With a lower price, a smaller size, and improved contrast and faster page turning, Amazon may be offering an irresistible temptation to those who have yet to jump onto the eReader bandwagon.

I’ve been a Kindle user for close to three years now.  I’ve had all the versions and noted the significant improvements Kindle 2 offered over the original.  But, now, Amazon has topped all other versions with the new Kindle 3.

What I Love:

  • The faster page turning.
  • The smaller size.
  • The easy to use navigation buttons that all but eliminate accidental page turns.
  • The improved contrast that makes an already user-friendly reader experience even friendlier.
  • The ease of buying books without having to connect to a computer.
  • The longer battery life – Amazon says up to one month.
  • Storage that Amazon says will handle up to 3,500 books.  Wow.

What I Don’t Love:

  • Lack of color and bare bones cover art.
  • The inability to easily share books.
  • The ease of buying books from Amazon is tempered by the difficulty in buying books elsewhere or to borrow from a library.

Amazon says that Kindle 3 offers a substantial improvement in contrast over Kindle 2  and a 50% better contrast than other eReaders and that rings true, based on my far from perfect bifocal-ed eyes.  They also say it weighs less than a paperback  and that also seems right to me.

As for what I don’t love, I’d like to get my cover art, please, when you can get around to it, Mr. Bezos.  And, while I love the Amazon book-buying experience, having only one easy source for books is never ideal.  Still, if I’m tied to any company, I’m happy it’s Amazon.  I’ve always had great service and eBook prices are consistently good.  In fact, I like knowing that Amazon would like them to be even better than they are.  Thanks, Agency Model Publishers, for nothing.

I’ve read complaints about the keyboard, but I honestly don’t use it enough for it to make much of a difference.  And, since the smaller keyboard is one of the reasons Kindle 3 is smaller than Kindle 2 while still having the same 6-inch screen size, I’m fine with it, considering my limited usage.

I always go back to the number one reason why I got my first Kindle: I was sick to death of Borders lazy and late shelving of romance.  Kindle and it’s 30-second delivery of books sold me – and it still does.  So, I’m an eReading enthusiast.

I don’t think some readers will ever be convinced to give up paper books for eBooks and, given the fact that publishers are still living in the Stone Age when it comes to eBook pricing, I can understand the attitude.  But if you’ve been on the fence, you may want to give Kindle 3 serious consideration in light of the lower price and the improved quality.

I know two Kindle users besides myself who’ve jumped at the new one and all three of us are ecstatic.  Reviews also seem to be overwhelmingly positive, with the New York Times calling Kindle 3 the best eReader currently available.

As for the wireless-only version or the 3G model, I went with 3G.  I like knowing I can buy books wherever I happen to be (back to that Borders thing, I guess), but, if you think you’d be okay with only buying books when you’re connected to a wireless network, then the wireless-only version would probably be fine. The price is certainly very attractive.

I’ve seen the case with the light and, again, if you think you’ll want an extra light, it’s an interesting solution.  I’m happy with the eInk technology and I’ve never once wished I had a light for any Kindle I’ve owned, so I didn’t get one. The light does add weight to the Kindle, but it’s a nice option if you think you’d need it.

A final note to AAR readers:  In the interest of full disclosure,  if you buy your Kindle 3 through the link in this blog or via the link in the box at the bottom of the home page, AAR will get a small commission from Amazon.  So, if you’re going to buy a Kindle and you enjoy our site, we hope you’ll consider using the link when you’re ready to buy.

– Sandy AAR