Ask The Readers: Can I use the Kindle as a GM tool?

Amazon Kindle Amazon is finally shipping its Kindle ebook reader to Non-US customers, too. They still don’t offer localized versions, but at least people from all over the world can order the Kindle from and access the Whispernet in 100 countries.

I have to admit I love gadgets. And I have been looking for a decent ebook reader for quite some time now and Amazon’s Kindle looks pretty decent if you ask me. But if I put so much money on the table I want to be able to use the Kindle at the gaming table, too. So, are there any RPG rulebooks available on the Kindle store? How easy is it to convert PDFs (I am thinking about the stuff I bought on RPGNow for example)? Can the Kindle handle graphic intensive books? If you have used the Kindle for this purpose before please share your experiences!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

6 thoughts on “Ask The Readers: Can I use the Kindle as a GM tool?”

  1. Sorry, can't find blog/post but another blogger got a Kindle DX and was greatly disappointed.

    I don't remember the details save the PDF reader is extremely basic, no bookmarks, indexing.

    It convinced me not to buy any reader unless/until I could physically test it with my own PDFs

    Also modern game PDFs are full color graphics laden monstrosities that tax my desktop. They got to be even worse on the slower (both display EInk and CPU) Kindle's.
    .-= Norman Harman´s last blog =-.

  2. On a slightly tangential note, I've gotten an iPod Touch from my work, and I've been using it the last few months. Perfect for a lot of gaming uses, especially the ability to get on the internet, access Google docs (especially uploaded PDFs, maps, Google Earth…it offers a lot of laptop capabilities without the "presence" if you will of having a laptop on the gaming table.

    As long as you don't mind the smaller screen (and it is surprisingly sharp and high-res, so the smaller size isn't that much of a disadvanrage), I'd seriously consider getting one instead, especially if you game near an accessible WAP.
    .-= Badelaire´s last blog ..Iconic Elements in Campaign Setting Design =-.

  3. Oh God No.

    Don't get me wrong. I love my kindle, it's fantastic for reading novels, but it is a _terrible_ reference device (you have to use the search function -which sucks – when it would be far more efficient to just flip through things) and PDF conversion for a non-DX is painful at best.

    I have actually converted a few books I own over for it (mostly indie-games since the formatting tends to make conversion easier) and while they can be ok with a fair amount of work, you still need to be very tolerant of artifacts and formatting foolishness.

    I suspect that certain games _could_ be published in Kindle format to good effect, but they would universally be smaller games with more limited formatting, and that's kind of a niche market at the moment.

    -Rob D.
    .-= Rob Donoghue´s last blog ..Road to Amber: Lessons 1 through 5 =-.

  4. Awww… that's a shame. Do you know if this is a general problem with ebook readers or a Kindle speciality?

  5. The PDF thing is just a technological hurdle, and I understand that some of the pricier models (like the irex Iliad) handle it better, but I haven't seen it firsthand. Similarly, I expect conversion software to steadily improve.

    Unfortunately, the inability to flip through the material is unlikely to change. It's just baked into the e-ink technology. To determine whether or not this is a big deal, just take some time paying attention to how you use the books you have. If you go to the index, find a page, and go to that page, then the kindle method might not be too painful (esp. as they fix the search software), but if you just flip through it and find the right page, then the kindle method will seem intensely cumbersome.

    -Rob D.
    .-= Rob Donoghue´s last blog ..Road to Amber: Lessons 1 through 5 =-.

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