Friday, June 26, 2009

My Kindle

DH bought a Kindle 2 electronic reader for me for Christmas so I would have it for my trip to Europe. A friend of mine recently asked me how I like it, which made me think "hmm, good topic for the blog". Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have not had any contact with Amazon about this product. DH purchased it at full price and no one has asked me to write a review. (My blog isn't that popular.) ;)

Overall, it's a pretty cool gadget. It downloads books from Amazon within just a few minutes so if you decide you want a book on the spur of the moment it's almost instant gratification. It's easy to read and you can change the font size to suit your eyeballs. It holds a charge for a really long time so you can get through a whole novel without worrying about it dying on you. It stores a ton of books and will archive books you've finished so as not to use up your storage space, but the books are still available to you without having to buy them all over again. That's a huge advantage too- you can carry a library's worth of books in one tiny device.

Now for the negatives. It will NEVER replace actual books. It does have bugs and lost my place in the books I was reading at least twice. It's hard to get back to your place in a book once it loses your spot, too. It's hard to move around in the books, I mean you can't flip pages, after all, so the guide books I put on there were difficult to navigate. It's in black and white (or kind of greyish, actually) so any color pictures lose quite a bit. The intro and "how to use this book" section of one guide book I bought would not change font size and was illegible. I found a copy of the same book in a bookstore and was able to see what I was missing- it was some vital information! The device makes a faint clicking noise when you press the "turn the page" button, not good if you want to read in bed next to a light sleeper. Speaking of reading in bed, you have to have a book light to read if it's dark; there's no internal lighting. The "Whisper Net" which allows you to order books from Amazon doesn't work in Europe so if you're taking a Kindle over there load it up before you go! Also note that not every title Amazon offers is available for the Kindle; there were a lot of books I wanted to order for the trip but couldn't.

The Eldest got a Kindle for the trip too. She's loving the instant gratification thing; I think that's her favorite feature. We don't take her to the bookstore often enough (she could live at the bookstore) so the ability to buy books on her Kindle is a huge plus for her. On the negative side, they don't have any parental controls and they put YOUR "Amazon Recommends" selections on there. Which means the steamy novel I bought once? They still recommend that type of book for me... on her Kindle. (OK, maybe it was more than once...) It's not for young kids for sure, but I can see it being really great for someone who doesn't drive (like The Eldest) or someone house bound due to illness.

Speaking of her Kindle, she's on her second one. Shortly after she got the first one it was broken when The Youngest, aka The Wild Child, swung a jump rope around and the handle hit the screen. Amazon replaced it at a reduced cost. Which reminds me- DH actually ordered the first version of the Kindle but it was back ordered. When they became available again it was the Kindle 2 so we got that version for the price of the first one.

In summary, I'm glad I had it for the trip. Although there are some kinks it's a great device to take on plane trips where luggage space is limited. If you have space though, like on a car trip, take regular books. It's also good if you have to have your books right away; I'm hoping the new Janet Evanovich is offered on Kindle!

PS: I was talking to my mother in law about a book today and thought it would be nice to loan it to her, but then I remembered I read it on my Kindle. Can't loan it to her if it's on there, so if you like to share your books that's another negative.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting on my blog!

I have been thinking about the Kindle lately, and thought it would be good for travel. It would be nice to carry all your guide books in one little device - but not if they're illegible. I just don't know if I could ever get into a real book on one though.

Interesting point at the end, that you can't lend them out after you read them. Although, I'm not sure if it's a negative or a positive ;) None of my loaned books ever seem to make it home again.

Kim said...

Hi Carla:
Sorry I haven't responded sooner; I'm going back over old posts now and noticed your comment. Glad you liked the review; the Kindle has some definite good points and definite bad points, so it's all up to what you're looking for. :)