Friday, January 21, 2011

Kindle 3G!!

I said a few posts back, on my book challenge post, that I decided to get a Kindle. I also said I'd be writing about it soon. Well, here it is. I ordered my Kindle 3G on Tuesday morning and thanks to the $3.99 shipping upgrade, I got it on Wednesday; I'm terrible at waiting! Unfortunately, I wasn't home when it came, nor did I get home until about 8 p.m. Wednesday night. So, I didn't have much time to play with it on Wednesday, especially since Matt made me watch a movie (Exam, which I highly recommend, actually) rather than letting me be to play with my new toy.  The man can be so impatient! I think the closest I got to checking it out was to unwrap it and put it in the cover, that was it.

When I finally did get around to playing with it, I checked out some of the books I bought, downloaded some free books, and imported some books I'd previously downloaded to Kindle for PC. In all, I'm really, really impressed! Once I remembered that the Kindle is not touch screen, I got into the groove and realized that the Kindle is so, remarkably easy to use. Anyone could use it, and I do mean anyone. Now, I feel like I should add a disclaimer and admit that I read the literature that came with it, but honestly, that consists of a neat little accordion fold out that instructs how to turn it on and what the buttons do. That's it, the rest I figured out all on my own. I mean, I'm a smart girl, but sometimes tech gets the better of me, this one didn't!

So, now that I've gushed all over my new toy, I feel like I should talk about why I chose to finally break down and get one. It seems like everyone in my life is vehemently opposed to them, which I suppose is understandable seeing how most of my friends are readers, many of them being English majors of some sort. Even I, in my infinite wisdom, was once adamantly opposed to the idea of e-readers. I came around, of course, but I didn't like them and would have verbally stoned anyone who argued for e-readers. Now, I'm the happy owner of this little device... my, my how things can change.

So what happened? Well, I woke-up one morning thinking about why I was opposed to e-readers and came to the conclusion that I was clinging to the physicality of the book's form. I love the smell of books, the feel, the experience of turning pages. Books are amazing, but I was putting their physical form on a pedestal,  above that form's content. A book is about what's inside, the knowledge printed there, not about how that knowledge is conveyed. If we read to get the story, the form shouldn't actually matter all that much, right? In that context, where an e-book is just as good at conveying the information and knowledge, it becomes far more practical to get an e-book than a physical book. It's quicker and more efficient, after all. It's also much more accessible and, I believe, may help to encourage people to read.

I also came to realize that books were swallowing me up! I don't have nearly enough space for all the books I've been acquiring over the last 15 or so years. I need another bookshelf, or two, but have no where to actually put another shelf. I have books stashed and stored in every open space from an old chest of drawers to the bottom of our entertainment center and there are still books stacked up everywhere! I cannot buy one more book, I have no where to put it. That said, I'm sure I'll continue to acquire books, they're a part of who I am, I love them, but I'm hoping the Kindle allows my book hoarding to slow down. I can't keep on collecting them, there'll be no where left for me to live for all the space the books are taking up.

I can hear you thinking that I should sell or trade some of them. The quick answer is, I can't. I get attached to books, I buy them and then I can't let them go. What if I want to read them again? What if I need them for a future project or paper? What about the books I've bought but haven't managed to get around to reading? And why buy a book that you're just going to sell? That seems like a colossal waste of money! E-books are forever. Once you buy it, it's yours, but it exists out there somewhere, in virtual space, where it doesn't take up physical room and create clutter. According to Amazon, my Kindle will hold 3,500 books. That's a hell of a lot of books! I don't even own nearly that many, and if I did, I'd need two or three more houses to house them all. Even if I did manage to fill it up, I can just archive them and make room. They're still mine, they're just waiting to be re-downloaded. This solves all (most?) of my book hoarding issues!

So, with all of that in mind, I started looking at them. I knew I wanted an e-reader, but the Kindle's not the only option. There's also the Nook, the Sony e-Reader, and the iPod Touch with the Kindle application. I started comparing them, but just kept coming back around to the Kindle. It's cost effective at only $189, which was important for me. I'm a poor graduate student, I can't afford $500 for an iPod... nor, honestly, can I see wanting to. I know the iPod does a lot of stuff, but my cellphone does a lot of the same things the iPod does, so I couldn't see paying so much for it. Anyway, the Kindle has a lot of really nice features I couldn't pass up, so I decided to get it.

One thing I really like about it is that Kindle format books are widely available from several sources outside of Amazon. Free books, in Kindle format, are available through Kindle's e-book archive, the Internet Archive, Project Gutenberg, Open Library, and It will also read .pdf and .docx format files. So, I can download books from a site like Smashwords, where Indie authors and publishers make books available for a really great prices! I can also send files from my computer to my kindle, which is awesome!

Finally, the Kindle's E-Ink is fantastic. The screen looks like a book page, has no glare, and can be read in bright sunlight. It's not backlit, but can be used with a book light without any trouble. It's very easy on the eyes. My Kindle has free 3G + WiFi, which is really neat and books that I buy are automatically sent to my Kindle in under 60 seconds. I also love that it has a month of battery life, so I don't have to charge it all the time. Of course, the battery life is a bit lower if you run it with WiFi on all the time, or with the light going all the time, but it's still upwards of two weeks with all of that. That's pretty nice, all things considered.

I got the hot pink cover, with light, that makes my Kindle a little bit closer to paperback book sized and has a light that works off of my Kindle battery, so requires no extra batteries to run. It lights the screen really nicely and though it's gotten some bad reviews, I've had no trouble with it at all. Many people say that the light isn't bright enough, that it doesn't light the whole screen, that it doesn't come on, that it makes their Kindle's freeze, I haven't experienced any of this. Thus far, the whole set-up has been really nice. Some also complained that the case doubled the size/weight of the Kindle, rendering the slimmer Kindle a less attractive selling point. I would argue that it's not a problem, the case doesn't make the Kindle heavy by any stretch of the imagination and helps to protect it. If the Kindle was bigger, it would still need a case, so that argument is just silly.

My only complaint is that it makes it way, way, way too easy to go on a book buying spree. I don't need to buy so many books, but I can't seem to stop myself. It's so easy just to one-click by the books, either from my Kindle or from, and get them instantly. I'm all about immediate gratification, I hate waiting, so this is great for me! Sadly, it's going to kill my bank account! Not much of a complaint, is it?!

On that note, I'm off to play with my Kindle and resume Gail Carriger's Soulless -- which reminds me, my other complaint is that there're no page numbers so I can't track my progress on GoodReads. Again, not much of a complaint!

Good night!

PS. This post would have had pictures of my Kindle & the pink cover, were it not that my camera is still freaking missing... yes, I'm complaining.