Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kindle Review

Two weeks ago I mentioned that I haven't been spending as much time cooking and blogging because my new Kindle 3 arrived.  Since I've spent the past week getting familiar with it, I figured I'd share my thoughts on it before I get back to the cooking and baking.

First, what is a Kindle?  It's an e-reader, or an electronic device designed to take the place of traditional books.  It's smaller than a paperback and allows the user to download books instantly (for a fee) and save them on the device.  You don't even need an traditional Internet connection to download books, since the device is equipped with free 3G wireless access (the same stuff that lets me get Internet access on my BlackBerry).  There are other tons of e-readers on the market.  The most popular are from Barnes and Noble (the Nook) and from Sony.  I opted for a Kindle 3 because my coworkers love theirs and a new Kindle was released (at a lower price point) just as I was making my purchase decision.

Kindle in leather case.

An e-reader is by no means a necessity.  I consider this item a luxury or a treat and as someone who loves gadgets, I love this new toy!  I had several doubts and concerns when I was considering investing in an e-reader.

1.  The device costs too much.  At $189 the Kindle 3 with Wi-Fi + 3G isn't cheap.  There's a Wi-Fi only version available for $139 (meaning you have to be in a wireless hot spot to download new content - not a problem if you plan your reading ahead of your outings), but I went for the full $189.  Plus, I opted to purchase a cover with a light (the device isn't backlit) for $59.99 to protect my investment.  On the positive, just a few years ago, e-readers were more than $300.  I believe that there will be options under $100 very soon.  Plus, there's always eBay.

2.  It costs too much to download books, newspapers, and magazines to a Kindle.  I'm frustrated that many books cost the same price in physical form as they do for Kindle download.  Amazon says that the publishers set the prices.  On the positive, many books by my favorite authors often go on sale for $1.99 or less.  Plus, any book published before 1923 is free.  While I don't consider myself one to read the classics, I think this is a great option for college students (hello, English majors!).  Believe it or not, I'm enjoying Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself.  And yes, the book is over 100 years old.

3.  I won't be able to share books with people.  Well, this is semi-true.  I'm a die-hard library user and I've always enjoyed getting books for free, even if I had to wait for weeks (months) and pay late fees when I forget to return them.  In addition, my mother and I often share books and I knew I'd miss passing a favorite book on to my mom.  We bought two Kindles and I put my mom's on my account.  Yes, all of her purchases get charged to my account, but now any book we purchase shows up on both Kindles.  We can both read the same book at the same time (or at different times) for one price.  The only things we can't share are magazines and newspapers.  Not bad.  Now that $9.99 New York Times bestseller seems like it was just $5.

4.  It's just not the same as a hard copy.  Well, that's true.  I find it better.  The Kindle is completely silent, the screen doesn't have a glare (it's not backlit), I can adjust the font size (so I can read without glasses), and I can carry thousands of books with me at one time.  In addition, the Kindle has a basic web browser, the ability to play mp3 files, and some books have a text-to-speech option.

I protected my investment with a leather case from Amazon.
Bottom line?  A Kindle (or any e-reader) isn't taking over the world (yet), but it makes reading more portable and more convenient.  I look forward to my quiet time with my Kindle each evening.  I can read in the dark while my husband sleeps, thanks to the built-in light on my leather case.  I can download a new book while I'm on vacation and not carry a ton of books in my carry-on bag.  I can read the newspaper without spreading it all over the table.  I can even carry PDF files of articles with me, which increases the likelihood of me actually doing some research instead of spending my days blogging, talking, and doing everything else other than working on my schoolwork. 

The built-in light on the leather cover makes it great for road trips!
There are some reading materials that I believe I'll always purchase in hard copy.  I'm not giving up my food magazine subscriptions or my cookbook collection.  However, when it comes to novels, I'll absolutely use my Kindle.
Did you jump on the e-reader bandwagon?  Did you go with the Kindle or did you prefer the Nook or something else?  Do you even think these gadgets are worth it?


  1. Hello. My name is Ingrid, and I'm addicted to books, with gadgets following close behind. I've wanted one since they first came out but didn't want to spend the $300. I am going to wait a little longer. Every 6 months one of them gets updated and the price goes down. I do know that I want the one that is back lite but other than that I'm not sure. I will definitely do my research on it. Thanks for your take on it Keeley!

  2. A friend of mine has a Kindle and she claims it's her life line :-) Thanks for the review.


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