It’s true; kindle is a noun. According to the OED, it’s a litter of kittens. Of course, we all know it as a wireless reading device from Amazon. Neither of these definitions are in the built-in dictionary that comes with the Kindle, but that’s ok. There’s still plenty to like.
I ordered my Kindle after reaching the 3-minute mark of the 6:22 demo video on Amazon. That’s all it took to sell me.
A lot of folks – particularly my literary friends – have questioned my reasons for buying a Kindle. And of course, by contrast, my techie friends have been wowed.
My literary friends have their reasons:
1) You can’t share books. True, but Kindle books, while not free, are cheaper. And, I like to point out, just having an wireless reading device doesn’t mean I’ll never buy another hard copy book again. Which brings me to complaint 2:
2) We like to show off our book purchases in our bookshelves. Yes, but, not all of them. Several times I’ve bought the book for book club because all other copies had been loaned out already. Then, it turns out to be a mediocre book, and one I don’t want to show off in my bookcase. Now, what do I do with it? Kindle will minimize the clutter in my house.
3) It’s overpriced. Perhaps. But I only need to buy 18 best sellers to recoup my cost. I buy a lot of books, so 18 over the course of 2-3 years seems reasonable.
I’ve had the Kindle for about two weeks, and here’s what else I like:
- The seamless buying experience. The first email told me it had shipped; the second told me that I could start building my library now – while the Kindle was in transit. I ordered six books. When the Kindle arrived three days later, I turned it on and my books immediately downloaded.
- Built-in dictionary. Highlight a word and the definition pops up. I love this feature! It’s nice not having to pull out the 10 pound SOED from underneath my bed (two volumes!).
- Saves my place automatically. No more digging around for slips of paper to use as bookmarks.
- Easy to change font size (for those of us who need bigger type).
- Compact. I usually read 5-6 books at a time. I can bring them all on vacation and not add more than 10.2 ounces to my carry-on.
I do think the Kindle could use a few improvements (and to reassure my techie friends, yes, I will send an email to the Kindle team):
- Touch screen technology. Kindle doesn’t have it, and I’m sorry, but the iPhone has permanently spoiled me. Make the reading screen bigger, use touch screen technology to turn the pages and add a virtual keyboard.
- The joystick. Not very user friendly. Again, touch screen technology!
- Rubber grips. I know this is going to sound silly, but its sleek design has caused it to nearly slip out of my hands.
It’s becoming my constant companion – and I haven’t yet subscribed to any newspapers. Of course, thanks to the Kindle app for iPhone, I don’t really need to take my Kindle everywhere to have my books available anytime and anywhere I want.
Final assessment: I love it. I expect that the Kindle will do for books what the iPod did for music.