When Amazon first announced the Kindle, I think I blanched. After all, how could you replace the physical copy of a book? It’s just so unromantic, too modern. And yet, the idea grew on me. I could carry hundreds of books in my purse, you say? I could have my entire library with me, search the books, highlight things and search for those highlights? As a student of literature, it was a very intriguing idea.
And then my amazing fiance got me one for my birthday.
I had no idea just how awesome it was.
Now granted, nothing can replace my library. After all, I still love to read a physical copy of a book. I also like to own the physical copies, because that small bit of pride likes it that people can see which books I own. Since I was a kid, I’ve wanted the library that Beast gives Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. But until I can afford the mansion with the large library, I have to settle for a few overflowing shelves tucked in the corner of my bedroom.
And yet, now I can carry Belle’s massive library with me at all times. The Kindle is lightweight, so it doesn’t add much to the normal clutter I carry in my purse. It is also roughly the size of a normal paperback, but much skinner. I keep mine in a protective case, just so my screen doesn’t get scratched by whatever could be lurking in my bags. The other benefit is how long the power lasts. I opened my Kindle on my birthday, at the end of June. I did not have to charge it until the end of July. And even though it’s had heavier usage in the last month, I only charged it for the third time a week ago. So basically, the battery lasts 3-4 weeks, and that was with my WiFi on the entire time. Pretty darn amazing.
Some people would say I should have just gone for a tablet, like Barnes and Noble’s Nook or all out for something like the iPad. One, I just wanted to read books. Because the Kindle is devoted to that function, it was perfect for me. Two, if I went for the Nook or an iPad I would be charging it every other day, they are heavier, larger, and clunkier to carry. Plus, with the Nook I would have to purchase from B&N, who are going to be more expensive and won’t have the same buying power as Amazon. While the iPad does have a Kindle app (as does my android phone, so I can put books on there if I want), the glare would also start to kill your eyes.
The electronic ink of the Kindle is perhaps its best and worst feature. Best because its no more painful or strains your eyes than a regular book would. Worst because it does not have a back light, so you need some kind of book light to read in the dark. While I of course own a few book lights, I do wish the Kindle would come out with an optional back light. That way, you could turn it on only when you needed it. Sure, it would run down your battery, but at least you would have the ability to read better on a plane or just in your room. So Amazon, if you ever read this blog (here’s hoping!), optional back light function on the Kindle. Default function to off. Get inventing!
As far as the actual reading of the books goes, the Kindle is amazing. I have never been one for reading multiple books at a time, but it is pretty easy to do just that on the device. For instance, I can have a fun, beach-type read that I can pick up from time to time and flip back to the books I read for review here. It saves where you are in the book, so you never have to navigate back, and it also saves you from using bookmarks (I always seem to lose mine, including one I got from the Sherlock Holmes house last year, and I am still gutted about that. Of course, it is probably in one of my books, I just have to figure out which one. Amusing. I should get Sherlock to find it.). While I do miss holding a book and seeing the number of pages decrease in my right hand, Kindle does give you the percentage read. It is better than having some arbitrary page number (Nook readers tell me this is what it does), because you’ll have no idea how many pages are in the book itself.
Enough about my love of the Kindle. Well, just a bit more. Some people, like myself, were afraid that the EReader would kill the publishing industry. I think it’s actually thriving because of it. Books can be offered at a lower cost to the publisher, giving them a higher profit. And frankly, more people are reading. Think about all those dead times you have – waiting in a doctor’s office, waiting in line at the DMV, or your morning commute (NOT if you’re driving, I mean public transport here). You have the ability now to carry more than one reading option with you, on something small enough that it doesn’t become cumbersome to carry. Now you can fill those dead hours with reading the new Ian Rankin, Neil Gaiman, or Denise Mina books. Now that reading is easier and more convenient in this fast-paced world, more of us are making time to do it. Even as an avid reader, I do find myself reading more often because of my Kindle.
(You can also get magazine subscriptions, newspapers, and other more informative things on the Kindle. I just go for the books, though.)