Daily Archives: February 11, 2010

Kindle Revisited

My Kindle got a work out on vacation.  Much more so than anticipated.  As promised, I am here to report how I like or didn’t like my e-reader.

For starters, let me say love is a more apropos word to use.  I couldn’t be happier with me decision to purchase a Kindle.  In no particular order, here are the reasons why:

  • It was light, unobtrusive and took up virtually no space.  I read three+ books while on vacation and didn’t have to juggle them in bags, at the airport or in suitcases.  For those who have never seen a Kindle, it is roughly the size of a DVD case and about as light.  Because it was so convenient, it went with me everywhere.
  • And I do mean that in the literal sense.  It, too, tried to snorkel.  Upon purchasing my Kindle, I had been slightly miffed that I couldn’t order the official cover which is leather and has a hinge to hold the “book” in place.  My sister got one and says it functions like an actual book cover and can flop open like a real one.  In essence this means pencils and chapstick and receipts and hair clips can make their way between the Kindle and the cover like a real book if it is thrown into a bag (all my stuff is always thrown into a random bag).  As I didn’t have one of these official leather covers, I used a quilted cloth bag that my sister had made my DD once upon a time.  It fit perfectly.  It protected my Kindle from the contents of my bag as well as the ocean water.  My dear Kindle surfaced unscathed from its dunking.
  • A real book wouldn’t have fared so well (though I don’t actually recommend letting your Kindle swim) and would have needed to be dried.  It inevitably would have ended up with wrinkled pages that are annoying to read.  Also annoying to read while in the elements is the propensity for pages to blow in the wind.  On our day at sea, the wind was ferocious.  The gal next to me literally had a page torn out of her book as she tried to hold onto it.  Another vacationer performed great acrobatic acts with her arms to keep the pages flat.  I lounged with my Kindle in one hand and read away!
  • Which brings me to my next point: the light.  Everyone knows how frustrating electronics can be in the sunlight.  They are virtually unreadable with the glare.  My Kindle had none.  I didn’t have to adjust the way I held it either.  I do, however, have one complaint about the glare.  I found it to be present when an uncovered lightbulb shone directly on it.  This made airplane reading a little more difficult once the sun went down and reminded me of the glare on a television screen.
  • Comfort.  As much as I love the feel of paper between my fingers, I did enjoy the ability to hold my Kindle one-handed–even while flipping pages.  I’m a snuggler and on the six hour plane ride, I curled up in my middle seat so my limbs would not encrouch in other passengers’ spaces.  My Kindle curled up right along with me.  Very nice indeed.
  • Also nice has been my battery life.  Many people have complained about it and say the 2 week advertised life is a crock.  It may be for some, but here’s the deal: I got my Kindle on January 23 and charged it.  One day shy of three full weeks, I still have about 1/4 of my initial battery charge.  Maybe I didn’t read it as often as others do, but I did read every morning while I worked out prior to vacation and again before bed.  I read while I got a pedicure and for 12 hours on the plane.  I read during my day at sea and on four different islands.  On one charge I read four books and two novellas.  The key, I think, is to keep the wi-fi off.
  •  Navigating the Kindle was a cinch as well.  I think the keyboard is tiny, but I didn’t use it.  The toggle switch is simple and responsive.  The page turning feature a breeze.  The only thing I could think to complain about might be the etch-a-sketch rearranging of the words from page to page.  Some people have said it is distracting.  I didn’t find it any more intrusive than the flutter of a real page. 
  • Downloading was a bit of a challenge.  My tiny corner of Minnesota does not have Amazon’s whispernet service.  Therefore, while I am in my own home, I have to download books via my computer.  If I drive across the border about ten miles I can download directly onto my Kindle.  It’s not a deal breaker by any means.  Just an added step.
  • The color.  Brand new, the white looks crisp and clean.  I was hyper-conscious of this while sunbathing on the beach.  I fear that in no time, the oils from my fingers will discolor the cover and it will end up looking like the dingy gray of my boys’ Nintendo DS’s.  I don’t look forward to that.  Ditto for the screen, which picks up lint, sand and crumbs.  A soft toothbrush sweeps out the edges, but again, gunk is gunk and I’m only a pig when it comes to my closet.
  • Sharing.  It can be done.  My sister and I share the same Amazon account.  My Kindle library is her library and vice-versa.  Up to six devices can share one account.  I think this feature will broaden my reading a bit, as we our ven diagram is sufficiently diverse.   

I think that’s it for now.  If anyone has any questions regarding the Kindle, I will do my best to answer them honestly.  Would I buy it again?  Heck yeah. 

Is the Kindle for everyone?  Probably not.  It depends on why you read and how you read.  Are you a collector of hard cover books or a paper back junkie?  Knowing what you are buying is an important factor in deciding if an e-reader is right for you. 

But would I recommend it?  Absolutely…