A New(ish) Kindle

I grabbed a Kindle Paperwhite during the recent clearance discounts (and as expected, it’s since been supplanted by a new version).

I had been using a first-generation Paperwhite, so in many ways this newer version is exactly what I expected: faster, with better typography support on a higher-resolution screen. Highlighting passages is a bit nicer, now that it highlights by default and a tap on the passage allows you to adjust the boundaries of your highlight. On my old Kindle it was the inverse — select first, then tap an on-screen button to highlight.

Overall, though, the Kindle’s interface still contains too many overloaded interface elements. Craig Mod took a look at the Kindle interaction model in this essay, and much of his critique still holds true:

What is the iOS Kindle interaction model? The iOS Kindle model is the “hidden spaces” model. That is, all active interface elements are invisible. This “hidden spaces” model of interaction is supremely user antagonistic.

There are no affordances to the taps. No edges to the active areas. Nothing to hint at what might happen. This creates what I call a “brittle” interface — where one wrong tap sends you careening in an unknown direction, without knowing why or how you got there.

Interface quibbles aside, my reading pace has definitely been helped by having a Kindle. Its single-purpose nature has been superior for reading than using my iPad, where distractions abound. I typically read two books at a time: one on the Kindle during my train commute, and a paper book at home during the evenings/weekends.

I’m not buying a significantly higher number of books, though — most of the books on my Kindle are loaned by my local library through Overdrive. It’s definitely worth checking if you have ebook lending through your library.