Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why I Love My Kindle

A number of you have emailed me asking if I have a Kindle. The answer is YES!

My wonderful, adoring, way-too-good-for-me husband gave me one a couple months ago for Mother's Day. When he first suggested it, I wasn't so sure. I mean, I'd not yet seen one in person and really didn't know if I wanted one. Call me a skeptic. Since then, however, I've become a convert. Here are some of the reasons I love my Kindle.

1- Portability: It's small and light. No matter where I'm traveling or for how long, I always take a bag of books. A big bag of books. This thing holds up to 1000 books and weighs less than my purse. It's like carrying one book, but still having access to hundreds. This translates into a big space, time and weight saver. I no longer have to spend extra time deciding which books to take or pack; they're all right there in one small, light, convenient device.

2- Visibility: I was skeptic about an electronic reading device for a number of reasons, but visibility was the biggest. I love to read outdoors. If I can't see it, what's the point? This is actually easier on my eyes than a bound paper book. It's incredible easy to see and it doesn't reflect the sun like smooth white paper.

Add to this the viewing options. The font is always in Time New Roman (or something very, very similar), but readers can choose from SIX different font sizes with the simple push of a button.

3- Versatility: I haven't ventured into reading blogs, newspapers or magazines on my Kindle, so I can't vouch for those elements. However, I have converted several personal documents to Kindle format. This is fantastic! The service is completely free and takes less than two minutes.

Why would I want to do that? Well, several publishers offer FREE e-versions of their books (not all books, but some of them) via their websites. You can download them to your computer, but who wants to sit in front of a monitor for hours reading? I'd rather curl up on the couch or lay in my yard than sit in a chair staring at a glowing rectangle. Kindle allows me to convert those FREE e-books to my reader and enjoy them like I would any other book. What's better than a free book??

Also, when clients send me manuscripts to edit, I can translate those Word documents to my Kindle, then edit at the park while the kids are playing. Did I mention the edit features? Oh, you're gonna love this.

4- Notation & Editing Features: The Kindle allows readers to dog-ear pages. Yes! I can bookmark or dog-ear a page without destroying a book!! It's very exciting. I can highlight passages, insert notes directly into the text, search for specific chapters or even keywords. I can hop back and forth between sections of the book the same way I would with a "real" book. All of these notations can then be compiled into an email or document and translated to my laptop. All at no additional charge.

The keyboard is small. It's more for texting than typing, but it works and is relatively easy to use.

5- Audio: The Kindle, with the simple push of a couple buttons, converts any book on the device to audio. Instantly. I can choose between a male or female voice and even select the speed at which the person talks. (There are three options for audio speed.) The voices are a bit robotic, but it works. I can sit my Kindle on the seat next to me while I drive (assuming the kids are not being too noisy in the back seat) or on the table while I fold laundry. I love it!

6- Reading material is cheaper: The Kindle is expensive. It runs about $350 for the device, plus another $65 if you get the warranty. I paid another $30 for a leather cover/case. BUT books themselves are cheaper. I've already mentioned all the free ones I've converted from various publishers -- great titles like The Noticer and Same Kind of Different as Me. Amazon also offers several free books -- classics like Pride & Prejudice, Little Women and Treasure Island, as well as more contemporary novels. Even when you pay for your reading material, it's cheaper. Magazines are $1-3 for monthly subscriptions; bestsellers and new releases are almost always $9.99. That's 40-60% off the cover prices!

7- Sample chapters: I mentioned this yesterday. I get to sample EVERY book that interests me before I buy it. I LOVE this feature. It's saving me a ton of money be filtering out the books I think I might like, but in reality, I'll never read.

8- It's comfortable: One of my biggest concerns about getting this was that it would feel cold and sterile. What I love most about books is how they absorb me into their worlds. I worried I wouldn't feel that same comfy affection with a hard electronic device. I'm not sure why, but this feels the same to me. That really surprised me! It's actually more comfortable than a book because I don't have to repeatedly change my hold in order to prevent getting a one-handed cramp. It offers buttons on both the left and right for turning pages, so I can hold it easily with either hand. And because it's so small and light, I can still curl up in my favorite reading spots, same as always. Furthermore, the cover I purchased adds to the comfort. It allows upright, hands-free reading (or listening, if I turn on the audio feature). It's great.

9- It's fast: I can shop the AmazonKindle store right from my device. I don't need to use my computer to order books; my Kindle has wireless built in. (FYI: the battery lasts over a week if you turn the wireless off when not in use.) Books are downloaded right to my device in less than 60 seconds. Same with sample chapters. Converting documents takes only about 3 minutes. It's fantastic! Fast, convenient, easy.

10- So much more! The Kindle has a built in dictionary. If I come across an unfamiliar word, I simply click on it, and the definition, along with synonyms, antonyms and options. It's green. I'm saving trees!! :) It offers basic web browsing and plays MP3s. It can even store personal pictures as the screen savers!

If you have questions, leave them in the comments section. I'd love to answer them!

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