How to chose a Kindle Christmas Gift

Some of you might have a Kindle on your Christmas list or be playing Santa for someone with a Kindle on their lists. Kindle shopping is more confusing now than when I bought my Kindle last March. Amazon now offers a variety of Kindles with a variety of features. How do you choose? It depends on what you want to do with your Kindle.

I can help if your Gift Receiver wants to
Use the Kindle for Reading Novels.

And there are better electronic items for everything else except for reading novels on an eReader.

I don’t use my Kindle to:

Play Games,
Read magazines,
Surf the Net,
Read Blogs.

I don’t need 3-G.

My Kindle can hold thousands of books. I can buy several books when I have a Wi-Fi connection. I can survive not being able to connect to Wi-FI someplace.

That eliminates: Kindle Fire $199, Kindle Touch 3-G $149, Kindle Keyboard 3-G $139.

That leaves: [A] Kindle $79, [B] Kindle Touch WFi $99, [C] Kindle Keyboard WiFi*, [D] Kindle DX $379.00

I use my Kindle [C] to Read Novels, therefore:

  1. I want readable black type.
  2. I need to turn the page.
  3. I want it light weight.
  4. I want it easy to hang onto.
  5. I want a long battery life.
  6. I need it to hold ebooks
  7. I need to be to scroll my library menu to chose a book.

So how to ch0ose: (By desired function list above)

  1. The Kindles that use e-ink are far superior to read black type on. The type is not made up of pixels, it is solid black e-ink and the page has no-glare. (Kindles with color do not use e-ink; the type is made up of all 3 colors, have pixels, and the glare of a back-lit screen) So [A], [B], [C], [D] will work well.
  2. Easily done. On [A]. [C], and [D] press a button, on [C] you just tap the screen.
  3. [A] wins with a weight of Weighs 5.98 oz. [B] Weighs 7.5 oz., [C] Weighs 8.5 0z.
    Don’t chose the heavy [D] – weighs 18.9 oz.
  4. A complaint about the Kindle is it’s easy to press keys or turn pages while picking up or holding it to read, especially while getting used to it.
    [B] Has the biggest area on the bottom to hang onto but of course touch screens can be well touchy. If you like touch screens [B] has the easiest grip. I’m one of those people who hate touch screens and mess up when I touch them, so for those like me [A] is the easiest to hold. There is only a 5-way controller and a button on each side leaving more space than. [C] is probably the hardest of the e-ink Kindles to hold but I own [C] and have learned not to press stuff accidentally by keeping my thumb in very limited areas. [D] is like a big [C] so might have a little more grip room but otherwise the same downfalls.
  5. [B] and [C] have the longest battery life–2 months**. [A] lasts one month, [D] lasts 3 weeks. All adequate since they are easy and quick to charge on youtr PC or wall outlet.
  6. Kindle [B], [C], and [D] have 4GB or 3,000 books (average), Kindle [A]  has 2GB or 1,400 books. Note that more books can be stored for free on Amazon Cloud. How many books do you really need at your finger tips?
  7. Navigation is likely to be a key factor in purchase choice. Assuming you only read novels on Kindle and usually chose books from on your PC you will not be navigating so much. If you like to make notes and highlight sentences, and shop on your kindle you’ll be navigating more. I prefer ordering my books on my PC and having the arrive on my Kindle via whispernet. I do sometimes order book on kindle keyboard but would rather not. That said. [B], [C], [D], are superior to [A] in navigation. It’s a mater of what you like better, keyboard or touch.
    [A] is the hardest to navigate. You have to move the cursor click by click using the 5 way navigation button. Scrolling through your library is easy and similar to using [C] or [D]. The keyboard is a picture on the screen and you have to use 5-way click step your way to each letter. Typing in words would be very tedious.

Your decision should be easy now. Prices are based on Kindles with special offers (ads). Click to see my post  about Kindle with Special Offers/Ads.

Based on what is most important to me I would by [A] Kindle—if I didn’t already own one. The lighter weight and less buttons to accidentally push outweigh the navigation obstacles (the way I buy ebooks). The shorter battery life won’t be problem. I’m already in the habit of  plugging my Kindle into a wall outlet next to my bed as needed.

*New Kindle Keyboard with Special Offers is not available for order. I don’t know if they’re out of stock or being phased out. They do have Kindle Keyboard without Ads, which is what I actually own, for $139 which is what I paid last March.

** I read a lot so the battery life for [C] is actually about 2 weeks. Customer service told me the Kindle runs better when 1/2 or more charged so I charge more often. Forgetting to disconnect WiFi after ordering will drastically shorten battery time.

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Discounted Kindle w/Special Offers Explained

About Kindles with Special Offers:
Amazon has been offering a Kindle Wi-Fi with Ads for a $25 discounted price–$114 instead of $139 and recently added Kindle 3G with Special offers, regularly $189 is now $164. $139.*  When I first heard about this offer I thought

$25 is not enough to make anyone put up with commercials! 

Recently I stumbled upon a Kindleboard commenter who loved the special offers and bragged about how much they’ve saved using them. Huh?
I decided to find out more about these offers and found it’s not a bad deal after all.

“Special Offers” do NOT appear IN your eBooks or interfere with reading!

They appear as Screensavers instead of the Author Portrait and other, often weird, images–that’s not a bad thing. They also appear in a banner on the bottom of  your home screen.  Here are example images of credit card ads on Screen Saver and Home Page. I could live with these. 

According to Amazon past special offers include, a $20 Amazon Gift card, Choose a $1 Kindle Book from a book list of thousands, Spend $10 in Kindle books get a $10 Amazon Gift Card, $500 saving on a HDTV.  Who would be opposed to saving money?

Still, I don’t believe twenty-five bucks would make a significant enough price range change to make the Kindle affordable to those who can not afford $139.  It’s a shame they couldn’t at least discount the price to under $100

*Update: Kindle 3G w/Special Offers price was lowered to $139 between the writing and publishing of this post. A $50 discount, now they are talking. No reduction on the $114 Kindle WiFI  w/Special offers. Yet?

Related articles: Amazon, AT&T Announce Ad-Supported Kindle 3G for $139 (pcworld.com)

Note: The Kindle images are not crooked; it’s an optical illusion!

Top Ten Most Well-Read Cities in America

Amazon compiled a list of 20 cities based on their sales of printed and Kindle format book, magazine, and newspaper sales for the first 5 months of 2011. Only cities with populations over 100,000 were used.

Amazon’s rather arrogant assumption is that their sales data reflects the reading habits of all American readers, including library users and others who do not buy reading material from Amazon but do indeed read regularly. Perhaps their data does represent a liable random sample similar to the Nelson ratings, perhaps not.  The problem is better data is not available since,

Book Publishers and Bookstores are notoriously
stingy with statistical data for the buying habits
and demographics of their consumers.

My point?
If Amazon is the only one compiling and sharing data, then their statistics are all we have to use. (Just another nail in the coffin for traditional publishing practices.)
So on with my Top Ten Tuesday List:

Top Ten Most Well-Read Cities in America

1. Cambridge, Massachusetts

2. Alexandria, Virginia

3. Berkeley, California

4. Ann Arbor, Michigan

5. Boulder, Colorado

6. Miami, Florida

7. Salt Lake City, Utah

8. Gainesville, Florida

9. Seattle, Washington

10. Arlington,Virginia

Cities 11 through 20 on Amazons list; Knoxville, TN; Orlando, FL; Pittsburgh, PE; Washington DC; Bellevue, WA; Columbia, SC; St. Louis, MO; Cincinnati, OH; Portland, OR.