After a great deal of um-ing and ah-ing, I’ve taken the plunge and bought a Kindle.

I’d been thinking of getting an e-book reader for some time, and the choice came down to the Kindle or the Sony equivalent: they’re probably as good as each other, but the Kindle had more positive reviews so I went for that.

After the first couple of weeks use, I’m pretty impressed. It not only displays books (in Amazon’s proprietary e-book format), but also PDFs, Word documents, various image file formats and several others. I’ve loaded it with all the work- related documents that I need to have will me when I do my ”grand tours” of our regional offices, so if nothing else it’ll save me considerable backache. I’ve also loaded a lot of stuff that I don’t normally carry around with me because it’s too heavy, but which I know will come in useful.

So what’s the reading experience? Pretty good. The display has been optimised to be as much like ink-on-paper as possible, and they’ve achieved it pretty well. It’s much lighter than a normal paperback and of course you can carry a load of books around you in one go – the reckon the storage is enough for 3500 paperback-sized books so you’ll struggle to ever fill it. Books can be categorised into “collections” (think folders on your computer) and you can have as many collections as you like. What you can’t have is subfolders, but that’s about the only criticism I’ve got.

The books are…well, books, although there’s a huge selection of free books available- basically everything that’s been piublished and is now old enough to be out of copyright is available as a free download, so it’s going to be a few years before I’ve got nothing to read, even if I never buy anything. It also seems to be a fairly cheap and easy process for self-publishers to publish their own work for the Kindle, and while that’s likely to lead to vast amounts of dross floating around, there’s also going to be some good stuff that wouldn’t otherwise see the light of day.

So – worthwhile purchase? Yes. I suspect I’ll still buy books sometimes – I wouldn’t want to read a Kindle by the poolside on holiday, and anything with a lot of picture content is going to be better on paper, at least until Kindles have colour screens (the black and white picture resolution is at least as good as a medium quality paperback). But for everyday reading – tea breaks, in bed and on the train or bus – it’s excellent.

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