I’ve been using my Kindle for a couple of weeks now and wanted to give you a report. First, I really do love it and I’m glad I got it. The convenience has been amazing and already has helped me start catching up on reading, simply because of the portability. Here are a few more thoughts:
Design: Many people already reported on the design that makes it easy to inadvertently turn pages, so I was ready for this. They’re right, it’s annoying sometimes, but I’m getting used to it.
Reading: The screen is SO cool, it’s NOTHING like reading on the computer. It’s not hard on the eyes at all. You can even change your font size. As I’ve had it with me while out in public, many people have taken a look at the screen and been amazed. It’s funny, at first without seeing it up close, people begin saying all the reasons they could never use one of those newfangled contraptions… bad for their eyes, etc. Then I show them the screen and they’re like, “Oh! Ohhhhh… I see. Wow.”
Portability: I carry it with me everywhere in my purse. I love this! But it’s only because of my specific lifestyle that the Kindle is perfect for me. (1) I have a LOT of reading to do, all the time, and (2) I’m out and about all the time, whether it’s on business (conferences) or taking the kids places. I’ve found the Kindle most helpful in these situations where I have a few minutes of down-time or waiting time that previously might have been wasted, or I might have used it to check email (on my phone). Now I can spend that time reading. (Often I’m at kids’ activities where the waiting time is hours, not just minutes.)
Adding documents to the Kindle: Kindle is totally wireless so I never have to connect it to my computer. Amazon sends books wirelessly; and my Kindle has its own email address, so when I want to place a manuscript or proposal on the Kindle, I simply send it thru email as a Word attachment, and it shows up on my screen within seconds. Even though I have a special Kindle email address, it can’t get spam because it’s set to only accept email from pre-approved addresses.
Ordering books: I’m sure I’ll mostly use the Kindle for work (reading manuscripts) but occasionally I may want to read books on it. There are already thousands of books available from Amazon in the Kindle format. Last weekend I wanted to start reading some of the Christy nominees that I haven’t read yet, so I began searching Kindle books for Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet, Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee, and Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin… none of which were available in Kindle format. Bummer. Searching around revealed 415 Kindle titles listed under “Religious Fiction,” many of them bestsellers like Beverly Lewis, Jenkins & LaHaye, Francine Rivers, and Karen Kingsbury. Included in “religious fiction” are also authors publishing with ABA houses… Debbie Macomber, Anne Rice, Anita Diamont. Anyway, I couldn’t find what I wanted but there are always dozens of secular books on my “to read” list, so I decided to order The Double Bind by Chris Bohalian. It feels weird reading a book in this format, but I think I’ll get used to it.
Price/Value: While the Kindle is rather expensive, I believe it was worth it. I wouldn’t have bought it if it weren’t for business purposes and if it weren’t a legitimate tax write-off. I can’t see myself using it for pleasure reading nearly as much as for work, but you never know! (I’ll bet this summer when I take my kids to the pool I’ll have it with me every time, although I’ll be nervous about it getting wet or dirty.) Anyway, it has already made me more efficient in my work, and I believe its usefulness will increase over time, as I’m able to share documents with others who have Kindles. I can see how this would be revolutionary inside a publishing house. Rather than having an assistant Xerox copies of manuscripts and proposals for everyone, they can simply send emails to everyone’s e-readers or Kindles.
Bottom line… if you don’t have a real work-related reason to have a Kindle, and you’re a book lover who “loves the feel and smell and weight of a book in your hands,” and if the $400 price is an issue, then there’s not much reason to buy one, or feel bad that you don’t have one. For me, however, the Kindle is my favorite new toy since the iPod.