PC World Magazine says “Amazon Kindle Sales Defy IPad by Rising Each Month in Q2“. This does not come as a surprise for a number of reasons. One is that the Kindle is a great product that is highly intuitive and easy to use. People get addicted to it and they tell their friends and family about it. I have been wanting to read Michael Lewis’s The Big Short but it was not available until recently on the Kindle. I waited. Great book, by the way. I know people who told me a few years ago that they had no interest in the Kindle but now are addicted. It was a popular gift item last holiday season and with the price reduced (again) it has become attractive to a much larger audience. Another factor is that the iPad is not the Kindle killer that some had thought. As described here a number of times, the iPad is great but not for for long periods and not for reading outdoors. Summer reading is the sweet spot for the Kindle.
Now we have the new Kindle DX. The “old” Kindle DX was already quite nice. We have been using it as an “electronic flight bag” for roughly 15,000 approach and airport charts. The Kindle reduces clutter in the cockpit but the iPad does a better job as an EFB since it has numerous aviation applications that enable pilots to calculate weight and balance, get the latest weather, and file flight plans directly with the FAA. Now that we have the iPad the DX can revert to the original reason we got it — reading newspapers and magazines. The DX is great for books too but the smaller Kindle is more comfortable to hold. The sweetspot for the DX is magazines, newspapers, and documents. Putting the DX on a stand and flipping through the Sunday paper is a treat. And now with the new DX it will be even better.
The new 9.7″ diagonal, high contrast e-ink screen has 50% better contrast than it’s predecessor. The Kindle DX display looks and reads like real paper, with no glare. With the free 3G wireless (no monthly payments and no contract) and the lower price, the DX is going to be a good choice for many people. Battery life is great too — read for up to 1 week on a single charge; turn wireless off and read for up to two weeks. The built-in PDF Reader has enhanced zoom capability to easily view small print and detailed tables or graphics. For professionals who have thousands of documents it will be a natural.
There will be a lot of competition for tablets and e-readers but from what I have seen so far the iPad and the Kindle, and the Kindle DX are the best. I love my iPad but for reading books the Kindle is better. I especially like being able to go back and forth between the iPhone 4, the Kindle, the Kindle DX, and the Kindle e-reader on the iPad and always have the bookmark synced to where I last was reading. As for newspapers and magazines the next move needs to be from the publishers who seem frozen with indecision. They want to charge a lot of money for their content but most of us don’t want to pay. Why pay for a New York Times app on the iPad when you can read the New York Times blogs on Pulse for free? As for magazines there is great potential for electronic versions but I don’t think people will pay the $4.99 for each new issue that Time and Wired are charging. I expect a lot of news about the news in the months ahead.