The English Department's Blog

Jan 10

Lamp of Love, by alternate Eyes

I’ve had a Kindle for several months now, and I think it’s marvellous.  True, it’s nowhere near as satisfying as reading a really well-made book, but for practical reading (research and so on), it’s very nearly ace.  Ben Goldacre loves his, too.

And ace it is in many ways.  The fact that my annotations on books I’ve downloaded are synced between my Kindle and the computers I work on is an absolute boon.  I hate reading on screen – it’s too easy to find myself doing that thoughtless skim-reading characteristic of reading web pages – but having read a passage on the Kindle, later to be able to look up my annotations and make sense of them for future work is hugely useful.

And at last I can read those long, worthy articles from the London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books for which I cannot otherwise stir myself to get through, by using the Send to Kindle extension for Google Chrome.

But there is a catch, and I suppose this blog post is intended in whatever way it can to stir Amazon to rectify the problem: the articles I send to my Kindle cannot by synced with the desktop versions of the Kindle software.  I can make all the notes I want, but they will forever remain trapped on my Kindle device, losing out on all the wonderful cloudy goodness (I’m starting to sound like theoatmeal.com) which makes the Kindle work so well.

So, Amazon, please let me sync my documents as well as the books I download from your website.  It really would be a huge boon to me as a reader, and would make the Kindle a seriously useful research tool.

3 comments so far

  1. Mr Picardo
    10:11 am - 1-10-2012

    Yes, I still find reading from an actual book much easier than reading off a screen. Research suggests, however, that we are getting better all the time at reading off a screen. That is to say, when we started doing it we were rubbish at it but, as years (decades?) go on we appear to be slowly getting more proficient reading off a screen, although still a long way from being as proficient as we are reading off a printed materials.

    But I suspect that boat has sailed for me and I will never find a Kindle or an iPad as appealing as the feel of a book or as comfortable to read from as paper. Perhaps my son will have diametrically opposite views… or his son…

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