The Dinosaur and the Kindle
I am not a gadget girl. I am not an early adopter. I am a dinosaur. I am in love with books. I like the feel of them, the smell of them, and I am a passionate supporter of independent booksellers. I am the last person in the world who would buy a Kindle. However, Amazon likes me. They gave me a free Kindle 2 as a reward for services rendered. Well, who would turn that down?
Here’s the shocker… I LOVE it! I can’t even believe how much I love my Kindle. A friend of mine wrote a detailed critique of the first Kindle, and I have to say that the new design is a vast improvement. Aside from being slimmer and sleeker, there are plenty of places to hold the device comfortably without activating any functions. The screen is easy to read off of, and I honestly believe that I can read faster on a Kindle than I do with a traditional book. I’m not sure why. Faster page turns? What I can tell you is that it’s exceedingly comfortable and easy to read off the Kindle anywhere, but especially when you have limited space—like on public transportation. You can easily hold the Kindle and turn pages with a single hand.
The Kindle has several features that could best be described as… cool. My eyesight is fine, but I can choose the font size that suits me best. Likewise, I love the text-to-speech feature. A big frustration in my life is that I can’t work on my embroidery (I’m a dinosaur, remember?) and read at the same time. Now, I can have the Kindle read to me while I stitch. Yes, it’s sort of tinny and mechanical, but it’s still a really nice option to use occasionally. In addition to reading published books, I read a lot of unpublished manuscripts. It’s not uncommon to see me schlepping around 600 pages of loosely bound paper. The other day I had the amazing experience of forwarding an email with a manuscript attached to my dedicated Kindle address. Within seconds, the entire MS was in my Kindle, formatted and ready to go. Amazing! I can even make notes on the MS in the machine.
However, possibly the best thing about the Kindle is the fact that I can get internet access for free, almost anywhere. I use it to check my email all the time now. I wouldn’t want to write a novel on the keyboard, but it’s sufficient for brief communications. Now when I go away for the weekend, I can leave my laptop at home! It also works fine for basic internet surfing.
One last thing I was unaware of is how much free or nominally-priced content there is for the Kindle. I’ve got plenty to read, and I haven’t purchased one $9.99 book yet. My first Kindle “purchases” were all free public domain titles. Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle—how can you do better than that? I also read the Kindle Daily Post in the Kindle store religiously. You never know when you’ll be offered free content like a back-listed Lee Child novel or some contemporary fantasy. Other authors such as Boyd Morrison and J.A. Konrath are offering novels at prices ranging from $1 to $2 dollars, as a way to find new readers. One more favorite is the free Amazon Daily blog, which is like a fun, timely magazine with short articles that update constantly. The perfect entertainment for brief snatches of time.
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