My Kindle Died

A couple of weeks ago my Kindle died.

It wasn’t resting, like the parrot in the Monty Python skit. It was dead! Kaput! Finished!

This was really a tragedy for me since I read a LOT! It’s my entertainment since I don’t have a television here in Boquerón, and finding English-language books here in Panama is close to impossible. There were over 100 books on the Kindle. Now I had nothing.

I called the Kindle customer service people on Skype. While they tried to be helpful, nothing they suggested worked. They wanted me to send it to them but couldn’t grasp what a hassle that would be down here in Panama. So,I decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy myself a “tablet.” I spent several hours on line checking various tablet out. I wasn’t going to get an iPad since I have a PC and didn’t want something that wasn’t compatible with it. What I finally bought was this:

I chose it for several reasons, among which is that it has a USB slot that will accept the keyboard I’m writing this on and will also link the tablet to the computer.

So, here are my impressions of the tablet vs the Kindle.

The Kindle is smaller and lighter. I always slipped it in my backpack when I was going into David so I could read on the bus. The table is bigger (10″ screen) and heavier. Not as bus-friendly as the Kindle.

The tablet is back-lit like a computer screen where the Kindle is not. That means I can read more comfortably at night. But during the daytime, sitting outside, the tablet has glare and reflection. The Kindle did not.

It takes some time to get used to reading on a Kindle. It’s like you’re reading only the right-hand page of a book, but after a short time it just seems natural. Depending on how you hold the tablet you can get a single page on the screen like the Kindle when you hold it vertically…

But if you hold it horizontally you get two columns on the screen so it’s more like reading an actual book…


To really waste some time you can download games to the tablet which you can’t do with the Kindle…

I had a cover for the Kindle to protect it, especially the screen. Of course, I bought a cover for tablet. It’s reversible.

While the Kindle just lists the titles of the books in your “library,” the tablet shows you the covers of the books you’ve downloaded…

Tap on the book cover and the book appears on your screen.

If there’s one area where the tablet just can’t compete with the Kindle it’s battery life. I only needed to recharge the Kindle battery once a week or every 10 days. The tablet will run for about 8 hours before it needs to be juiced up.

Looking at the two side-by-side, the Kindle is more convenient for traveling than the tablet. The Kindle beats the tablet hands down on battery life. If I’m near a wifi hot spot I can get my emails or surf the web on the tablet, something you can’t do with a Kindle. The tablet is better for reading books at night, the Kindle is better in bright light.

All things considered, the tablet is a better, though more expensive, device allowing me to do much more than I could with the Kindle. I’m happy with it.


Filed under digital books, ebook, Living Abroad, Living in Panama

6 responses to “My Kindle Died

  1. Ever tried reading a book, you know one of those old fashioned things made of (plastic free) paper.
    Don’t need batteries, don’t need to be connected to any blood sucking ‘provider’.
    You can still buy them from ‘book shops’ you know and you can even buy them on line.
    Or you can borrow them free of charge from your local lending library, wow, how cool is that?
    And they are so rugged, you can use them to swat flies, throw at the cat, prop up wobbly desks and they still come back readable, (Steve Jobsworth never thought of that, eh?)

    Ever try buying an English language book in, oh, say PANAMA? FRANCE? Well, believe me, I have and it’s nearly impossible and when you CAN find one it might not be on a subject you’re interested in and it will be three to five times as expensive as it is in the States.

    Here’s another problem with books made out of dead trees…The other day I happened on this blog:

    The author of the blog was moving and “We calculated that we had about 100 cartons of books, so that came to $3,000, which seemed like a lot of money to carry around books that we had already read.”

    Next week I’m going for an overnight trip to a resort up in the mountains here in Panama. I’ll be taking 330 books with me in my overnight bag. Can’t do that with dead tree books.

    Having lived for much of my adult life on boats one learns to adapt to the problem of extremely limited space. Unless you owned a mega-yacht you couldn’t have a library of 330 (and growing) books made out of cellulose fiber. The invention, and acceptance of electronic reading is a boon to many of us who aren’t dyed-in-the-wool Luddites.

    But I thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. Really, I do. I even added your site’s link to my blogroll.

  2. Hello Richard:

    I have a Kindle Fire and recently purchased an Ipad which I haven’t used much for lack of time. The Kindle Fire is fine as a book reader, but not to browse the web. Also most of the content is restricted to people living inside the United States, like apps, movies, videos and so forth.

    I think you made a wise decision. Even though there are some drawbacks on owning a tablet versus a Kindle, at the end of the day, you have a wider choice of options. In a short time you will forget about your dead Kindle and enjoy you newly-acquired tablet.

    Soon I will write a blog post about my new Apple iPad. Love technology, as you well know. Enjoy your trip to the highlands of Chiriqui.

    Take Care,


  3. Andres Espino Dennison

    I am reading books on my cheapo (under $50 laptops I bought for the boat on eBay) I store all my books in CALIBRE a free library program that can also convert from one format to another. By downloading others library collections on torrent I now have over 50,000 books in there and besides that I downloaded the whole Wikipedia and Wiki travel as they are available by the authors for offline use. Calibre is at

  4. Sympathies on the death of your Kindle. It sounds like you’ve found yourself a good replacement, if not an upgrade, though. Any idea what made the Kindle go “kaput”? I suppose it’s hard to say.

    I still remember the day I walked through my apartment and suddenly smelled burning plastic. As it turned out, my CRT monitor had spontaneously combusted and was happily beginning to burn. I yanked that cord out of the wall in a flash, opened the windows and just looked at the thing. Not long after, I had a nice, new flat-screen. All things work to good, and all that.

    I haven’t got a clue as to why the Kindle died. That morning I downloaded a couple of books and a few hours later it was dead. The “tech” people at Amazon said the battery needed to be charged. Well, I did that the night before and it was topped off. They advised that I plugged it in again and after 12 hours…nothing. I DO like the replacement, but like I said, it does have its disadvantages. Weight is one and it’s not as comfortable to hold it while reading. On the other hand, the lights went out for a couple of hours the other night (not an unusual occurrence here) but I was still able to read on the tablet. Needed to use the lantern with the Kindle. Not that big a problem since I have two rechargeable, fluorescent lanterns that work great. The biggest thumbs down for the tablet vs the Kindle, as I said, is battery life. The tablet’s good for about eight hours or so before needing a charge. The Kindle would go for at least a week.

  5. Capt Dan

    Hey Richard,
    Nothing is as easy as it used to be – especially as we get older. I’m a ’44 model to your’42. Glad to hear your back is getting better – sorry to hear about all the hoops to jump through for your scooter license. Maybe sell the scooter and get a $2-5000 car? Something akin to what your ex-roommate caused you so much grief with in Florida? Does the cost of insurance, gas, etc. kill this idea?

    I noticed that you participated in the “what does it really cost to live in Panama” article and was amazed not only with your frugality but also with your sense of contentment. I worry a lot about tobacco – and spend as much or more than you every month. My SS check is exactly the same as yours. When push comes to shove, I apparently need cigs more than food. It’s stupid, but I can’t seem to beat it.

    Jeeze, I hope you haven’t made the same mistake that you made with your new scooter – Are you going to have to get yet another licence to use your new Acer in Panama? (grin)

    Harvested the first batch of blue crabs (8) from my traps and will cook them tomorrow following your advice. (They’re currently on ice awaiting the decision on their fate from the Florida Suprime Court)

    Does your new Acer gizmo have a camera? That would be a big plus over your Kindle. This is of course selfish of me because I really enjoy your dragging all of us around with us on your adventures.

    Dan, I wouldn’t even want to think about how awful a $2,500 car would be here in Panama. Gas prices went up today. Regular is now $4.10/gal. Insurance is dirt cheap compared to the States. Back in Lauderdale, not driving to work and all that other junk that drives premiums up, I was paying nearly 2 grand a year, and when you consider that my last moving traffic violation was in 1971 I felt like I was being violated. I’m still debating whether to go to an Escuela de Manejo or not.

    I knew for decades that if I didn’t want to work until the day I died I’d have to find a less expensive place to live than the States once I started getting SS checks. This is the place, and it’s not so much that I’m frugal as it is that if you live more like the natives this is a very affordable place. For example, last night there was some kind of festival going on up at the town park. I heard the music all the way down here at the house a half mile away at close to midnight. So I hiked up the hill to check it out. It cost two bucks to get in to where the dancing was going on and a bottle of Atlas beer pulled out of a big ice bucket was 65 cents! I only had one and stayed for just an hour and a half and came home with change left over from three dollar bills. How can you beat that for a bargain?

    The nicotine Jones is no joke. Cigarettes cost nearly $5 a pack here with horrible photos of diseased lungs, gangrenous toes, etc. on the pack in full color. For quite a while, down at the open-air market you could buy contraband smokes from India and Viet Nam for a buck a pack, but that got shut down. Recently there have been news stories about how many container-loads of smuggled smokes have been busted. I switched to the stogies for “health” reasons. At least I’m not inhaling anymore.

    The tablet has a camera. A whopping 2 megapixels. I haven’t tried it out. I recently bought a new still camera. A Canon Powershot SX 150 – 14 megapixels. I loved my old Powershot but killed it taking all those sunrise photos the last week I was in Potrerillos Arriba, and the camera that I first bought to replace it really, REALLY sucked. But it was also the cheapest one in the store. The new camera is actually better than the one I killed.

    “Bon Apps” with the crabs as we used to say in France. “Buen provecho,” here.

  6. Marion

    The Book Mark, Dolega, have mega books in English. Hal has passed but he still lives via The Book Mark. You shudda tried it all of those months you lived in Potrerillos.

    I bought a lot of books from Hal when I lived in Potrerillos. I got to know the old curmudgeon a bit and found out that we only lived a few blocks from each other in New Orleans. I’ve always loved old, used book stores and can get lost in them for hours. In fact, I prefer them to places like Barnes & Noble. One thing with the Kindle, though, is I’ve discovered a lot of good writers who have self-published and you won’t find their work in any store. And I stand by my statement that a Kindle, Nook, or other electronic reading device is a great thing to have when going on vacation instead of loading a bunch of heavy, dead tree books with you.