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Courtesy Amazon.com

Coming in, somewhat under the radar, Amazon is upgrading the Paperwhite to a brilliant reading experience. The upgrades are full-on focused on making the reading experience great. As I’ve argued elsewhere, e-Ink readers are night-and-day better for reading than tablets, including the Kindle Fire and iPad. Mostly this has to do with eye strain (no more than reading a well-lit paper book), but also they’re distraction free (no email reminders or tweets coming in).  Well, that experience is getting even better, the resolution on the Paperwhite is going up to 300 dpi (sharp), which is the same as the top of line Kindle Voyage, but for $80 less! Not only that, they’re tuning the typography to make it a better reading experience by adding a font tuned for e-Ink, Bookerly and tuning the typesetting.

Here’s a look at Bookerly:


Courtesy Amazon.com

While I use Palatino, I’m definitely going to do some experimenting here.

This provides a little foretaste to the typesetting changes:


Courtesy Amazon.com

Apparently these changes will also help changing font sizes flow through the book layout more smoothly. This will be nice as I typically read at a relatively small font but up it a bit when my eyes are tired.

It may be that these changes will come later than June 30th, but, if the past is any indication, Amazon will put the updates soon thereafter. Speaking of past indicators, it’s likely that the Voyage will receive these updates; it’s less clear if current generation Paperwhites (and below) will receive them since their resolutions may not be able to take advantage of them. We’ll have to wait and see.

So, it you’re contemplating getting a Kindle, this is the one to get if you can swing the $120. The base Kindle still does a more than adequate job of rendering books, but just not quite at this level. If you’re thinking about a Voyage, it’s no longer worth the difference, in my opinion, unless you have lots of disposable cash. Now that the Paperwhite display is on par with the Voyage, it’s the one to get. If you are thinking about getting a tablet like a Kindle Fire to use primarily as a reading device while doing some surfing, email and video, I highly encourage you to get a dedicated e-Ink reader; the $80 version would be better for reading than a tablet. You still get all of the features we’ve come to know and love – highlights and notes saved to the cloud, Whispersync across devices, so if you read on your tablet (or borrow a child’s Kindle ’cause you left yours at work – just sayin’ it’s possible because I might have done it a time or two), you can pick up where you left and if you listened to it on Audible in the car, you can pick up in on the same page as you listened. Finally, if you still love paper, God bless you and keep on reading!