Getting Around

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Amazon Kindle (the little one)

Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G, 6" Display, White, 3G Works Globally - Latest GenerationI got a Kindle last fall as a gift from my in-laws.  For me this was a complete luxury item and not a necessity.  I confess to being a bit of a library snob and I don’t like to pay for my books.  (I should note that it helps that I live in a town with a fantastic library, thus making my library snobishness possible.)  I’ve been using it for the better part of the last year.  Well, I’ve been using it when I could rip it out of the hands of the other members of my family.
Just as you’ve probably read, the screen looks like printed ink.  It really does.  You can read it in the bright sun, but not the dark.  I do find that my reading speed is a bit slower on the Kindle than with a printed book, but I think that’s inevitable given the mechanics of using it.

What’s been really handy has been getting books WHENEVER WE WANT.  In general I tell my family that we can only purchase books that are 1) free, 2) on sale, or 3) not available at our fantastic library.  When my son ran out of Hardy Boys books at the library, Kindle to the rescue.  When we were driving along in a car trip and somebody ran out of books (gasp!), Kindle to the rescue.  The kids haven’t figured out that they can turn on the Whispersync and just order books without my approval, which is a good thing.

My big pet peeve with the Kindle is the lack of page numbers.  I don’t actually care about page numbers, but if you want to buy a book for a class you find that during class discussion the instructor will direct you to a certain page.  You can’t do that.  You could search for a phrase to find your place, which is fine, but you can’t tell anyone else where you are if they’ve got a paper book.  I’m also not sure how you would reference the location number if you needed the book as a source for a research paper, but I’m sure some research person has figured this out and I just don’t know it.  Some of my textbooks have been cheaper for the Kindle but I opted for paper because the classes were discussion-heavy, so I’m hoping they resolve this.

If you’re planning on using this for textbooks make sure you’re not getting a textbook with a lot of graphics.  The technology just isn’t there yet to reproduce those.  Black and white images do appear, but they’re always in an odd spot and often unusable.  Books that are mainly text are perfect though, and it’s nice to be able to search.  I use the personal notations feature quite a bit.  I’d also recommend, if you’re getting this for textbooks, to get the big Kindle (link for white, link for graphite).  You’ll appreciate the extra screen real estate.  I know I would.

Get yourself a case to protect your investment and enjoy all the books at your disposal.  I download something that’s temporarily free probably every week.  That’s right, FREE.  Amazon doesn’t realize this, but they haven’t made that much money off me since I got my Kindle.  I've also got the apps for my PC and my Android phone, effectively tripling the number of people who can read books Kindle style.  But they all seem to prefer the device itself, for some reason.

Anyway, I love my Kindle and so does my immediate family.  Speaking of, I have to go find out who’s got MY Kindle right now…

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