I can already tell that this Kindle Paperwhite is going to be bad for my insomnia. Or good for it. Either way, it can do something my old Kindle Touch never could: read in bed, at night, with the lights out. Yes, it’s a little thing, and it’s something I could do already with my tablets. But it has a couple of benefits.
For one thing, the Paperwhite is frontlit instead of backlit. I’m not sure how much difference that really makes, given that it’s staring at light sources in general that interferes with your ability to sleep, but I’m told that it doesn’t have the same blue wavelength effect as LCD screens so doesn’t interfere with your ability to sleep as much. I’m not sure whether or to what extent that’s actually true, but maybe it’ll make me feel a little better about it anyway.
The photos don’t really do justice to the experience of reading from the screen in the dark. The brightness is adjustable, and in the photos I actually have it adjusted fairly dim. But the camera has a different view of contrast than the human eye. (And there’s also that blotchy effect, which I think is caused by using HDR to take the photos. My cat photographs the same way sometimes.) Set at the low, dimmer levels, it actually reminds me a lot of reading from my old Palm Pilot in the dark, using the night-light-like Indiglo backlight it had.
At any rate, when my insomnia hit me in the middle of the night, I was able to finish another chapter in Lies My Teacher Told Me, and even check my email and browse the web a little, keeping it dim enough not to harm my night vision too much. I’m definitely liking this e-reader a whole lot.
In case you’re wondering, the e-book I used for the demo shot is the quite-excellent How Much for Just the Planet by the late John M. Ford, one of the funniest Star Trek books ever written—and ample demonstration that the agency pricing follies are not reserved to new-release hardcovers. Despite having been published 28 years ago, the e-book is still $8.99 on Amazon. That’s 54 cents more than the Mass Market Paperback edition ($8.45 new), on par with the used hardcover ($4.99 + $3.99 shipping), and considerably more than the used paperback (1 cent + $3.99 shipping) versions available right alongside, So much for the long tail, huh?