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Amazon Kindle eReader
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You've seen it on the train, you've seen it on planes. If you've wandered outside in the past few years, chances are extremely good that you've seen Amazon's powerhouse of an eReader being used by several people to read their books in public. If you're in the market to be buying an eReader, wouldn't you like to get a better peek at what this may look like? Wouldn't you like to know what you're getting yourself into before you buy? Join us as we take you into the user experience of Amazon's Kindle eReader software.
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The overall experience of reading an eBook on the Amazon Kindle is very natural. For the older Kindle Keyboard, the buttons on the side, as well as the QWERTY keyboard will allow you easy control over most functions like searching for titles in the Amazon Kindle eBook store. Until the release of the Amazon Kindle Touch, the user experience of the Kindle didn't stray very much from the very first iteration.
The earlier models still have the same "dip to black" effect that the Keyboard has, but the Kindle Touch minimizes this by 3/4ths. It can be a little distracting, but it's a small tradeoff. If you find the font size to be unsatisfactory, by clicking the "Menu" button, or tapping the "Menu" icon on the Kindle Touch, you can change the size of the font to one of several options. Because different font sizes make page numbers rather pointless, your progress in reading is marked by a percentage instead.
In addition to all this, Amazon somewhat recently added the ability to select passages from your favorite eBooks and post them to your Facebook or Twitter feed directly from your Kindle. It's an interesting social media function, but one that's not heavily advertised.
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Buying eBooks on any iteration of the Amazon Kindle is excessively easy to do, as the eBook store support for the Kindle eReaders is unparallelled in its simplicity. Once you've made an account with Amazon, and registered your device complete with billing information, you can search for your titles in the store (reached by slicking the "Store" option in the home screen), then tap "buy" to purchase and download.
Kindle users with a subscription to the Amazon Prime service should be aware that they do not always have to pay for their eBooks if their local library participates in the Amazon Kindle Lending Library program. Not only can users borrow titles in eBook format for up to 30 days, but they can also lend them as well to other users, all at no cost (minus the Prime membership). Avid readers, or users who are most concerned with eBook content on their tablets/eReaders should strongly consider this feature when buying their slate of choice.
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Due to the nature of the Kindle's ability to connect to the web via 3G or WiFi (depending upon the unit you buy), users are able to subscribe to periodicals in the eBook format via the eBook store, which is a very cool thing to have if you regularly read during your morning commute. The Kindle platform allows you to automatically download the newest issue of a newspaper or magazine if you pay for the subscription, and it reads very much like an eBook does. Observe for yourself.
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Because eInk screens have physical limitations that prevent them from refreshing more than once or twice a second, web browsing and checking email are next to impossible on the eReader units. Not only is it a pain for them to load, but it is also very difficult to change the scale of each page, requiring several zooms that take a few seconds to load each time. At the time of writing, this feature is far more trouble than it's worth, but that's not to say that Amazon won't improve this feature in the future.