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on 16 March 2013
This review is intended to answer all your questions about the Kindle that you may need answers for to help you consider purchasing the Kindle.

There are two current types of Kindle ereader: the £69 basic Kindle (this one) and the All New Kindle Paperwhite (the "All New" denotes that this is the 2nd generation Paperwhite). I now own both the £69 basic Kindle and the All New Kindle Paperwhite. Please read my review on the Paperwhite for further comparisons between the two models.

If you would like a touch screen device that you can read in the dark, flip around the book a bit and read footnote or character heavy books much more easily, you may wish to consider the Paperwhite. If you would like a budget device and don't need these features, consider this Kindle.
Personally, I find it worth forking out an extra £40 for all the extra features on the Paperwhite.

The Kindle has about 2 gigabytes of storage and can hold about 1,400 eBooks. The main formats it can read are the Kindle formats (AZW3, AZW and MOBI), PDF, TXT, DOC and DOCX. It also has an "experimental" web browser, but does not support audio.

It features an E-Ink display, which is unlike any other, such as the most common (LCD), which is used in tablets, mobile phones and televisions, etc. An E-Ink pixel is a tiny capsule that carries black and white particles suspended in a fluid. The particles are moved around by charges. Natural light then reflects off the particles on the surface, making the pixel visible. So, if the white particles are moved to the top of the capsule, it will appear as white.
E-Ink only uses up battery power when changing the contents of the display. It does not give out light, so although it looks great in sunlight, it is not visible in the dark.


Q. If my Kindle breaks, will I lose my books?
A. No, they are backed up on your Amazon account.

Q. Is Wi-Fi necessary?
A. No! EBooks can be transferred via a USB port on a computer.

Q. Will it save my place in a book?
A. Yes, it saves your place in every book, even after it is deleted and downloaded again!

Q. Can page numbers be shown?
A. If page numbers are available for the book, they will appear when you press the menu button.

Q. Can the text size be changed?
A. Yes, there are 8 different font sizes.

Q. Can it read the common format ePub?
A. No. However, the free open-source software Calibre is good for converting ebooks, although it will not convert DRM (digital rights management) protected books.

Q. Are there many free classics available?
A. Yes! Over 40,000 titles are available free from manybooks.net and gutenberg.org! These are in the public domain, so they were mostly published before 1923 (copyright laws changed in that year).

Q. How long does the battery last?
A. Amazon states 14 hours (1 month at half an hour's usage every day) with Wifi turned off. I find that it is at least that, if not longer.

I will now give you the pros and cons of the device.


- The E-Ink screen is great to read in bright sunlight and causes no eye strain! The screen also has a matt finish so it does not create annoying reflections as other screens do.

- The inbuilt Oxford Dictionary of English allows you to move the cursor to a word on the page and get a definition of three lines at the bottom or top, so as to not interrupt your reading. A full definition is also available at two clicks of a button.

- It only takes about 1-2 seconds to turn on from full power off and comes back on in the same place you left it.

- Permanent bookmarks can be saved. You can also highlight passages, and it shows you passages that have been highlighted many times by others. (This can be turned off from settings).

- Foreign language to English dictionaries can be bought so you can quickly look up words in foreign books. I have one of these, and I recommend them.

- It has page turn buttons on each side so you can read one-handed.

- There is a 'go to' option from menu that can take you to the cover, the table of contents, the beginning or the end.


- E-Ink is not visible in the dark. It also looks quite grey when not in reasonably bright light. The Paperwhite, with its frontlight, is visible in the dark as well as in sunlight, and looks white in all conditions.

- E-Ink is monochrome (it can show shades of grey only). However, this doesn't bother me, because book covers still look fine in black and white. BE AWARE that if you go for the Kindle Fire for its colour backlit display, it will probably give you eyestrain and is also very difficult to read in sunlight. However, some people are immune to eyestrain.

- Your eBooks are nearly impossible to have on one device from different accounts. It is impossible to buy from two accounts at once for one device. BUY ALL EBOOKS FROM ONE ACCOUNT.

- It cannot read ePub format, and cannot be used with libraries in the UK as far as I know. In the USA, many libraries are now supporting Kindle books.

- The experimental web browser is slow to navigate.

- Typing is very slow because an on-screen keyboard comes up and you navigate it with the arrow keys.

- There is noticeable `ghosting' when set to refresh every 6 pages, especially on the 5th and 6th pages.

- Occasionally it may start doing a very fast flash between every page (even when set to refresh every 6 pages), quite unlike the smooth transition of refreshing. This also causes ghosting and less sharp text. I recently discovered that this occurs when the screen warms up! This means that reading in the sunlight can be annoying after 10 minutes or so.


- Up to 6 devices can be registered to one account.

- You can email eBooks and documents to the Kindle by sending to an address allocated to you by Amazon.
- If you press the keyboard button from anywhere on the device it gives you options to search your eBooks and documents, the book you are reading, the dictionary, Google and even Wikipedia.

I'm more than happy to answer any more questions!

To conclude, the Kindle is great, but could be improved slightly. However, it is certainly worth buying.
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on 3 January 2013
Buying a bog standard, lower end kindle for myself with Xmas money was purely on the basis of money available at the time. That said, I would have no intention of buying any other reader when this one eventually expires because I've thrashed it too much. ;-)

My reason is simple. I have an ipad but for reading, the glass screen tended to glare after a while. Don't get me wrong i adore the ipad but I wanted a book reader that does that and that alone.

The screen is built for no glare and reads just like a book.

The keyboard has been removed and put 'on-screen' to make for lighter reading. And if you just want to read this a big plus.

The buttons on the side to move forward or backwards a page are so subtle that it will become second nature and not interfere with your attention to the story. (Buttons are on both sides for lefties and righties too. God I love this product)

There is no backlight so there is absolutely no artificial leanings to the reading experience. It reads like a book should and buying a case with light feels like a book with a lamp on when you're in bed snuggled up.

For some, what I have said above may seem like they have 'left out' certain perks so they can reach the budget buyers but for me all the above confirms (and will to the readers who love a proper book and are unsure whether to change), is that everything that is unnecessary when all you want to do is read a book isn't there.

The best way to sum it up is.........

This Kindle is bog standard. It does nothing more than 'be' a reader. There's no fancy asides. It is what it is. And it does it perfectly.
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on 8 October 2012
I was going to buy one of these, but went to a shop to try it out. I ended up not buying. Why ? It just felt too weird for me. Too much NOT like a real book. Just one page ! Now then .... when Kindle bring one out that opens up to two pages ... just like a real book .... I'll be interested, but until then .... no, I'm sticking with the real thing. It just feels right. The Kindle doesn't.
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on 25 September 2012
Unfortunately I had my Kindle stolen while on holiday and this one was to replace it. It was an exact match to the one I had but because of the reduction in price the insurance covered the cost and I was over the moon when I found that I could just re-download all the books that I had on my Kindle. I could even afford to buy another cover. Although this is the most basic Kindle it does what it says on the box - I'm able to read anywhere with ease and store enough books so that I won't run out of reading material unexpectedly. Whoever invented this idea deserves a knighthood. Thankyou.
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on 7 October 2012
I have had a Kindle for over 2 years now and have found it to be a very good reading medium. HOWEVER, I would urge caution if you are thinking about buying one !! Why, you may ask. Well it is not that there is anything wrong at all with the machine BUT Amazon's policy is such that libraries are not able to allow you to download from their increasingly large and nationwide e-book lending system.
If I was buying again - I am afraid that I would avoid the Kindle simply because of this policy. What is the use of having a means whereby you can borrow books (and remember you are paying your rates for the upkeep of libraries) but Amazon won't allow you to use it.
Come on Amazon - think again.
I am a teacher and have seen the debate develop about which is the best e-reader. Guess which one I will be directing the pupils away from due to this restrictive use which will become even more annoying as more and more people on alternative platforms can access books (for free) which I can't.

From West Lothian Libraries site :
If you are a member of West Lothian Libraries, you can login into our secure eBook service and select up to 3 eBooks to download at any one time for up to 21 days, 24/7 absolutely free!
This service will only be available from your home PC,Apple or Android device. It will not be available in your local library.
*Our eBook Service is not compatible with Amazon Kindle due to Amazon's policy
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on 1 May 2013
I am so sad that this is the review I had to write. I was given my Kindle as a birthday present and was delighted, because as an avid, but broke, reader of fiction, I'd wanted one but couldn't quite justify the cost. It was sleek, lightweight and comfortable to read with. Great for commuting and travel, which I do a lot of, and for saving space on my ridiculously over-flowing bookshelf.

And then the problems began: just 4 months in, I took it out of my handbag and its case, 20 mins after I'd last been reading it, and a message on screen told me it was broken and I needed to contact Amazon. After a bit of hunting round (seriously Amazon you need to make you contact details easier to find!), the help desk were very apologetic and said they'd send a replacement straight away. 2 days later - brand new Kindle and a pre-paid box to send the defective one back.

11 months later the screen failed. Now stupidly, given my good experience last time, I thought Amazon would be helpful - after all this Kindle was within its 12 month warranty period .... but no. Apparently, Amazon only care whilst you're within the ORIGINAL 12 month period, so no matter if their replacement is defective too.

Call me old-fashioned, but I expect something I'm paying between £80 and £100 for (current and original prices) to work longer than 14 months ... in fact I believe it's called being fit for purpose under the Sale of Goods Act - the Amazon rep had never heard of that by the way - all they could offer was a "discounted" replacement which was in fact the discontinued Kindle Touch for £78 - I just wanted to replace my Kindle which would have cost £79 brand new. I haven't bothered.

I'm lucky because I can still read my Kindle books on my iPad - no sign of THAT breaking yet, and anyway Apple customer service is generally good (irrelevant, I know). In short, the Kindle is great, but don't expect it to last, or Amazon to care when it doesn't. Be aware that this may mean you can't read your Kindle library afterwards (unless you have the Kindle app on another device. Check out the Kindle forums for MANY other people with the same issues. In fact, just this week, my friends have had both their Kindles fail, with different problems, both now 2 years old and well looked after....

Sorry, Amazon - not nearly good enough.
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on 9 November 2012
I have to give this product 1 star to highlight the apparently widespread and growing problem with premature device failure. Specifically screen freeze, 'lines of death' and other screen related faults. This is a replacement Kindle bought at a discount as our 3G keyboard version died at 20 months. (Kept in a case, not abused, just like everyone else who is complaining). This version appears to share the same screen and therefore I am worried that it will suffer the same design defect.

For the Amazon apologists: I know that the warranty is 12 months. I appreciate that technically Amazon do not need to do anything to help out their customers who's devices fail outside of warranty and I am aware that there are undoubtedly people who have sat on their Kindle and expect it to be replaced by jumping on the screen failure bandwagon. I do realise that several million Kindles have been sold so even a small reported failure rate equates to hundreds of disaffected users who are willing to take the time to post a negative review for the product. Check out the user review section for the 3G keyboard version, recent posts are running at around 1/3 complaining of screen failure.

However: I do not think that it is unreasonable to expect an expensive (£130) eReader to last 5 years or more. I do expect that a device marketed for it's portability is actually constructed in a sufficiently robust way. I do think that these forums are a legitimate way to warn others that they should factor in replacement of their readers sooner rather than later when working out the economics of Kindle v other readers v paper.

Obviously I am in love with Kindle enough to buy another even though I could read my books on my iPad or my phone, but I would recommend that in it's current form factor that people buy this in the expectation that any use after 12 months is a bonus, so go for the cheapest option and save your money.
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on 21 October 2012
My comments are similar to those of some other reviews. Screen goes shortly after device is out of warranty. How convenient - for Amazon!
When you speak to customer service they're either rude or ignorant of the product - or both. There must be more ethical ways for multinational giants to do business. Cheating doesn't count. Or rather it does - for them. Beware.

Today I contacted Amazon via 'chat' and mentioned that another client experiencing the same problem as I experienced was offered a 20% discount
The person I 'chatted' with - a certain Ranjith - informed me that as I had already purchased a replacement Kindle (last week) a discount could not be applied but that - under the circumstances - I would be sent a free replacement (providing I return in due course the defective Kindle)

The review I refer to is:

1.0 out of 5 stars Screen died after 15 months - just outside warranty, 21 Oct 2012
By Sean M Paterson - See all my reviews
This review is from: Kindle, 6" E Ink Display, Wi-Fi, Black (Electronics)
Another good while it lasted...our kindle was taken care of and worked perfectly well until one day out of the blue the screen saver got stuck over part of the screen. Screen has now become unreadable and the best amazon can do is offer 20% discount off of a new one. This seems a common thread and i find it absolutely disgraceful that a £150 piece of kit seems to have such a short lifespan. This completely blows out of the water any savings versus physical books.
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on 22 September 2012
I haven't bought a kindle because you can't download Library books in the UK and I do not want to buy everything I want to read as I read a lot. I have had a look at other people's Kindles and it seems to be a good product with more features and better connectivity than the e-reader I have, but I won't be buying one until Amazon can come to an agreement with UK libraries as they have in the USA.
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on 20 September 2012
Very disappointed in this product only nine months old and has locked up bought it for our daughter consequently she has lost a considerable amount of reading material and no way of recuperating it come on amazon get this sortedthis needs addressing asap it does not engender confidence in the product when issues like this go unresolved
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