Technical books and the Amazon Kindle: How useful is this interface?

December 29, 2009 at 4:20 pm | Posted in Study hints | 2 Comments
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As many of you may know, I am the proud owner of an Amazon Kindle 2. I received my Kindle in February and have loved it ever since. Currently, I have 134 books on my Kindle, plus another 84 archived titles that I have read since my Kindle arrived. I am currently reading the works of Jane Austen “for fun,” which was a free download on my Kindle. But it’s one of my other purchases that I wanted to take some time to talk about.

For a while, I have wondered just how technical books (which can be rather lengthy and include lots of graphics) would look displayed on a Kindle screen. Then an opportunity arrived for me to actually purchase a technical book that was available for my Kindle to work on a project for Transcender. (Not all IT technical publications are available in a Kindle version. How do you feel about this?)

I am currently revising our CISSP exam. As part of this revision, I needed to obtain the latest version of Shon Harris’s CISSP All-in-One Exam Guide. When I went to purchase the book, I discovered that the Kindle version was available at about $10 less than the printed version. Considering that….and the fact that carrying around my 2-lb Kindle is much easier than the 1,000-page printed version… I “convinced” Aima to let me use the eBooks version as the references cited in our practice test items, based on the rising popularity of eBooks. (OK, it really didn’t take that much convincing….but Aima lets me think that I convinced her.)

And just think of the trees that I am saving!

After I purchase the Kindle version of the All-in-One Exam Guide by Shon Harris, it downloaded to my Kindle is less than 1 minute from Amazon’s Whispernet. I quickly went to work comparing my printed Third Edition to the eBook Fourth Edition. Overall, my experience reading the book is not all that different than with the printed version.

A Table of Contents is included in the Kindle version, which allows easy navigation through the book. I love the Search feature that allows me to search for terms and other text. And I can even insert my own notes, highlights, and bookmarks to the book.

The only drawback I experienced was a graphic issue where some graphics were hard to read on the small screen. However, there are two different approaches to addressing this problem:

  1. Purchase a Kindle DX that includes a much larger screen (and is being used in many colleges in a pilot program for educational institutions).
  2. View the eBook on your PC using the Kindle For PC application.

I installed the Kindle For PC application, and the graphics look awesome. So my dilemma is fixed!

So what’s the verdict? Will I purchase any more technical books for my Kindle? Or will I continue to purchase printed versions? Here it is, folks: it’s the Kindle version for me from now own. If a book that I need is available in a Kindle version, I will be purchasing the Kindle version…and receiving it within minutes…Hah! You have no idea just how convenient it is.

I hope this will help encourage some of you to take that step into the eBook domain. Whether you purchase a Kindle or some other company’s product, I think you will quickly understand the usefulness of this newest hot gadget.



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  1. My Kindle is locked on the pictures that appear when the Kindle is not in use.

    • The cutting edge of technology: sometimes it gives you a great shave, and sometimes you get razor burn. I hope the Kindle issue is resolved quickly for you by the manufacturer.

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