Is the Kindle for Woodworkers?

I just received a new Amazon Kindle 2.  As new gadgets go this one is very slick.  Instant gratification can be yours.  Need a book on inlay?  In less than two minutes you can navigate to the Kindle store, find "The Art of Inlay: Design and Tecnique for Fine Woodworking" by Larry Robinson and Richard Lloyd.  You download any Kindle-ready book (over 250,000 available at this time).  There are newspapers and magazines to subscribe to that deliver content directly to your Kindle overnight.  And, there are numerous blogs that can beam updates to your Kindle as long as you're in cell phone range.

In my opinion the big deal with a Kindle is that you pay $9.99 (for most books - some a little more, some less) instead of the printed price that could be $15 to $55 or more.  If you save an average of $20 or more per book you purchase as I expect I will, then twenty books or so and you'll have paid for your Kindle in savings.  But, wait there's more.

The new Kindle 2 can hold about 1500 books (memory is not expandable).  However, everything you buy is 'archived' on  If you run low on space on your Kindle, just back off some books and load up something else.  You have not lost anything, just shuttled them on and off the physical device.  Do you really use over 1000 books all the time anyway?

So what's in it for woodworkers?  250,000 books sounds like a lot, but the fact is that right now the number of woodworking specific books is limited.  It will take some time for new books to be published in a Kindle version and older books to be converted.  So if woodworking is the only reason you want a Kindle you may be disappointed.  But, if you can think of say twenty or more books that you might read then you should search Amazon's Kindle Store.

Is it safe to take it to the shop?  Well, it is an electronic device - a computer.  Environmental and physical limitation issues must all be considered, but I will take mine to the shop.  I'll just keep it in the zippered case (purchased separately) and keep the dust away from it.  Any other limitations?

If the books you want to read on a Kindle rely heavily on photos, illustrations and color then the Kindle will disappoint you.  Even the new Kindle's 16 shades of gray won't do anything for a picture of purpleheart or bloodwood.  And while it is very easy to read text on the Kindle, photos can be harder to see in detail.  If you are mostly interested in the text in the book and pictures and illustrations are mainly provide positional, relational and size information then it may work well for you.

Once I spend more time with it I'll write another blog post about uploading Word, text, html, pdf, jpg and gif files from your computer or emailing them to your Kindle.  I'll also try sending some documents to Amazon to convert and send to the Kindle to see how that works.  I also want to get used to searching for text in books on the Kindle, clipping pages, setting bookmarks and writing notes.  Yes, you can 'annotate' a book with your own notes.

If you have a new Kindle and want to share experiences with woodworking or other areas just use the Contact Us here at to email me.  Or, call me at 770.945.2022.  I'd like to hear about your experiences.


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