The 3G connection is, without a doubt, a fantastic feature – the ability to buy any book and have it delivered to you in seconds is quite compelling. So, if you happen to be chatting to someone on the train home and they recommend a book, you can buy that book and have it delivered to your Kindle instantly. It also means that if you finish a book, you can browse for something new to read straight away.
The wireless nature of the Kindle also lends itself well to periodicals. There’s something undeniably cool about picking up your Kindle and finding your preferred newspaper downloaded and ready to read – ideal for the morning commute. However, the experience isn’t everything it should be.
The problem with subscribing to newspapers or magazines is that you don’t get any pictures! Well, that’s not entirely true, US customers get pictures, but everyone else has to do without. What’s really galling about this situation is that even if you subscribe to a British publication like The Times (as I did), you still get no pictures. It’s fairly obvious that the reason behind this is that Amazon doesn’t want to stump up the data costs to deliver images outside the US, but it just highlights the fact that Amazon in the UK should be offering Kindle content to UK users.
Another issue with the US Kindle store is the limited catalogue, especially when you consider that it’s been up and running for a good couple of years now. The first book I searched for was The Catcher in the Rye, but all I was presented with was study guides on Salinger’s classic. Likewise, Harper Lee’s equally brilliant work, To Kill a Mockingbird is also conspicuous by its absence.
But even if you can find the book you’re looking for, the Kindle experience still isn’t all it should be. I decided to buy The Messiah’s Handbook by Richard Bach, which, if you’ve read any of Bach’s work, you’ll be aware that this is the book that Donald Shimoda gave to him in Illusions, but I digress. Despite the fact that the paperback version of this book cost around $7, and the hardback version cost under $10, the Kindle version set me back $13!
Considering that there are no printing costs, no shipping costs, and nothing physical to move in and out of stock, I can’t quite understand why the Kindle version of a book is more expensive than the hardback edition. I should be fair and mention that checking today, the Kindle price has dropped to the same level as the hardback, but it should still be cheaper.