So I got a Kindle for Christmas. I’d always been one of those people who thought I could only read books on paper. I’ve heard people say they love the sound of the pages turning, the smell of the ink on the paper.
Balderdash. (Sorry, I’ve always wanted to say that.) I love my Kindle! It’s small, so it fits easily in my purse. If I get stuck in line somewhere, or waiting at the doctor’s office, or waiting for my son to get his hair cut, or waiting in a parking lot to pick someone up … dear Lord, moms wait alot … no problem, I pull out my Kindle and read. If I get tired of reading one book, I call up another. I don’t have to lug around multiple books for different moods. It holds something like 1,000 books. I could be trapped in a (food-filled) cave and be happy for years! I’ve even got this cute little clippy light so I can read in bed. My daughter’s Kindle Fire has a built-in light, but it’s also heavier.
Her Fire is cool; she has an entire season of “Beverly Hills Housewife” on it, along with some of her favorite movies, music, and a couple of books. But … the on-board memory is limited. Two TV show series, a couple of movies and a few books are all it holds. They don’t really intend for you store stuff — you have a “Cloud,” or personal storage, at Amazon, so you’re supposed to hook up to the web wirelessly and watch stuff that way. It’s yours forever, and you don’t have to worry about your hard drive crashing or whatever. Unfortunately, our house is a signal-unfriendly house. Cell phones lose coverage as you pull into the driveway; dial-up internet constantly loses connection; wireless routers don’t work well. My daughter’s room gets great signal; my son’s gets almost none. (I think there is either a missile silo or the mouth of Hell under my house. My daughter thinks it’s an Indian grave-yard, and the ghosts are pissed.) If you have easy wireless internet access, the Cloud is awesome.
I just want to read, so my cheap, light-weight Kindle is fine for me. I really had a hard time deciding between the Kindle and the Nook. The Nook just feels good in your hand, and the program for your computer seemed very intuitive and easy to use. They also have a 7-inch Nook Tablet that I would consider before the Fire because you can store stuff on those little memory cards to use when you don’t have internet access. Apparently it’s not quite as easy to download movies to it as it is to buy one through Amazon, but you can save all the movies you want to a memory card, which is a huge plus. But the baseline Kindles and Nooks seem pretty similar. (Though I hate the page-turn buttons on the side of my Kindle — they’re on both sides, so I keep turning the page on accident. You hold the thing on the sides. Why didn’t they put the buttons on top, or on bottom so you could hit them with your thumbs?) So how did I choose the Kindle? Honestly, it just happened. It was there, it was on sale, I was there, I had money, it happened.
The coolest, least expected benefit is when it comes to editing. When I’m content editing, I like to read through a book before I edit or proofread. Everything I edit is electronic, so I put some quick and dirty HTML coding on the book, run it through the Calibre book-making program, and save it to my Kindle. Voila! I can work anywhere, anytime. Since my work is also my pleasure, the Kindle really makes me happy.
I haven’t checked out library lending yet, but that’s my next step. I know some publishers aren’t doing library lending of e-books yet, which stinks, but there are a million $1 books out there, including mine. Good books too, things publishers think aren’t “sellable” but are really different sometimes, not the cookie-cutter books you often see at the bookstores (like the three million “Twilight” knockoffs, or the current zombie book craze).
You all should get a Kindle or Nook and buy some indie $1 books. You’ll make some lonely author ecstatic, and you might find some gems you’d never get a whack at otherwise. And isn’t it always nice to stick it to the man?