Friday, May 8, 2009
The seed was planted awhile ago, when Stephen King, in one of his columns in Entertainment Weekly, started talking about this electronic book device, the Kindle. Mr. Pop Culture loved it. I was skeptical. I love the touch and smell of a paper book. I did some research. I threw it into a saucepan and put it on the back burner in my brain.
A mom that volunteered at my Book Fair had one, and I got to touch it. I cranked up the heat a little bit.
I started musing about how many books I would have to drag to Poland and Indiana this summer to keep me entertained (and how much these books would contribute to my 50 pound limit per bag). Last time I went overseas, I took all the Harry Potters with me. They were very heavy, and my husband was very angry. The saucepan was moved to the front burner.
Then Michele, my kindred reading spirit at Reader's Respite, got one. Not only that, I guessed what her first Kindle purchase was, and I won a $25 gift certificate to Amazon. That did it. I started my campaign with my husband. This was the only thing I wanted for Mother's Day and my birthday (coming in June). It arrived yesterday via UPS. I even had to work for it. It required a signature, so I made sure all my vacuuming was done prior to the estimated arrival of said UPS man, I didn't take a shower, and I broke some speed limits going to pick up my son from school and get back home before the UPS man came (plus I left a note on my door threatening him not to leave before I came back). How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
You can download just about any book in the universe via a wireless system built in to the Kindle, which takes about 30 seconds. Prices are reasonable, ranging from about a buck for older books and classics, to $10 to $15 for a new release. The screen is the size of a paperback, and fonts may be adjusted for those who are visually challenged (like me). For most books, you can turn on an audio function (electronic, not person) and it will turn the pages as it reads. You can subscribe to daily/weekly/monthly magazines, newspapers and blogs. The blogs run about a buck a month, and the magazines and newspapers are equal to or less than if you were to subscribe to receive the printed copy. It will hold about 1,500 books, and Amazon will archive them online if you don't want to carry them on your device. You can search Google or Wikipedia (albeit a little slow). You can mark passages you want to save for your posts, you can write notes along the way. The screen is non-glare so you can read it in the sun. You can send and receive some documents to and from your computer at home. The average battery charge, if you turn off the wireless feature, will get you about five days of reading. You can upload MP3 songs to play while you read.
Downsides? It's an Amazon thing. No library e-books are compatible. The online browser function is a little slow. You wouldn't want to use it to blog, for example. But if you need to do a little research on Wikipedia, you can.
This is just what I've gleaned over the last day. I'm going to give it a workout over the next few months, and I'll report back what I find. For now, I am a happy girl.
Oh I forgot to tell you one of the best things. My husband also bought me a beautiful purple leather cover for it!