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Why I’m Still Recommending the Kindle for eBook Reading

November 16th, 2011
Marketing Advertising Blog — VuManhThang.Com

Christmas is right around the corner and there are going to be a lot of people buying eBook readers or asking for them, so here is my take on the situation.

If you would have told me, a few years ago, that I would be recommending the Amazon Kindle platform above any other method for e-book reading I would have told you that you were crazy. Well, I would not have said that, but I may have thought it. Why? The Kindle was poorly designed when it first came out. It was far overpriced. You had to lug it with you in order to read whatever Kindle titles you owned. So that meant you would probably find yourself carrying the Kindle, a cell phone, and a laptop computer, not to mention the cords and plugs required to keep them all charged.

But ask me today, as many do, and I quickly recommend the Kindle platform above any other e-reading system. Please notice my choice of words carefully. I use the word “platform” not “device.” That is very intentional. And now, in light of the release by Amazon of the latest and greatest versions of the Kindle, I am even more strongly recommending people buy a Kindle if they are interested in having a great eBook reading experience. Hands down, Kindle is the way to go. The latest basic version of the Kindle is wonderful, and for a few tanks of gas more, you can get the one that uses a touch interface exclusively, instead of buttons.

Pay close attention here: Forget the Barnes and Noble Nook. The Amazon Fire is a Nook Killer, no doubt about it. Here’s a strong word of advice: Before you buy an e-book reader make sure that the books you want to read are easily/readily available for it. For instance: Concordia Publishing House is providing our titles in Kindle format. We have not seen much point in supporting any other format, particularly since you can read Kindle titles on just about any gizmo out there.

Do your research and make sure you are buying what you really think you are going to use. If you want a media consumption device, the Kindle Fire may be for you, but it has the same “downsides” for reading an eBook as does the iPad or any mobile device that has a backlit display: glare and you can’t read it comfortably outside or in any bright light. That’s why I say that if you want to read eBooks, get one of the two basic Kindle models. Here are your choices. Click on the image below to go to Amazon’s Kindle store.

Amazon has not made much of this fact, but the reason the Amazon Kindle platform is, in my opinion, by far the best e-book reading system out there today is because you do not even have to own an actual Kindle device, to use the Kindle platform. Let me explain. And forgive me, in advance, if you already know all this, but I don’t think many people do.

Amazon made a brilliant move when it decided to release software applications to enable as many devices as possible to use Kindle formatted e-books. The fact that Amazon is the single largest reseller and distributor of intellectual property in the world makes the Kindle platform absolutely irresistible for publishers, and that’s good for readers.

If you own a computer of any kind, no matter MAC or PC, you can use Kindle formatted e-books on it. Desktop or laptop? Doesn’t matter. Netbook? Sure. How about all those nifty devices collectively now referred to as “smartphones.” Amazon’s got you covered: Android? iPhone? No worries, you can read Kindle files on those devices. iTouch? Blackberry? Yup, those too. And no doubt all the up and coming tablet/iPad imitators will be able to use Kindle files as well.

How about the iPad? No problems, you have a very well implemented and well executed Kindle app for it too, and all Kindle apps now offer searching of the text, and instant connectivity to Wikipedia and dictionary for quick reference and research. And no doubt all the up and coming tablet/iPad imitators will be able to use Kindle files as well.

So, here’s my thinking. If you are going to invest in an e-book, and it is an investment and a somewhat risky one at that*, why not buy a format that you can read on virtually any device out there, including, oh, yes, the actual Kindle device itself, which in its latest iteration has become even more attractively priced and better provisioned with useful features. You can get a nicely designed and improved Kindle now for only $80. Yes, $80.

And, what’s more, you’ll find, usually, the best prices on e-books are also to be found with Amazon’s Kindle platform.

What about the iPad? Well, as much as I hate to say it, I enjoy reading my Kindle formatted e-books on it better than iBookstore titles. Why? Simple: price. By and large, I find that Kindle titles are priced lower on Amazon, than the same e-book formatted for the iBookstore. I’ve got to tell you, at this point, I really don’t know why I, as a publisher, would even be all that anxious to release my titles in Apple’s much more restrictive and less diverse format, just to sell it in the iBookstore.

So, at this point, I’m still a big advocate for Amazon’s Kindle platform for e-book reading. What are your thoughts?

*Why is purchasing an e-book a somewhat risky proposition? Who knows if you will be able to use it in the future. Can we expect, for example, that Amazon will make all future versions of whatever its e-book reading platform is backward compatible with all previous editions/formats and versions? I don’t know. There’s the rub and there’s the advantage of a physical book over an e-book, any day and every day. Plus, trying to copy and paste sections elsewhere for reference? Forget it. Proper citation and page numbers? Nope. Well, not yet anyway.

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Categories: eBooks
  1. Vik
    November 16th, 2011 at 15:43 | #1

    Now that’s good to know. I only read physical books, myself, but everyone else I know goes the e-book route. Very useful info, and I am one of the ones who did not know about the “platform”!

  2. dwcasey
    November 16th, 2011 at 15:50 | #2

    Nice write up. I recently purchased a Kindle w/Keyboard, but have been using the Kindle App for quite a while.

    The availability of CPH books, the fact I can check out library books, the whole lending and loaning options are all very good. But the big thing for me is they ( the kindle devices ) are so easy to read on. Effortless. I’m reading now more than ever.

    And I have tablets, smartphones ( and real books ) etc and they just don’t stack up to the Kindle.

    What I would like to see are more Lutheran ( LCMS/CPH ) blogs or regular updated publications.

    The books are great, but I consume a lot of written content on daily basis via blogs ( Lutheran or otherwise ). Having the experimental browser is nice, but something I could subscribe to that just show up on the device and would give me daily devotions ( a la praynow or something similar ) would be great.

  3. Rob Kuefner
    November 16th, 2011 at 15:54 | #3

    My new Kindle is charging as I type this, as is my Kindle Fire, and both for a almost half the cost of the cheapest IPad! I love the Kindle for reading, and since I’m already tied into the Amazon sphere, it just made sense to go for the Fire versus the IPad. I always think it’s important to go with what works for the individual, based on their needs etc., but I wholeheartedly agree with you regarding being able to read Kindle books on every type of device. It makes it especially attractive and a less expensive venture as well.

  4. Rev. Scott Yakimow
    November 16th, 2011 at 16:34 | #4

    I recently purchased a Kindle book, and it included page numbers in addition to ‘location’ numbers. Oddly, it was a book originally published in 2002, while another Kindle book I bought that was published in 2011 did not. Go figure.

  5. November 16th, 2011 at 18:27 | #5

    The Kindle Fire can use Android Apps, from the Amazon Android App Store. I hope we can get the Treasury of Daily Prayer app, called “Pray Now” in the iTunes App store, for the Android. Any updates on its development? I hope it’s not shelved.

    • November 17th, 2011 at 08:33 | #6

      PrayNow for Android should be out by the end of December, as well as the Pastoral Care Companion App for iOS and Android.

  6. Amy
    November 17th, 2011 at 06:56 | #7

    I know you don’t like the Nook, and I get what you’re saying about the Concordia books, but the Nook platform is available for all of those devices as well. Just saying. Don’t act like the Kindle is the only one who does that.

    • November 17th, 2011 at 08:32 | #8

      The other *major* problem with the Nook is that it is tied to Barnes and Noble, which has fallen on hard times recently, so its future is uncertain. Amazon is a more stable company.

  7. Rev. Allen Yount
    November 17th, 2011 at 10:19 | #9

    There is a fantastic website http://www.retroread.com where you can convert public domain Google ebooks to Kindle format and send them directly to your Kindle, all for free. Some of the titles I’ve converted and stored on my Kindle include Luther’s Manual of the Psalms (what Reading the Psalms with Luther is based upon), Krauth’s Conservative Reformation, Schmauk’s Confessional Principle, and Jacobs’ Elements of Religion. It’s like being able to go through the library of an old retired Lutheran pastor and take all the books you want, without worrying about where you’ll put them all.

  8. Robert Franck
    November 17th, 2011 at 16:09 | #10

    Will CPH continue to offer selections in epub format?

  9. November 17th, 2011 at 16:13 | #12

    The addition of touch to the basic Kindle should be a great advance in usability for books like The Lutheran Study Bible that have many links and large tables of contents.

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