Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kindling with the Amazon Kindle

Well, I'm officially a Kindler. Actually I have been one since November when I left for Hawaii, but am only just now blogging about it. I did buy an Amazon Kindle during Oprah's promotion and have read at least a dozen books on it since then. I've probably also read at least a dozen "real" books as well during this time, though.

I honestly love the Kindle. It's different from reading hardcopy books---not better or worse---just different. It's definitely better than lugging around a load of books when you're traveling. Or waiting in a doctor's waiting room. You save lots of money on books, too. You can read more. It's easy and fun to use. You can carry your Kindle library anywhere you go, including reference books---all in one little package.

But there are some negatives to the Kindle. You have to be really careful where you leave it so that no one steals it. You would never leave it by the side of your beach chair when you pop into the ocean. Also, I haven't used it in my bathtub. How many of us have never dropped a book into the tub when we're bathing? And then tried to dry it out in the oven? Well, maybe not you, but that's me. And you wouldn't want to use your Kindle while you're eating buttered popcorn.

Other than that, I find using the Kindle amazing. The Kindle is intended to be "transparent" to your reading experience. So that means it's supposed to feel like reading a book. And it does. Except that it is easier on your eyes. And the font size can be adjusted---a big plus for aging baby boomers like me.

You can order books quickly from anywhere there is cell phone reception via the Kindle on Amazon's free Whispernet (availability is like a cell phone rather than a wireless computer). Recently Amazon gave us a free edition of USA Today. Some people read all of their newspapers on the Kindle. And everything on the Kindle is searchable. Work lookup is available constantly---no more running for the dictionary! The Kindle is ideal for people who are disappointed that their dictionary is too large to travel well...those of us who are in love with words...

As an early adopter, I love it, especially at this stage---pioneering, beta, helping Amazon build a Kindle library single-handedly, etc. If you are not an early adopter, you might want to wait a little bit. Mine had to be replaced once for defects, and so did the only other person's I know who has a Kindle. Many popular books just being released are on Kindle, but so many not so mainstream books are not.

As of the date of this posting, the Amazon Kindle is backordered 7-9 weeks. There was an unprecedented demand for them over the holidays, and after the Oprah promotion and discount.

To watch a video of the Kindle in action, visit the Amazon Kindle page---be sure especially to watch the large video in the middle of the page.

The Amazon Kindle is pricey (without Oprah's discount, now up to $359, and selling on ebay and craigslist for more), but eventually pays for itself if you're a prolific reader and/or traveler who buys their own books. Otherwise it's a fun toy more important to readers than an iPhone, a Blackberry, or a laptop computer. And for older eyes, it's a lovely blessing.

Any questions, please feel free to ask!


patti said...

My first thought was 'do they break down?' A book is completely reliable, with the exception of torn pages.

The kindle does have some good selling points. It would be great not to have to go searching for my glasses every time I wanted to read.

For me, I'd rather wait and see what the early users come up against, and whether the price comes down a bit as often happens with new technology.

Olivia said...


They absolutely can and do break down. Or have flaws. They're sort of in beta right now. Also, I have heard stories that the batteries only last three months; I have a back-up battery on order, but am still waiting for that, as they are sold out of them as well.

I think that the price will come down in the future. Also, I think that many of the issues with the Kindles will be worked out.

Now, it's mainly for the early adopters (like me).

Good choice!

xxoo, O