Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The new Kindle Paperwhite!

Amazon has unveiled its new Kindle Paperwhite. 

Here are some highlights:

-Still e-ink, but has built in fiber optic lights that allow you to read in dark, but you can turn it down to read in the sunlight.  Awesome feature. 

-Improved browsing of your archive and the store by covers instead of just a list

-Higher pixels and faster response

-It tracks your reading speed and estimates the minutes left until the end of the chapter and the book!

This last one is great for students and for teachers.  A student can see their own reading rate and I can also check and see how quickly they read.  So often I am guessing how many pages they can read in 30-45 minutes for homework, but now we can get actual data!  Perhaps a book is particularly challenging and 20 pages is the right amount, but there may be texts where 40 pages a night is appropriate.  No more guessing!

At $119 (for the wi-fi only), this is very affordable.  I paid $359 for my first Kindle 2!  You can get the Paperwhite with 3G for $179.  My first Kindle had 3G which was great for downloading books anywhere, but wi-fi is so ubiquitous now, that with minimal forethought I can download my books on wi-fi.  I would only recommend the 3G version if you don't have home/work wi fi.  But really, that is probably a rare case. 


  1. I can't wait to try out the Paperwhite! I also like the idea that the Kindle will track a student's reading rate. I wonder if the Kindle tracks the rate overall or book by book. After all, some books are much more challenging than others. Do you know how it works?

    Also, it sounds like you do independent reading for homework. Is this the case? I've long been interested in how best to promote independent reading (and how best to use homework time) in English class.

    Thank you again for your blog.

  2. We do independent reading once or twice a semester. I wait until we are doing poetry or reading a shorter novel to assign independent reading. We have a big, gorgeous library and most students are already reading a ton independently.

    I don't know about the speed functions yet of the Paperwhite, but I am interested to see if there is any way the data is stored and can be accessed, in addition to seeing if it can differentiate between an overall speed and speed for individual books.

  3. Hi Meg,

    One benefit of having the 3G model of any Kindle is that it may be used in emergency situations (loss of power due to storm, flood, etc.) to send and receive email and browse the web, using the built-in Kindle browser. It's a primitive browser, but in a pinch, the ability to communicate and get news is a welcome feature.


  4. Melissa,

    I much prefer a phone for that, as opposed to the Kindle. I have used the browser in my Kindle only once and realized that my phone was much better as using the web. Smart phones are so ubiquitous now.

    I have had other teachers express concern to me about the distraction factor with Kindles, and I always tell them that using the internet on the Kindle is more trouble that it is worth, so you can rest assured that students are too off task with a Kindle in their hands. That is part of my reason for downplaying the Kindle's internet capabilities.