Zed Lopez

Kindle DX

I’ve had gadget lust for the Kindle DX since it first came out in 2009, so being the bleeding-edge alpha geek that I am, I finally bought a used Kindle DX Graphite on Ebay, some months after it was discontinued.

Good: 3G, big screen, New Oxford American Dictionary, hackable Android device.

Bad: No wifi, no SD card slot, discontinued (the latest Kindle firmware upgrade left the DX in the cold.)

Ugly: heavy, gives Amazon too much access when 3G is on, dextrocentric controls (which don’t inconvenience me personally, but I still don’t like them.)

The screen is almost 5.5” x 8”, about the size of a typical trade paperback. A big inspiration to buy it was to read some of the 6”x9” RPG PDFs I have, which are generally terrible on smaller e-readers. I’ve tried a few, and they work okay, but the text is pretty small – I need to look into pre-processing the PDFs to trim the margins. I’ve heard any number of accounts of people reading letter-size PDFs on the Kindle DX, but that’s clearly a game for someone with pre-presbyopic eyes (unless you turn the Kindle sideways and look at half-a-page at a time.)

After a long time of stubbornly refusing to buy DRM-ed e-books, I gave in and subscribed to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, whose digital subscription rate of $12 a year really is a tremendous bargain (and it’s Amazon-exclusive.)

I don’t like the idea of content whose continued availability is dependent on the continued availability of some proprietary platform, and I don’t like the idea of having my only copy of something be somewhere Amazon can delete it, so I did the obvious. I web-searched ‘strip Kindle DRM’, and downloaded and installed Calibre and the DRM removal plugins for it, and after a total of about 10 minutes, had a DRM-free copy. This wasn’t a rigged demo: I didn’t know exactly how to strip the DRM in advance, just that it was possible, straightforward, and easily found through web-searching. It’s almost as if DRM does more to inconvenience paying customers than it does to prevent duplication.