Device could be essential tool for self-publishing authors looking to proofread PDFs or ebooks on high-resolution big screen
Amazon is launching a brand new Kindle device that offers reading and writing functions and could prove to be invaluable for authors.
The Kindle Scribe features what is claimed to be the world’s first 10.2-inch, 300ppi Paperwhite display, and a pen that never needs charging.
The front-lit, glare-free display is said to feel like reading and writing on paper, with crisp text and space for bigger fonts, images, charts, and documents.
Designed for reading and note-taking
The device is designed for reading and note-taking in books, adding notes to documents, and journaling.
Kevin Keith, vice-president of Amazon Devices, says, ‘Kindle Scribe is the best Kindle we’ve ever built, creating a reading and writing experience that feels like real paper.
‘It’s inspired by the Kindle customers who have added billions of notes and highlights to books over the years, and it’s also ideal for reviewing and marking up documents, managing your to-do list, or doodling over a big idea.
‘It offers all the Kindle benefits customers know and love — millions of books on demand, adjustable fonts, premium reading features, and weeks and weeks of battery life — with the benefit of a beautiful, large display.’
The Kindle Scribe is 5.8mm thick and has the world’s first 10.2-inch, 300-ppi, glare-free display; an auto-adjusting front light; months of battery life (the device charges through USB-C); and a pen that never needs to be charged.
The glare-free display has been engineered to replicate the feel and flow of pen on paper, creating a natural and comfortable experience. The big, high-resolution, Paperwhite display provides room for reading and taking notes; enhances the beauty of images, illustrations, and graphics; and provides easy-to-adjust margins.
It is, of course, a grayscale display, which will give you great high-resolution, but many potential customers, possibly already owning Kindle Fires, might be surprised to discover that the device doesn’t offer color as Amazon’s press releases barely mention the fact.
Choice of pens
The Scribe comes with a Basic or Premium pen option. Both pens are said to deliver precision, feel natural in your hand, and magnetically attach to the side of the device. They also support a variety of line widths, a highlighter tool, eraser tools, and an undo tool — all accessible in the on-display writing menu.
The Premium Pen also includes a dedicated eraser on top and a customizable shortcut button, enabling the pen to function as an eraser or highlighter, or to open a new sticky note when the button is pressed.
New digital sticky notes on the Kindle Scribe should allow you to add handwritten notes to millions of books, with notes and highlights automatically organized in one place.
You can also journal or take notes using a variety of templates, including to-do lists for tracking tasks and lined paper for meeting notes. All notebooks are automatically saved and backed up to the cloud for free, and, coming in early 2023, they will also be accessible via the Kindle app.
With the Send-to-Kindle feature, you can import personal documents from your computer or phone to the Kindle Scribe and write directly on PDF documents.
The information from Amazon does not make it clear whether users will be able to annotate directly on to their own personal epubs, but it looks more likely that you will have to use the digital sticky notes function.
Useful tool for self-publishing authors
The ability to be able to import personal documents and write on PDFs is one of the most important functions that could make this device a very useful tool for self-publishing authors.
Being able to proofread ebooks or print books (PDFs) on a big high-res screen will be invaluable and will undoubtedly save writers a lot of time and money in not having to print out proofs to read.
You can also import and create handwritten sticky notes in Microsoft Word documents, web articles, and other document formats with adjustable font sizes and layout. From early 2023, you will be able to send documents to the Kindle Scribe directly from within Microsoft Word.
The device is claimed to support a range of formats, including: Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; PDF, DOCX, DOC, HTML, EPUB, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion; Audible audio format (AAX).
The Kindle Scribe comes with access to the Kindle Store, which includes:
- More than 13 million titles, including millions of non-fiction books.
- Kindle Unlimited access to more than three million ebooks, including over one million non-fiction titles, plus thousands of audiobooks, short reads, and up to three select magazine subscriptions. For a limited time, the Kindle Scribe comes with a free, four-month Kindle Unlimited membership.
- Prime members can also read from a rotating selection of thousands of titles in the Kindle Store at no additional cost to their Prime membership.
Accessibility for all
The new Kindle Scribe lets you adjust the font size, increase line spacing, and switch to dark mode.
Customers reading with bigger font sizes will see more text per page, and can increase the size of items like the text on the home screen as well as book icons with the ‘large mode’ setting.
Customers who read with assistive technology can use Amazon’s VoiceView screen reader to read English-language books.
Amazon says the Kindle Scribe is designed with 100% recycled aluminum and 48% post-consumer recycled plastics in the device, has been built with sustainability in mind, and comes in 100% recyclable device packaging in the US.
US pricing and availability for Kindle Scribe
The Kindle Scribe is not a cheap device but appears to be a high-quality device that could be a real boon for many users.
In the US, Amazon says the Kindle Scribe will be available on pre-order starting at $339 with delivery from November 30. It is available in Tungsten with options for 16Gb, 32Gb, or 64Gb of storage.
However, at present, it looks like the Kindle Scribe is only in stock in the US in ‘essentials bundle’ options, perhaps due to high initial demand as the tablets are already in the top 30 overall list of best-selling Amazon Devices & Accessories.
The essentials bundles are for a Kindle Scribe device, pen, leather cover, and power adapter. The prices are:
- $399.97 for the 16Gb Scribe with Basic pen, cover and adapter
- $449.97 for 32Gb with Premium pen (no Basic pen option available), cover and adapter
- $479.97 for 64Gb with Premium pen (no Basic pen option available), cover and adapter
These prices are claimed to be saving $40 on the normal cost of the bundles.
You can find out more details at www.amazon.com/kindlescribe
UK pricing and availability for Kindle Scribe
In the UK, the Kindle Scribe is available on pre-order for delivery from November 30 at £329.99 for the 16Gb device with Basic pen, or £359.99 for 16Gb with the Premium pen.
The 32Gb version is £379.99 with the Premium pen (not available with Basic pen) and the 64Gb device (also with Premium pen) is priced at £409.99.
The free Kindle Unlimited offer does not apply in the UK.
In the UK, you can get more details at www.amazon.co.uk/kindlescribe
There are other reading and writing tablet options available, but, from the specs available to us so far, there doesn’t seem to be much else that can achieve the same level of functionality as claimed by the Kindle Scribe, and, none of course, which feature access to the Kindle Store
In May 2021, Kobo launched the Elipsa e-reader which included a stylus that turns the device into a notebook where you can mark up or annotate an ebook, or write documents of your own.
The Elipsa has a 10.3-inch E-Ink Carta 1200 glare-free screen and 32Gb of storage, a stylus and cover, prived at $399 in the US and £3409 in the UK.
It offers PDF annotation but falls down on the fact that it does not offer annotation of non-Kobo epubs. This means that you cannot send your own epubs to the device and mark them up as it only supports annotation of epubs from the Kobo store.
However, the Elipsa does feature handwriting to text conversion, which does not appear to be a function offered by the Kindle Scribe.
Other e-ink devices include the reMarkable tablets, and the Onyx Book devices, which are very capable, but lack, of course, direct access to the Kindle Store.
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