Amazon e-reader Kindle 2 is a nifty, if costly, second act

I sometimes read on my iPhone (using programs such as Stanza and Classics). The iPhone lets you read in the dark, something you cannot do on Kindle. But while reading eBooks on an iPhone is OK, the battery doesn't last near long enough. And, of course, you quickly appreciate the larger Kindle display.

I've been reading Stephen King's UR (the novella is a Kindle exclusive), The Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci, and articles in The New Yorker magazine, a worthy addition to Kindle's stable of subscriptions. For now, because of production issues, not all cartoons that appear in print make it onto the Kindle. And some fiction in the print edition has been withheld because of author rights.

As before, you can adjust text size. The lack of color means Kindle isn't ideal for illustrated books.

Amazon says the pages turn an average of 20% faster than on the original. While difficult to detect side by side with an older Kindle, page refresh on the new device never felt like an issue.

The new device also boasts an "experimental" feature, the ability to vocalize text. I don't expect a lot of people to use it. The computerized voice is no substitute for an audio book read by an actor. But not all books have audio versions, and Kindle can even read aloud your own documents.

You can share books on up to five Kindles with the same account, and through another new feature, keep them in sync. You cannot share magazine subscriptions across devices.

The book on Kindle 2 is mostly positive. If only it were a bit less expensive.

E-mail: ebaig@usatoday.com

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