As stated in an earlier post back when I was still using beinggod.com for regular updates, I finally decided to go ahead and order a Kindle from Amazon. Since this was my first time going the e-reader route, I did decide to try the safe route, and went with a free trial offer I received as a Prime member.
Now that I’ve had my Kindle for a few weeks, it’s time to share my thoughts – and why I recommend one for anybody who does even a fair amount of reading. Rather than go with an exhaustive review, however, I’ve decided to narrow it down to seven reasons to buy a Kindle. (Not necessarily the seven best reasons either – just seven really good reasons).
- Easy On the Eyes. By this I’m not referring to the actual design of the Kindle (although it is fairly pretty), but instead I’m referring to the e-ink technology. I’ve been following e-ink for quite some time (it definitely relates to my work in the sheet music industry), but up until now everything I’ve read about e-ink has been just that: what I’ve read. I hadn’t actually seen the technology.If you’re unfamiliar with e-ink, the really quick explanation is this: basically it uses the same technology that a laser printer uses to place ink on paper, except that instead of putting it on paper it puts it on a kind of plastic screen. There’s no backlight and there’s no flicker like you’d have on an LCD. Instead it looks just like paper, and is extraordinarily easy on the eyes – meaning extended reading sessions are just as comfortable as they’d be with regular print.
- Compact. I’m not a student, nor do I do a lot of traveling or commuting. Even so, the times I do take books places with me (flying to visit family, etc) it’s a huge burden to haul along a stack of them. Very often I’m reading more than one book at a time, so in order to keep up with them I like to take them all with me. There have been instances where it seems like I have my entire carry-on devoted just to books and my Nintendo DS. Thanks to my new Kindle, I’m going to be able to save a ton of space for my upcoming trip to San Francisco.Besides saving space when travelling, I am also excited to not have to take up shelves and shelves of space in my home with my books. My basement is filled with them. My office is filled with them. I give them away at work just to get rid of ones I can’t sell and don’t plan on reading again. Not a problem any more.
- Always Open.When I’m reading, I generally tend to get really sucked in. This means I’m carrying my book throughout the house, reading while I eat breakfast, brush my teeth, etc. The problem with regular books though was that I always had to try to figure out a way to keep it open – usually by putting something heavy across the book in a part of the page I hadn’t gotten to yet, then moving it to cover what I’d already read when I got to the part I was covering.With the Kindle it’s always flat. I can set it down and read while I do anything else.
- Adjustable Text Size.As stated in #3, I like to read while I do other things. Sometimes this means I’m a few feet away from the book. Since the Kindle allows me to adjust text size on the fly I can easily increase the font and read from far away, then drop it back down when I’m reading like normal.
- Wireless (Whispernet).The Kindle uses EVDO, the network used by cell phones, for its wireless access. Not only do they provide this access free of charge, but since it’s not reliant on wi-fi you are guaranteed to have a signal pretty much anywhere you go (well, except for way in the middle of nowhere). The wireless access gives you access to the Kindle Store at all times, meaning you can shop and download a book whenever you want – or if you’re not sure you want the book you can either “save it for later” or download a free sample chapter. This worked out perfectly for me the other day when I came across Neal Stephenson’s Anathem when I was out shopping – I quick logged on to my Kindle and downloaded the sample chapter for when I got home. Beyond simple shopping, the wireless network also allows you to easily subscribe to a variety of newspapers from around the world, as well as a very nice selection of popular blogs (I subscribe to Mashable! and Ars Technica, myself). There is a cost involved ($.99 a month for each blog I read), but the content is ad-free, formatted for the Kindle, and automatically updated via the wireless anytime a new article is posted.
- Excellent Catalog. There’s not much to say here, other than the fact that pretty much any book you’d ever want to read is already available on Kindle – and thousands more are being added on a regular basis. In addition, they’re all $9.99 or less (I picked up Brave New World for under $5!).
- Green.Rechargeable batteries with a very long life, no trees used to make hundreds of sheets of paper, instant delivery so no fuel used… pretty environmentally friendly to me.