Over the last several weeks, I have undertaken the horrifying task of attempting to catalog and rate all the books I currently own (thanks to a lovely site called Goodreads.com - check it out!), as well as beginning to tackle the BF's books. The end result: we long ago passed the point where we had room for new books. They're stacked everywhere: on the stairs, on the floor, on top of other books...You get the picture.
The result after much intense debate and discussion, I now own a Kindle 2.
The essential details first: the device itself is 8" x 5.3" x 0.36", with a 6" display screen. It supports 12 formats, beyond the proprietary Kindle format of AZW. You can also load podcasts to listen to while reading. The battery life will widely vary depending on usage; with wireless activity (surfing with the Experimental internet browser or downloading trial samples of books), the battery will be more quickly consumed. I flew from Toronto ONT, CND to Seattle WA, USA and still had significant battery life after heavy use (including downloading some trials) all day both in the air as well as at the airports during layovers, etc. Side note, while I now carry more electronics with me when I travel, my backpack is about ten pounds lighter on average, due to a much lighter laptop and the fact that I'm carrying a kindle instead of 4+ books. My back is ecstatic about the change! (Check out more details on the official Kindle page, listed above.)
I have a fairly varied taste in books, but I do default towards the fantasy selection. Wandering through my local bookstore, I can search (and find 99.9% of the time) a trial for any book I might be curious to try out, and while the first chapter of any trial is guaranteed, often more than just the first chapter is available. It's become habit to trial before I buy, although unfortunately, buying from the trial does not automatically sync you to where you had read to in the full version, something that I hope will change in the future.
A built in copy of The New Oxford American Dictionary allows for a definition of almost any word, simply move the cursor in front of the word, and tada! If there are multiple definitions, you can expand the section, which takes you to the entry in the Dictionary. Hitting the back button returns you to the text.
Lastly, syncing with Whispersync to other devices. This to me is one of the features I couldn't do without. I don't often use the Kindle PC application at the moment, but I could see using it in the future to manage books I don't want synced on the Kindle at that time. But the biggest bonus to this is the ability to sync it to the iPhone Kindle app. With this technology, I'm always able to read continue reading, no matter where I am, as long as I have coverage.
I do occasionally have trouble with navigation. This comes not from the "Next Page"/"Previous Page" buttons, but the five-way controller. This is a little button which moves up, down, right, left and 'in' (think of clicking one of the thumbsticks on a controller). You use this to navigate around, but if I hold it to the right to navigate to the next word, I skip chapters, instead of switching words. It occasionally causes some frustration, but I suspect I'll eventually train myself out of the habit. I also do wish there was the recommendation feature that is available in beta on the Nook.
In the end, while the Kindle does not exude that special blended smell of ink and paper, it does make up for it with the incredible access to books at the drop of an internet connection!
Not sure that the Kindle is right for you? Check out Cookie Kwan's Nook review and compare for yourself!