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Monday, January 17, 2011

The Kindle 3 Battery

I am an enthusiastic convert to the e-reader, and specifically to the Kindle. (I recognize of course that other readers, like the Nook or the Sony, are probably just as cool since the great factor is the availability of the books). I keep thinking what it would have been like to have had the Kindle as a kid when I easily read a book a day, or even as recently as a year and a half ago, when I was stuck in a hotel room with nothing to read, and the only available help was from the (very) limited gift shop downstairs. I read a terribly boring book for the entire plane ride back, about 6 hours altogether, because I had nothing else.

The Kindle is a dangerous thing for someone like me to have, since books for me are irresistible, like clothing or jewelry or makeup for many other women -- there are never enough. I don't want to even think about how many I've purchased and read, although I'm sure I've paid more for the books than for the device. My husband says that this is all right since I don't spend money on anything else, but still...

My daughter, upon her own request, received a Kindle for her big Christmas present. I'm pleased to see that she's reading for pleasure now, and has even purchased two books on her own. (Since she's on my account, she also has a plethora of reading material to choose from :-) ). I am becoming convinced that we are AT the tipping point for publishing: Soon ebooks will be the standard, and DTBs (dead tree books) the novelty. There is blood in the water right now about which e-reader will become dominant, but we shall see.

I wonder about the computer strokes that track everything we do and buy, and recognize the Kindle book choices as simply another device to "paint a portrait" or keep a record of the person, but oh well. I am who I am. I like fiction (wide variety), science, cooking, religion esp. Christianity, and writing/publishing. I've also read a few biographies and miscellaneous materials on the Kindle: one of my recent purchases is Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air about the 1996 ill-fated Everest climb. I've found a few games. While I am notoriously antipathic to word games like Scrabble, even Kindle can offer a few spatial/logical games such as Minesweeper and Triple Town that can entertain me for an hour at a time (fun for the feeble minded).

My mother was so impressed with my Kindle 2 that I agreed with my dad to sell it to him for $100 so he could give it to her for Christmas. I had seen the new Kindle 3 so I was eager to try the new, slimmer model anyway, and this gave me the perfect excuse. (Mom preferred the Kindle 2 to the Kindle 3 since I could show her exactly how to use it while I was there, and she wouldn't have to learn it from documentation). I was interested and pleased to learn that when I deregistered the Kindle 2 from my account and put it to her account, my books were still findable and accessible on the Kindle 2 although the references in the remote archived account on amazon had vanished. As long as Mom doesn't remove these books from the device, she can enjoy them whenever she wants. Believe me, this was a considerable bonus since, as I mentioned before, I'd made a few (many) purchases.

My biggest question right now with my new Kindle is with the battery life. Amazon trumpets that the Kindle battery can last up to a month if you don't have the connectivity turned on, but I'm finding I need to recharge it after every 4 days or so, even though I connect through the 3G network for only brief periods of time. I don't know why this is? Maybe I keep the Kindle on for a longer period of time than average, since I do use it hard. I use the audible read feature a fair amount so that I can knit while I read. I also have the lighted cover that is powered by the Kindle battery, but still...

I posted battery life as a question on an amazon Kindle loop. Someone suggested that if the Kindle gets into a perpetual loop with indexing books this may drain the battery, but I haven't figured this one out yet. Also, games are energy hogs (I don't play them much unless I'm waiting in the car), and using larger type may use more battery since there are more page changes. I don't use large type but it was an interesting thought. ????

There are a lot of messages that the UNlighted Kindle 3 cover may short out some Kindles, and the Kindle then won't restart or will keep turning off. The battery may also drain in these circumstances. This isn't me, though since I have a lighted cover.

The 4 day battery life is not a problem right now, but since I've only had this device for a few weeks I worry if the problem will progress to the battery not being able to hold a charge. So, I've found a place that sells replacement batteries. Needing to replace the battery assumes, of course, that the current battery is defective or worn, and not draining for the various reasons listed above. Replacing the battery on the Kindle will invalidate the warranty, but from what I understand, when amazon replaces the battery they simply send you a new refurbished unit anyway, not your original unit, and the price is higher than the $30 for the battery. It's also a lot quicker to do it yourself.

I'm thinking about it, but at this point don't think it would be prudent to go ahead. Now, if my battery starts to be able to only hold a charge for a few hours, THEN I'll be more amenable to giving this a go.

Here's a video of how one replaces one's Kindle battery. This place also sells batteries for many other electronic devices, so it may be worth taking a look around if you need anything. Happy Kindling!


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