Friday, May 8, 2009

My heart's desire has arrived!


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!

22 comments:

Violet said...

All this Kindle talk is making me ery envious.

Can you read properly in the dark? Do es it have an internal light or do you have to use an external book light?

I'll probably go for Sony if I do. I don't like the dependency Kindle has on Amazon.

Literate Housewife said...

Sandy, how did I know from just looking at the title of your post that you were talking about a Kindle? I chose my netbook over a Kindle earlier this year, but my desire for it hasn't gone away. Eventually, I know that I will get one. It's just a matter of time... Thanks for confirming that I'm not the only one out there who does and feels the same thing. :)

Jen - devourer of books said...

Sooo exciting, I'll be interested to hear more about it when you've had it longer.

Beth F said...

Wow! Sounds like there may be more good than bad -- and how can you go wrong with a purple cover! Can't wait to hear how you like it after you've had it a while. I'm very happy for you! That's is sooooo cool.

Shelley/Book Fanatic said...

Make sure you back up your purchased books on your computer because if you ever decide to cancel your subscription, you could lose your purchased books. It happened to a friend. and she wasn't allowed to re-download them off of Amazon.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Violet - the Kindle does not have a light in it...not sure why? You can attach a book lamp to it if you keep it in a cover. I read a review that compared the Sony to the Kindle. I can't remember exactly what the downsides of the Sony were, but I came away from the article thinking the Kindle was the way to go...

Jennifer - a laptop is on my list too, but has been pushed down a couple of notches. My son and my husband both have laptops, so I steal theirs if I need to be mobile! I'm sure the Kindle will continue to improve and go down in price, which is good for you!

Jen - I will definitely do a follow up, probably after my 2 1/2 weeks in Poland in June. I'll give it a good workout!

Beth - I knew there were some downsides, but the upsides outweighed them! I was pretty pleased with the cover he picked out!

Shelly - that is a good idea! Thanks for the hint!

christina said...

Oooh congrats on the kindle. Hope you have tons of fun with it. :)

And I'm totally envious that you are going to Poland. LOL. I want a passport to stamp!

Iliana said...

Ok, so jealous right now, a Kindle and an upcoming trip to Poland?! :)
How exciting. I want a Kindle too. I don't need one but I keep thinking it'd be perfect for when I travel. We go to Germany once a year to visit my husband's family and it'd be great not to have to cart a luggage filled with just books you know :)

Enjoy your Kindle!!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Christina - Poland is awesome! What even makes it better is that my husband translates for me (I'm pathetic with the language). There is so much history and beauty there, I never get tired of it.

Iliana - for that trip alone a Kindle is worth it, don't you think? I will probably read at least four books, maybe more while I'm there. And of course I'll bring 10, just to make sure I won't run out. It's a beautiful thing.

farmlanebooks said...

How exciting! I'm not sure whether I'm jealous or not yet. I look forward to a full review when you've had chance to play with it a bit more.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Jackie - I will definitely be doing an update post early July, after I've worn the thing out!

Molly said...

I received a Kindle version 1 for my birthday/Christmas present this past November. I do LOVE it - although it has not replaced my paper books by any stretch of the imagination.

I don't know if you are aware of two sites where you can download public domain books (eg - FREE) in the Kindle format.
http://freekindlebooks.org
and...
http://manybooks.net

I'm sure there are other sites as well, but I have used both of these quite a bit and been very pleased.

Have fun playing with your new toy --- and Happy Mother's Day!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Molly - this is great! I need some instruction. Do you download it onto your computer, then what?

Melody said...

Wow, I'm jealous, Sandy! Not only you get a Kindle and you're going on a trip to Poland!!! How exciting!

I don't read ebooks but I've to admit they're great for the convenience and not to mention, travelling!

Can't wait to hear more from you on your new toy! Happy reading!

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I have a friend with a Kindle and she loves it! I'll be interested to see what you think after you've had it longer. I'm still not sure an eReader is for me...

One thing I was wondering is can you transfer .pdf files to your Kindle?

Sandy Nawrot said...

Melissa - I think you CAN pass documents back and forth from your Kindle to the computer, although I haven't tried it. When you transfer from your computer to the Kindle, though, it requires some formatting, and they say that there may be a minimal charge. I don't have anything yet that I need on there, but if I do, I will let you know!

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

I'm glad you didn't have to set a trap to keep UPS there for the delivery!!

That "whispernet" technology is one of the best things going for the Kindle - no need for a computer!

This will give you so much more room in your suitcases this summer!!

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

I'm so glad you got this.....what was your first download, LOL....it better have had something to do with Zombies!!!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Dawn - yeah, that wireless technology they have is awesome. A book, no matter how large, only takes about 30 seconds to download! I will be traveling very lightly, and with a happy husband!

Michele - you know, I thought about it! Actually my first purchase was "The Help", because I had just added it to a reading challenge.

Anna said...

Awesome! Enjoy your new toy! I still can't decide whether I really want to spend money on one or not, but if I was going on a vacation like yours, I see how it comes in handy.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Serena said...

I hope you enjoy your mother's day/b-day gift. What a great surprise for you.

I like the notion of having one for plane trips and stuff like that, but I would rather have an all in one device..enabling me to read, mark passages, and blog! That would be a dream

DeSeRt RoSe said...

Congrats on your plaything :) I know it's late but I wanted to congratulate you regardless :) I'm sure you are having a blast:)