I’m not sure if I’ve ever professed my love for Kindle iPod before in this forum but I’m going to now.  Let me begin by saying I love to read and I love paper books.  Something about how they smell and feel that I just love.  I never in a million years thought that a digital book would thrill me in the least…BUT IT DOES!  I don’t own a Kindle but I downloaded the free Kindle reader for my iPod Touch when I first got it and I’ve love it.  I can carry tons of books with me all the time, in my purse.   I have read more books since I got this than I have in the past two years.  The convenience is wonderful.  Also, I can read in the dark, so I can read at night without disturbing anyone.  It opens up a new world of authors that I would have never read by offering a large assortment of books for free (granted, some are crap but others are a nice surprise).   I can make bookmarks so I can go back to certain points or find where I left off.  I can also highlight text and make notes.  It’s awesome!

So today I heard that they released the Kindle for Mac (Kindle for PC released in Fall 09) and I was so excited…until I tried it.  It’s totally stripped down. I know it’s not meant to do everything a Kindle can do but I thought it would at least do what the Kindle iPod app does.  It doesn’t.

The good things:

  • It downloaded all my books, complete with the bookmarks, notes and highlights that I made on my iPod.
  • Really easy to read.  Even though the iPod allows me to change my font size it’s still a tiny screen.  Reading on a full size screen was really nice.
  • You can bookmark your place in the Kindle for Mac and they show up on your Kindle or iPod.

The bad things:

  • You can’t add new notes or highlighting.
  • No search feature so you still have to flip through the book to find what you want if you forgot to bookmark it.

Now I’ll be honest, the reading I do with the Kindle iPod is for fun so I don’t add many notes or highlight text. And to be fair, the PC/Mac app is meant to supplement your Kindle device.  However, since it’s free and the Kindle is not (around $260), I always try to see if this is something that we can use in Higher Ed.  Right now I have to say “no.”  It’s not practical to think that students won’t want to highlight, search and make notes when reading textbooks.  They would need the full Kindle device.

Bottom line –

Will I use the Kindle Mac? Yep!  For the type of reading I do I love it. 
Would I recommend the Kindle Mac (or Kindle PC) for faculty/student higher ed use?
No, not yet.  It’s all very new, let’s give it time.