You probably know this about me already, but I am a gadget person. And I recently got my hands on a few shiny things I’d been lusting after for awhile. I thought, now that I’ve lived with them for some time, I should do a little writeup on how they’re working out for me. My preciouses are: the Amazon Kindle electronic reader; the Roth Motorboard electric scooter, and the Eee PC mini-laptop. I’ll start with the Kindle and then maybe write about the others in another post. Or not, who cares? Google is your friend. And they’re all great products, I recommend them all. :-)
I got my Kindle early this year, as a Christmas present (excellent gift, Daddy!!). At the time the orders were very backlogged so I had to wait 40 days for mine. Now you can just order one and have it delivered the next day! They’re a little cheaper now too, but that’s the price I paid to live on the bleeding edge.
Anyway. There’s not much I can say about the Kindle because it “just works” for me, it’s not something I need to think about anymore. That’s saying a lot because I’m a real tweak-freak, I don’t tend to leave my gadgets alone for very long! But the Kindle just does what it does so well, I really don’t feel the urge to change anything about it, apart from a few features I’d like to see in the next firmware update. (Folders, please.)
As you may know the Kindle works wirelessly through the Sprint network in conjunction with the Amazon website, so you can order any book you want (well, almost) and have it delivered almost instantly to your Kindle. Searching the web-store is super easy. I love how self-contained this gadget is; I very rarely plug it into my computer. In fact, you can do everything you need to do directly on the Kindle, no computer needed. That is elegant, my friend.
The only (small) problem I’ve had is that some of the books I’ve purchased had dodgy formatting — you know, broken links in the table of contents, or missing pages or what have you. In those cases I’ve contacted Amazon and gotten my money back, no problem. Customer service for the Kindle is really really good… from what I can tell, anyone with book problems gets their money back, and anyone with hardware problems gets a replacement Kindle. So there’s no worries about being stuck buying something that you’re unhappy with.
Reading on the Kindle is a pleasure, I must say. This thing has an adjustable font size, very handy if I’m reading in dim light and my eyes are tired. In full daylight I’ll normally use the medium-to-smallish size. I know for a fact that I’m able to read a lot faster on the Kindle than I can with a paper book. It’s easier on the hands and easier on the eyes.
I never did buy another cover for my Kindle, I like the one it came with just fine. It looks like a Moleskine notebook, which is aesthetically pleasing to me, and I’ve never had any problem with the way the cover fits. I don’t use it when I’m reading in bed (it’s a little too bulky), but otherwise it’s always in the cover. It’s especially great for reading in public, because nobody can see the cover of whatever dorky sci-fi book I’m reading. :-) It feels very private and personal that way… I could even read a self-help book if I wanted! Nobody would know! Heh.
So yeah, the Kindle has worked out great for me. I’m still keeping a lot of my paper books (collectibles, computer books and things that wouldn’t translate well to the greyscale display) but I highly recommend the Kindle as a replacement for the piles of throwaway books that tend to accumulate around the house, the ones you don’t want to collect. Of course you can always re-read a book anytime you want — just re-download it from Amazon if you’ve deleted it from your Kindle. But yeah, in my collection there’s a pretty clear line between books that are actually collectible/useful to have, and books that you’ll probably read once and never open again. THOSE are the books I want to get off my shelf and onto my Kindle!
I will leave you with one link to peruse if you’re considering getting a Kindle of your own, or if you have one already and want to learn more. It’s a mailing list on Yahoo actually, called Kindle Korner. There are almost 2000 people in the group so it’s a fantastic resource for information on anything and everything related to the Kindle. Links to free books online, discussions of the best accessories, how-tos, and what-to-do’s if you have problems. It’s all there, and although it’s a pretty noisy list due to all the people, it’s a well moderated list.
So that’s the story. I dig my Kindle. It’s just one of the tools that I use every day; no big whoop, I don’t even think about it too much anymore. It just works well, it saves me money on books, and it’s got me reading a lot more. I never expected to get hooked on an e-reader before I heard about the Kindle, but it’s really changed the way I read and the way I think about books. They’re a lot more accessible now for me and anyone else who has one, and even those who don’t. Because the mania is spreading thanks to the Kindle and other e-readers, I do believe. People want to buy books, and that can only be a good thing for the publishing industry.