Archive for January 27th, 2010

The Kindle reader: how does it fare for historians?

27 January 2010

Contributed by Sarah Arndt

This Christmas brought me the newest version of Amazon’s digital book reader the Kindle. It was purchased as a solution for my increasingly problematic collection of books.  Many in academia can sympathize with my obsessive purchasing of books, and my inability to part with any – no matter how old or unread.  However the Kindle, though extremely useful in many ways, is not likely to completely take the place of traditional books purchases.

Its use as an academic tool for researchers and students depends on what types of materials you regularly read, and your willingness to upload different formats. While Amazon advertises over 400,000 titles available digitally, few if any of the specialist history books required by researchers and students are available. The history section mostly focuses on various strands of American history.  Having said this, any PDF document can be read on the Kindle making it ideal for reading online articles, older digitized books and theses which otherwise have to be read on the computer.  MS Word documents can also be converted and read on the Kindle.  Readers can add their own notes to any book or document, and look up the definition of any word, although these features are a bit awkward to use.

Perhaps its biggest personal selling point is for casual reading.  Read more