Checking out Kindle Unlimited
Miscellaneous / July 18, 2014

As I anticipated in my reading roundup, this morning Amazon launched its ebook and audiobook subscription service, Kindle Unlimited.  It’s not yet available to Canadians, but I was able to use my company’s US address to sign up for the 30 day free trial to check it all out. Kindle Unlimited is competing with other ebook subscription services such as Scribd and Oyster.  I currently have a Scribd subscription, but I tend not to use it very much, mainly because it’s not tightly integrated with the rest of my ebook library.  Also, I’m not so fond of the app for Android – it doesn’t have the same options as full Kindle books. The good Like most of the Amazon ecosystem, Kindle Unlimited is very easy to use.  You can browse the titles from the Kindle Unlimited link on the homepage: When you choose a title it will say Read for Free Also you can navigate from your Kindle Fire:  a KU book will say Read for Free Note that you cannot pick up audiobooks on their own.  They must be paired with a Kindle Unlimited ebook with Whispersync for Voice.  There is a section called Listen and Take the Story…

Kindle Paperwhite Second Generation – First Thoughts
e-Reader Reviews / October 10, 2013

My Kindle Paperwhite second generation arrived today so I decided to take a moment to share my thoughts.  My initial reaction is that this second generation of Amazon’s popular eInk eReader is more evolutionary than revolutionary.  The improvements to the screen and processor, while noticeable, are not overwhelmingly so.  I, personally, was not particularly bothered by some light shading at the bottom of the screen, but I know that many people are sensitive to this.  That is improved considerably on the second generation of Paperwhite. Here are some screenshots: The new Kindle is on the right.  The new version does seem to have a warmer sense about it. and with the new Kobo Aura The new combined Dictionary/X-Ray/Wikipedia screen seems really useful: (Note – the shading at the top of that screenshot is not a faulty screen – it’s decorative shading on the book itself) Probably the most useful is the new page scrolling function – you can now move about easily within a book with a new navigation tool.   The feature that I am most excited about, GoodReads integration, isn’t yet here – it is “coming soon” via software update.  This takes me back a few years when…

Amazon announces new Kindle Fire HDX
e-Reader Reviews / September 28, 2013

A few days ago, Amazon announced the updates to its Kindle Fire line of tablets.  Here is the page with the details. Naturally, it has an improved screen, and processor.  No surprises there.  What’s more interesting is that they announced a major update to the Kindle Fire OS, to called Mojito.   Some of the new features in Mojito include: Mayday button.  This is the most innovative of the inventions and allows you to be connected to a video chat with an Amazon tech support person.  Your tech will have the ability to view and control your screen to assist you.  This could be a godsend for the novice user.  Amazon is at pains to stress that the agent can only see your screen, not you to alleviate privacy concerns.  This is a very interesting feature and one I think could really differentiate Amazon tablets from the others in a saturated marketplace. On the other end of the scale, Amazon is touting better enterprise support.  This includes support for data encryption, Kerberos integration so that users can browse corporate intranets and VPN clients.  This is interesting. So far, Amazon has placed itself securely in the consumer market – I’m really…

Amazon announces new Paperwhite and MatchBook
e-Reader Reviews / September 3, 2013

So this morning Amazon announced its new Kindle Paperwhite.  According to the site, the new features are: new display technology 25% faster processor better touch technology next generation built-in light Kindle Page Flip – easier navigation smart lookup – dictionary is now integrated into X-Ray vocabulary builder GoodReads integration (Amazon recently bought the company) For me, the most exciting of these is the GoodReads integration. It looks awesome I love GoodReads and the integration will be very welcome.  One thing I cannot see from the images is whether or not the screen is flush with the bezel as it is in the new Kobo Aura.  That is a design feature I would love – I’m sure I’ve several biscuits worth of crumbs caught in the bezel. For us Canadians, it’s also exciting to see that the new Paperwhite is available for order from at the same time as  Excellent.  It’s good to feel less and less like the country cousin. One very disappointing thing is that it still does not provide audiobook support. The other thing announced this morning – thanks to Bufo Calvin of I Love My Kindle for bringing it to my attention – is MatchBook….

If Kobo is here, can Amazon be far behind?
e-Reader Reviews / August 31, 2013

So now that Kobo has announced its new lineup, I’m pretty confident Amazon won’t be too far behind.  I have some updates I’d love to see in the new lineup. My absolute dream device would be an eInk/LCD hybrid.  I’d love to be able to switch between a tablet and eReader.  I don’t think that’s going to happen, though. For eInk readers, I’d love to see audio support reinstated.  I didn’t miss it when it disappeared from the Paperwhite, but at that point I wasn’t as heavily invested in Audible and audiobooks as I am now.  I would also love to see full Audible integration as we have it on the Fire, immersion reading included.  I would snap that baby up in a New York minute.  I ADORE the Audible integration on the Fire, but I do prefer reading on eInk. In terms of the Fire, of course any improvement in specs and screen would be welcome.  Not that the current Fire isn’t excellent.  I would also welcome a better way of organising content.  The Favourites drawer isn’t nearly flexible enough.  I like Kobo’s idea of a Reading Mode where you can switch off all other distractions and optimise battery…

Kindle Fire in Canada – Full Review
e-Reader Reviews / June 17, 2013

I have now had my Kindle Fire fir several days now and this is my update to my initial impressions.  Once I got over my disappointment in the lack of Audible integration for Canadians, I began to really enjoy the device. My other two tablets are an iPad 3 and a Nexus 7. I find the smaller form factors of the Nexus and the Kindle Fire very comfortable to use. Until  now, my main tablet of choice has been my iPad 3.  I use it around the house, and if I’m travelling I take it with me.  However, I find it’s rather bulky to carry around, and I usually end up taking my Kindle Paperwhite too, as I really don’t enjoy reading books on the iPad.  I really don’t use my Nexus very much at all. Perhaps the the best way to approach this review is to discuss how the tasks I usually undertake on my iPad translate to the Kindle Fire. I don’t use the iPad for work/production related activities.  There are many apps I use on my iPhone to check a few quick things. Checking email I was able to import all my personal accounts – two Yahoo…

Kindle Fire HD in Canada – First Impressions
e-Reader Reviews , Tech Reviews / June 13, 2013

Today the Kindle Fire launched in multiple countries including Canada, and one was delivered to my door for your reviewing pleasure. My initial impression is that, although the device is nice, for Canadians it is still very, very limited.  It is a lovely device, but the Amazon services which distinguish it from the other tablets out there are sadly missing. There is still no support for Amazon’s music or movie store or Amazon Instant Video for Canada.  iTunes movies will not play on the Kindle Fire due to DRM.  Through the movies for Flixter though you can view any movies you have on your UV account.  They do not have the cool X-Ray for Movies feature that gives you details of the actors in a movie when you hit pause. For the last few years, iTunes music has been sold without DRM so can easily be copied to the music folder and will be available in the music section of the Kindle Fire. For me, personally, I was very disappointed that the Audible integration is missing for Canadians.  The whole Audiobooks section is missing from the top menu, and although Whispersync for Voice continues to work, immersion reading is not available….

Amazon releases Kindle Fire in Canada
e-Reader Reviews / May 23, 2013

Today a friend alerted me (thanks Stèphane!) that Amazon has sneaked its 7inch Amazon Kindle Fire tablet into the Canadian store for pre-order.  I have put one on pre-order for your reviewing pleasure.  I may return it as I did the Kobo Aura, but I do want to check it out.

A Newbie’s Guide to eReading
e-Reader Reviews / May 20, 2013

Ereading still causes a lot of confusion.  I thought it might be useful to put together a post of some common questions regarding ereading and to do my best to answer them. What is eReading?Simply put, ereading is reading a book, comic, magazine or other similar content on an electronic device rather than in hard copy. Why should I give up my paperback and switch to ereading?Like many things, ereading is not an either/or activity.  There is no reason why you cannot read books in both hard copy and ebook formats.  It is very much a personal choice. Having said that, there are pros and cons to ereading.  I have listed some here to help you decide if ereading is right for you. Pros:Convenience.  With ereading you can carry your entire library around with you on your eReader, smartphone or tablet.   Can you imagine carrying around all 14 hardback books in the Wheel of Time series?  With ereading that is no issue. Likewise, if you’re living in a small space, an ereader takes up much less room than forty shelves of books. Accessibility.  Most ereaders and ereading applications allow you to adjust the font size to suit your eyesight.  This…

Badly done, Amazon, badly done indeed!
Tech Reviews / January 20, 2013

WARNING – THIS POST CONTAINS LONG RANT. PROCEED AT OWN RISK For those of you in Canada who purchase Kindle books from, you may have noticed that the site has been pushing you to switch your account to the newly opened Canadian Kindle store at It appears in the last few days, the vast majority of Kindle books are no longer available from for customers with a registered Canadian address. I have been a loyal Kindle customer now for several years and now I have suddenly found myself cut off from services on which I rely, some of which, for me, raise Amazon above the competition. In Jeff Bezos’ presentation in September 2012 to launch the new Kindles, one of the new innovations promoted was Whispersync for Voice with Audible books. I was very excited about this, and since its launch, I have made extensive use of this service. Naturally, I am very disappointed that it appears I will no longer have access to it for future purchases. It is infuriating that Canadian users had access to this service and now have had it removed. For me this is a significant deterioration in the service I have…