Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Amazon Kindle

With Christmas gift-buying season approaching I thought I'd share my love of this product. I feel like an Amazon spokesperson, but I got Kindle as a gift (thank you, dear) and it's awesome. I was always a big reader, but Kindle simplified reading and ignited a flame turning me to a reading nut.

Amazon has a wireless network (no monthly fee or anything to access), which enables you to shop for books on the Kindle from wherever. Buying and downloading content is a near-instant process, extremely easy. You can also shop online normally and with 1-click buy a book and it will send it to your Kindle the next time you turn it on. Navigating your library, or navigating within a book, is pretty simple. There's an internal dictionary so that if you come across a word you don't know, just scroll to it and it will define it. Highlighting passages and making notes is simple as well. When you do make a note in a book it adds all notes/highlights to a separate file called 'my clippings' (highly useful, I'll often highlight things in a real book then just never pick it up again). Of course the 'digital paper' non-backlit screen is easy on the eyes. It has a text-to-speech feature available for a lot of releases (though I don't use it). There's a bunch of free-to-super cheap content available, mostly public domain type stuff (i.e. all the works of Mark Twain, all of Dostoyevsky, all of Dickens, the Constitution, all the works of Thomas Paine etc.) Battery life is good with the wireless turned on, but insane nutty AWESOME w/ the wireless function off (which most of the time you don't need on).

Few drawbacks:

* Not all books are currently available. Virtually all new releases seem to be (from my experience). And they're constantly getting more stuff converted for the format. But they only have 2 books by Cormac McCarthy, nothing by Saul Bellow, nothing by Pynchon etc. But the majority of books I've ever wanted or looked for have been available in the format.

* It has a 'sync to furthest page read' feature which is sometimes useful. But the feature only works when wireless is turned on and I don't see why they can't just have that feature work through the software w/o connecting wirelessly. Small issue though

* Pricing for new books is kind of steep... they're always cheaper than the paperback real versions, but I think they should be even cheaper. 99% of new releases (or anything contemporary) are $9.99.

Also, my Kindle love COULD simply be a digital-reader love that applies just as much to the Sony one or the Barnes and Noble one, which i haven't really been able to test drive.

Anyway, if you like reading already or think you might like reading were it not for those darn bulky books with all their pages that require turning, and cause paper cuts, then buy one.

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