The Kindle Voyage’s new micro-etched glass display. Image via the Verge.
I love my iPad mini, but the “tablet” I love reading on most isn’t an iPad, it’s my Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-reader. It’s just a fantastically pure device that strips away everything that gets in the way of its major purpose: to read digital books as comfortably as possible.
Amazon has two new Kindles out, the Voyage, plus an update that brings touch to the cheapest Kindle. The new Voyage isn’t – as its name might suggest – waterproof ready for travel, but it does have a brighter screen and, get this, page turn buttons.
Do try this at home — if you’ve got a LokSak. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
Today I’m going to review a plastic bag. A new low, even for me? Maybe, but this is no ordinary plastic bag. It’s a bag that has beaten out pretty much every waterproof gadget case i’ve ever tested, because:
It fits almost every gadget I have
It weighs almost nothing. I can keep one in every bag I carry.
The bag is the LokSak, and it’s designed to keep your gadgets safe.
Chief among these are Wikipedia integration, letting readers pick selected words from any text they’re reading and link to the relevant Wikipedia page — particularly useful in the case of non-fiction books.
Today Amazon took the wraps off its Kindle Unlimited subscription, an all-you-can-read plan that was uncovered earlier this week. For $9.99 per month you get access to 600,000 Kindle titles, including “thousands” of audiobooks from Audible.
Everything is available though Amazon’s Kindle apps, including iOS and the Mac.
Kobo’s ebook reader trumps even the best Kindle on several fronts. Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
I just switched from Kindle to Kobo. Why? Amazon. It’s currently extorting publishing house Hachette by delaying orders and refusing to allow pre-orders for certain titles. The exact machinations are secret, but many people agree that Amazon is demanding discounts on ebooks.
I don’t want to see authors forced to get a second job to survive, so I switched. No more Kindle ebooks. I switched to Kobo, which has a great e-ink reader, a deep book catalog, and – most importantly – breakable DRM.
The results are mixed, with ups and downs for both the service and the hardware.
Last month, we reported that always reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was predicting that when Amazon finally gets into the smartphone business, it challenge the iPhone with a smartphone with as many as six different cameras. Kuo predicted that at least four of these cameras would be used for gesture control, allowing users to operate the smartphone without touching the touch panel.
We had a hard time wrapping our heads around it at the time, but now more data has come to light about how the system will work. And it sounds kind of dumb.
The iOS Kindle app just got an update, and it’s a good one. The left sidebar that you can summon while reading now has direct access to the table of contents, and you can access X-Ray info just by tapping on a word.
I must admit, I got pretty excited just now when I got an email from Amazon telling me that my Kindle documents had been integrated with my Cloud Drive. At last, I thought, I can easily upload personal documents and have my reading progress synced between all my Kindle devices and apps.
Next time you are traveling somewhere or commuting your way to work, look around you. It’s evident that the number of book lovers who have taken to reading on a digital format has risen significantly over the years. In 2011 and 2012, Amazon said it sold 105 books for its Kindle e-reader for every 100 hardcover and paperback books, excluding free eBooks.
Though it has become apparent in recent years that there is a slight fall in the growth of eBook sales (particularly so in 2013), eBooks are still far too compelling to die out, and today we tend to use more than one medium to consume the same thing. So next time you’re hesitating to pull out your Kindle or iPad mini on the bus or train due to the watchful eyes of a “book snob,” just remember that it’s not possible to please everyone, and that there are still thousands of benefits to the electronic book format.