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The Hits and Misses of the New Kindle Paperwhite


Posted on 2013-Sep-05

by Panich Choonhanirunrit (Google+)

2nd Gen Kindle Paperwhite

The recent flood of latest announcements from Amazon brings new level of excitement to the owners of eReading devices. Regardless of the launch of Kobo’s tablets and eReaders and the ongoing leaked photos of the latest Sony Reader, it seems Amazon seizes this opportunity to relive its significant moment to launch its famous eReader. The newly revamped Kindle Paperwhite promises better performance and integration with Amazon’s newly acquired book discovery site, Goodreads. According to the official press release, the headline boasts of several new features that will help readers achieve a better reading experience.

Kindle Ecosystem plus Goodreads Integration

Kids

According to Amazon founder and CEO, “Kindle is the best-selling eReader in the world for six years running.” The new Kindle Paperwhite receives the benefit of the Kindle ecosystem, Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, Kindle Singles, Kindle Worlds to name a few. Although the hardware design might not be revolutionary, the new features will have you hooked on reading seamlessly especially when Goodreads can put bookworms’ social interaction to good use. Readers can share their book’s list and discover new books based on their friends’ suggestion.

What Actual Readers Say

Megaphone

Let’s hear what the actual users make of the new Kindle Paperwhite. The Passive Voice’s commenters voice positive feedback that they might get one for themselves. The integration with Goodreads can entice one user to actually start exploring the book discovery website. Despite all the positivity, Karen Myers shares her concern about format-bound limitation. Instead of being restricted to Amazon’s eBook proprietary format (i.e. MOBIKF8), she seems to prefer the more flexible choice through EPUB using automated software.

No Text-to-Speech Support Yet

Apart from the restriction in other eBook formats support, David Rothman of TeleRead highlights the plight of having no Text-to-Speech (TTS) support in the latest Kindle eReader. Despite being intrigued by the list of new features, the lack of TTS issue was raised last year during the release of Kindle Paperwhite (2012 version). To say that Amazon is only associated with Audible is an understatement; the company bought a TTS technology company early this year. David explains that there is a reason why Amazon does not add TTS feature to the recent releases. Perhaps, they want to push their customers to buy Kindle Fire tablets that support audio books straight from Audible, “the Internet’s leading provider of digital audiobooks.” Being the self-proclaimed “huge fan of the company (Amazon),” David encourages librarians to make their voice heard given the circumstance that that TTS is widely used among public library users. Two comments criticize this issue and suggest buying an iPad instead. Frank Lowney makes a point of its open system that allows the reader to download any app they want rather than being tied to one ecosystem. According to Michael W. Perry, using TTS on Kindle 3 was very handy. When he was sick and lied in bed for a few days, the said Kindle helped him “beat back the boredom” in the dark. For young kids who do not know how to read, they can just listen to the story instead. So far, TTS fans will need probably stick to their tablets to listen to their favorite stories.

Keeping up the Affordable Tradition

Dinner

Maintaining the affordable price tag starts from $119 (Wi-Fi model), Amazon does its best to price match the previous generation. Having raised the bar high in book business and publishing industry, it is undeniable that the gigantic bookstore has made the right decision being a manufacturer of eReading devices and a provider of digital contents. Every step they take is considered a significant move towards making a reader’s life easier and more enjoyable. With the new integration with Goodreads, ratings and friend’s recommendation might become more relevant to determine reader’s behavior why they should read what others have praised or avoid the books that have been dissed. But nothing is perfect. The incompatibility with EPUB and the lack of TTS might be troublesome for some who wish they could expect more from their eReader as compared to the multi-tasking and color display tablets. Hopefully, Amazon will address issues in the next hardware and provide an alternative solution to win favor from avid readers.

For what it is worth, the 2nd generation Paperwhite’s preorder starts now before the actual product will be shipped right to your doorstep on September 30, 2013.

Label: eBook Industry News

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