Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Review of Amazon's Kindle

My husband bought me a Kindle last week. For those unaware, a Kindle is an electronic reader that's compact, lightweight, and able to hold hundreds of books. If you're thinking of getting one, here's my review in a nutshell: Go buy it today. Want details? Here's why I love it.

It's comfortable.
It's lightweight and slim so that I can read at any angle with one hand. Makes regular books and newspapers seem bulky and awkward. The print is black and white, like a paper page, so there's no eyestrain. I can even adjust the size of the font. Wish I could do that with some books! I find myself reading a lot more than I used to.

It's saving me money. I have a serious case of B.A.D.: "Book Acquisition Disease." I buy stacks of books, which get read sooner or later. Unless they don't. Even though I intended to. Not only were those purchases money down the drain, but I'm storing those unread books around my house. Let's not even talk about the boxes in the garage. You know you're pathetic when you buy a book you've already bought because you can't find the previous copy. Or you forget you've already bought it.

With Kindle, I can preview a good chunk of any book I'm interested in. Then I can either purchase it and it arrives wirelessly within a minute, or I click a button that says "save for later." When "later" comes, I'll be able to go to that list of saved items and pick something I want to read and pay for it then. Most books are $9.99 or less.

Which brings up my next thrill (and symptom of B.A.D). There are literally thousands of books available for free. You can find nearly anything in the public domain at websites such as Project Gutenberg, and Amazon has a very extensive list of free books to pick from. So I'm still collecting books - only now they don't take up space in my house, just a little space on my Kindle. Old habits never die.

No inky fingers. I'm getting used to waking up in the morning and reaching for the day's newspaper - right there on my nightstand. There are a lot of newspapers and magazines to choose from, and while you wouldn't want to read "National Geographic" on it (it only supports grayscale pictures), it's great for up to the minute articles.

A little bit of web. If I'm too lazy to walk all the way to my computer, I can check my email and read the news on or check fandago for movie times. The internet connection is included in the cost of the device and runs through cell phone technology. So it's not lightning fast, but it's good enough, and I don't need a wi-fi hotspot to use it.

There are a lot more features, including a built-in dictionary; just click on a word in any book to see its meaning, and text to speech, if you want a book read to you (results vary on this one).

Now that I've had it for a bit, I can't imagine how I lived without it, and I also can't see myself buying traditional style books ever again. I even took the kids to a bookstore and didn't buy myself a single book. Some kind of record for me.

Fire away if you have questions. I know it's an investment, but trust me, it's well worth it.

13 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Eileen said...

Your books in the attic will probably some day be very collectible. :-)

Bea said...

What a great item! I've never heard of them before. While I am an avid reader, I'm not much on buying books. Always seems a waste of money to buy a book, read it and be done with it. That's why I use the public library.

Threeundertwo said...

I use the library a lot too, and I have the fines to prove it, LOL. I'm terrible about renewing books on time. Another reason this is great for people like me.

You can also get a book the minute it's published, instead of having to wait on a waiting list at the library.

Dena said...

Do you have the first or second generation? Not that it matters because I can't afford either one but there's always Christmas & maybe the price will have come way down by then.

Threeundertwo said...

I have the second generation. Cost about as much as my ipod. I justify my ipod as holding my entire music collection. I think my Kindle will eventually hold my entire book collection.

Veggie Mom said...

I'm an avid reader, too, and the Kindle seems like the best way to accommodate those like you and me. But I do have one little ol' question...don't you miss turning the pages?

Threeundertwo said...

There's a 'page turn' button on each side, and it takes a brief moment to change over, so you still get the sensation of turning pages, but no, I don't miss that exactly.

I used to read books on my cell phone, and I did like that autoscroll feature, which the Kindle doesn't have. Makes up for it by presenting a whole page at a time though.

Laura said...

I'm so jealous! This would be so much more convenient to carry books on a plane. I end up having to lug along so many heavy books.

I use the library, too, but I'm a re-reader of books. So the ones I know I want to re-read (and I can re-read them over and over and still enjoy them), I want to own. That way when the urge for a particular book hits me, I have it. The kindle seems like a great way to have that, but limit the space it occupies.

Lindsay-ann said...

Your kindle sounds great. I won't tell my husband about it because he will want one!

Des said...

so will it just store all of these books forever?? the ones you buy??

do you have to plug it in and charge it at night? does it have an adapter or is it strictly batteries only? is it a special battery? expensive?

can you read it at night? does it have it's own night light?

do you find that you can find (sorry, redundant) older titles...not just classics? I belong to a book club and they always have some 1970's something or other to find. like "The Dwelling Place" Catherine Cookson.

Threeundertwo said...

Hi Des,

It archives the books you're done with onto your account at Amazon, so you can load them on again any time. So you don't have to store them all on the Kindle itself.

It has an adapter which can either charge through your pc or you can plug it into an outlet. The battery inside is supposed to last 2 weeks, but I've been using it really heavily and it lasted about a week for me.

It isn't backlit, so to read at night people get an inexpensive clip-on light. On the upside, it's really easy to read in bright sunlight - no glare.

I didn't see that particular book in a Kindle edition, but it has had almost everything I've looked for so far. Notable exception is the Harry Potter books (which weight a ton! I'd love to have those on my Kindle). Some publishers are waiting to be nudged - when you find a book you want, you can click "tell the publisher I'd like to read this book on Kindle." New titles come out every day. Over 300,000 out now.

thatgirlblogs said...

I have kindle for iPhone and it's free... if anyone is interested in giving the whole kindle thing a test run.

texasholly said...

Whoo hoo! I won a Kindle last week at an event and literally was jumping up and down. I have read all the instructions, etc. but didn't notice the email thing...will have to check on that! I did research the blog reader and from what I can tell you have to submit your blog which has to be free of ads through RSS and it could take from 6 months to forever to be approved. CRAP! I was hoping to subscribe through that to use when I am out and about waiting at karate, swimming lessons, car line, etc.! I haven't found the free books yet - so thanks for the heads up.

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