    I've seen no mention if the Kindle allows its software to be updated, and if Amazon are doing this - so that for instance an improved browser could be installed. Anyone know?

    Otherwise, I'm really tempted by the Kindle. My only worry is I love to read in the bath...

    1. JonHendry

      Yes, occasionally

      They do post updates periodically. Maybe not as often as users would like.

      They also post source code for the linux portion of the device software. They don't post the source of the proprietary, Java-based kindle software.

  31. John H Woods Silver badge

    Why hasn't it been ...

    ... rooted?

    1. JonHendry

      It has

      It runs linux, and if you search you'll find video of Xclock running on a kindle 2.

      There's a number of people doing kindle hacks. They've figured out how to hook up a usb network connection, etc.

      But the "kindle" functionality is a proprietary, closed-source, Java app.

  32. phuzz Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    my 2p

    I've also had one for a few weeks and loving it.

    As other have pointed out, if you have an eReader, then you should get Caliber. Yes it took a bit of time to set it up the way I want, but now I can just import files in, press one button, and have them auto-converted and sent over USB to the Kindle.

    As for the cost of eBooks, well, I've only bought one (Zero history - William Gibson), and that was a bit cheaper than the hardback, and being able to read it less than a minute after I clicked the pay button was great (although my wallet is now scared).

    Mine is betraying a few build quality issues however. It's picked up a rattle, the power button is getting sticky, and it's had more than it's fair share of random freezes.

    All in all though I'm glad I bought it, usually Amazon get about £20-30 of my money a month for dead tree books, but I'm running out of shelf space. So far, I've spent £10 on ebooks, and the rest of my reading has been, ahem, 'other' ebooks. So I think in the long run it'll save me money.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Read in full sun!

    That's the most important point for me. Try that with an LCD!!!

  34. William Hamilton
    Thumb Up

    3G Page Sync

    There is one BIG win for me that made me glad that I purchased the 3G version - page sync.

    I tend to read on my Kindle at home and then use the Kindle client on my iPhone when I'm out and about on the bus or the train.

    When I finish reading on the Kindle and suspend it, it will automatically sync the current page out to Amazon's cloud so that when I open the client on the iPhone, it will jump to the current page.

    It's seamless and it "just works".

  35. Anonymous Coward

    regional locked *BOOKS*?!

    love the kindle, had it since they released the international version. But to me surprised, there are many books that I can't buy because I don't live in the *right* country!

    I know it is the publishers fault, but still, to find a book then to find out that you can buy the physical copy but not the kindle copy because you are not in the US is unfair. Those are *BOOKS* for cry out loud.

    since when do you need to be in the right country to be able to buy and read a book!

    other then the regional lock on some books, I really do love the kindle and its single functionality.

  36. malfeasance
    Thumb Up

    DRM / ePub

    Of course, ePub is used quite widely by those libraries that support ebooks, which has DRM to delete the file after the lending period is up. This isn't mentioned in the review as a downside of the Kindle, as you can't borrow from your local library.

    but of course DRM being DRM it is already..., let's just say I suggest you goto the i (heart) cabbages blog.

    Calibre is a good shout for the ePub conversion; it does make a number of assumptions I don't like, but it's not a deal-breaker.

    I have the Wifi version delivered last Friday. I have issues with PDF rendering, but then the PDFs that I'm reading aren't rendered by any e-reader particularly well; the only device I've seen it render well on is the iPad and I'm not about to stump up that kind of money.

  37. Matthew Malthouse

    think about the books

    Lovely though the e-reader idea is I still want paper books on my shelves at home.

    Now if Amazon were to offer a free e-book download of the text when I bought a real book then I'd get a Kindle.

  38. JPatrick
    Thumb Up

    3G Roaming possibly only for wikipedia....

    Reasonable review, but I agree with others here that the 3G is probably a better choice.

    I have heard that 3G roaming only works for purchasing books abroad and accessing wikipedia only (although if you're on a Vodafone network you may still get full internet).

    Not exactly a surprise considering what that might mean in roaming costs for Amazon!

    Also there are some hidden features on the Kindle, not worthy of a review here but Minesweeper, screen capture and a picture viewer are all there... (see a weblog called GeoPlanIT for info)

  39. J 21

    Concerned about T+C

    I am interested in e-readers, but as previously mentioned I won't buy one until the format is universal and prefereably DRM free. In the short term this isn't likely (realisticly its not likely in the long run either but I live in hope) and the kindle is the best of the available readers in terms of features and catalogue.

    But I won't be buying one because of the Amazon terms and conditions; which basicly imply that Amazon have the right to look at anything on the device. All your purchaces, notes, bookmarks and current page info is backed up every time the device calls home and Amazon appear to reserve the right to use this data however they like.

    Additionally there are no safe guards against them remotely deleting or modifying content, whether it be paid for, as with the 1984 insident, or added manually by the device owner.

  40. alpine

    Calibre can email directly

    Just thought I'd point out that Calibre can be setup to email converted books directly to the address so they appear automatically on your Kindle via wifi. There is no need to connect via USB.

  41. Cunningly Linguistic

    Still doesn't beat...

    ...looking around you at your tangible and aesthetically pleasing collection of modern first edition hardbacks placed alphabetically (by author) on real wood shelves.

    * Knowing that they have no DRM,

    * that they won't be replaced by the next new eformat in 5+ years time,

    * don't require any sort of electrical supply,

    * won't go missing when your rucksack is nicked,

    * can be bought on ebay for a fraction of their original price,

    * maintain their tactile quality when turning the real page over.

    Paper rules.

    1. JonHendry

      That's all nice but

      That's all nice, but having a lot of books really loses its appeal when you have to move house.

      Or when you have a thousand-page hardcover that weighs several pounds, and would like to read it on the train to and from work.

      1. Cunningly Linguistic

        If I was going to have...

        ...all my eggs in one basket I'd much prefer that basket to weigh 100lbs rather than 100 grams. Much less nickable.

        1. tgm


          Seeing as all your books are stored on amazon anyway, you just get another kindle, enter your email address, and all your books are downloaded automatically.

  42. sorcerer

    Sony prices

    The only reason the PRS300 is cheap is because it has been superseded by the PRS350 (£130) – If Kindle supported ePub they would kill the Sony readers stone dead.

    1. Neill Mitchell

      Buttons and DRM

      "If Kindle supported ePub they would kill the Sony readers stone dead."

      Unless you like touch screen interfaces. The Sony 650's is fab.

      Plus I don't have to worry about specific vendor lock in. One thing not mentioned about ePub conversion with Calibre is that it obviously can't convert DRM'd files. So it can't convert Waterstone or WH Smith downloads to Kindle. It also can't convert downloads from UK libraries for the same reason. So unless you go all illegal and somehow strip off the DRM., you're Amazon only with Kindle. Not to mention that the AZW format is not as sophisticated as ePub. Try comparing, say, history books with illustrations and tables between the two readers.

      I'll stick with a reader that supports the dominant standard thanks.

  43. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    1/2 the price, double the capacity in 3 generations.


    Now what will Gen 4 be like?

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I went for the 3g

    I bought the 3g one because of the web browser. Given the cost of IT books these days a kindle goes nicely with my Safari books online subscription wherever I might be working - and should save me money in the medium term.

    As for not supporting epub, download Calibre and convert your (drm free) epub files into mobi.

    All the Kindle really needs in my opinion is better management facilities, compared to Stanza it is pretty poor at organizing your library and I haven't had a lot of luck with the json file which configures your 'collections' (tag groups). Reading is fine, Amazons 14 day newspaper/magazine trials have me hooked, it's just the setting up that's awkward.

    Overall very pleased. Oh, and my wife likes it!

  45. John Burton

    Yes it can connect to hotel wifi...

    >> "d but if you're in a hotel that requires you to connect to the network then open your browser to authenticate then you're out of luck as the Kindle can't do that."

    Yes it can! It pops up a box saying that you might need to enter a password on a web page, and automatically launches it's web browser. I was quite impressed first time it did tha

  46. JonHendry
    Thumb Up

    Kindle 3 Screen

    I have a new Kindle 3 as well as a Kindle 2 and DX. The new model's screen definitely shows blacker blacks and the background color is a bit lighter as well.

  47. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    The burning question

    does Jumbled Row on Kindle3 now accept places as words? Can I finally get 20 points for spelling "europe"? Could possibly get a new High Word spelling something like "zimbabwe". As is, "anxiety" for 85 points is my current high word. Almost had "wizardry" the other night, but screwed-up and lost the z...

    I don't have a kindle, but the wife does. She reads fiction constantly and loves it. I read sparingly, and don't much see the point - most of what I read are manuals, which probably haven't been Kindleized yet (who want's to read the Briggs and Stratton L-Head manual on a little Kindle screen? Not me...). She keeps threatening to buy me one, but I keep asking for a new welding helmet instead. :)

  48. Karl 14
    Thumb Up

    Love it - 3G and WiFi

    I have the new 3rd Gen and I am currently on hols in France, the 3G is cool as is the web browser and you can surf to almost any site. I use Calibre at home to sync and send converted news feeds to my Kindle via email. This is the most useful device that I have and has superseded my iPhone as my favourite waste of time...'nuff said

  49. E 2

    Is Amazon like Apple?

    By which I mean, if I want to read something like Delaney's book 'Hogg', will Amazon sell me a copy or tell me that it is not appropriate?

  50. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Reading with your eyes closed

    iPod classic, 160G of audio-book goodness.

  51. bex

    if you want ebooks get a kindle

    I set a new Sony reader up for a customer and it was a nightmare on her sluggish laptop. As someone else has stated using the waterstone site is fiddly, and thats being kind. You have to install the sony itunes lookie likie and some adobe thing to get the books registered to the device. With kindle buy the books on any web browser and they appear on the device

  52. Anonymous Coward

    No mention of the built-in calculator

    The review fails to mention that if you type in a mathematic expression into the search box, it evaluates it. If the expression is an asignment, e.g. A=0.5*PI then you can use A in subsequent expressions. It seems to include most scientific calculator operations, SIN, COS etc.

    This works with wi-fi switched off, so it must be doing the calculation locally and not relying on google.

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: No mention of the built-in calculator

      Darn it - the *one* device we don't key in a mathematical equation in the search field is the one that can actually solve it...

  53. TheRealRoland
    Thumb Up

    I like it very much

    After trying to read books on my Blackberry for a while (yeah, i know...), jumped on the bandwagon and bought one (Wifi only -- personally don't have a need for a 3G version).

    Downloaded the classics from, uploaded some work pdfs, bought a couple of books online through Amazon. PDFs work, are readable (if the font used is black, and not some fancy grayscale color). Amazing how seamlessly this whole process of buying / uploading books is.

    Minor niggles: the sorting of your books -- it's either by collection, or 'author/title/newest first'. However, even though on the homescreen the sorting is done by 'collection', it shows the collection with the newest items first -- messing up the alphabetical order. Don't like that.

    The MP3 player? Basically it plays music -- think of it as your 1st gen shuffle, without the shuffle option. And minus the previous track song. and minus the option to start at the first song indexed. And so far haven't found a 'stop playing' function to replay the last-played song, either. So it's pause, or un-pause.

    Web browser? Too bad most of the bookmarks already present are pointing to the 'web' version of the site, and not the 'mobile' version. Now if the Reg would allow us to read the comments on the mobile site as well, instead of redirecting to the full site. But removing the existing ones is easy, and replacing them with yours is as easy as cheesy-peas. Brilliant!

    Nice tip -- somewhere on page 1 or 2 of these comments: create your collection first, go into that collection, then start addiing your books. Instead of doing it one by one from the home screen instead. That would take at least 6 keypresses per book.

    Wireless is not 801.11n ; got frustrated after trying (and failing) to connect to our 'premium' access point at home, then looked online. Probably somewhere in the manual, but who reads these anyways :-)

    Ah, i will miss the feel of buying, reading and smelling real books. But having had to leave my book collection before our last move -- I think this is worth it. If only publishers would allow us to download an ebook version for free after having bought the paper version... I miss my books :-(

    1. Bryce Prewitt
      Thumb Up

      Yes, eBook version for free with purchase of paper version...

      would be absolutely amazing. Select labels are doing this with album/CD purchases and it's just an incredible incentive to actually buy new instead of used - especially if I'm buying direct from the label or band.

      This would go a long way towards overcoming the two largest hurdles in my eyes to buying an eBook reader-

      1) Never really getting a "good deal" (ie buying used or getting them from the library)

      2) Not really "owning" the book (Amazon/publishers can revoke my purchase at any time).

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