Kindle 2, A Love Story

I have a new Amazon Kindle 2, and I love it. I have to make this as kind of an announcement because not more than 4 months ago I was swearing up and down that I would never want one of “these imposter electronic reading devices!” You see, I love books. Not just reading, I love books. I love their weight and heft, I love the paper between my fingers, I love the smell of them, and I absolutely love having them lining the walls of my house, surrounding me like old friends.

But I must admit, I love the Kindle. Before I got my own, I read about it in the NYTimes, and read what friends had to say about it on Twitter. When my curiosity finally got the better of me and I looked it up on Amazon, I was impressed. (Actually, to be perfectly honest, I was salivating!) What an amazing little gadget it is! A tablet about the size of a smallish hardcover book (closed) but thinner than a pencil, and oh so light. And on this tiny device you can carry 1500 books with you! Here are few other features that make me love the Kindle:
  • Ability to bookmark pages and dog-ear corners (I ALWAYS do this in my books!)
  • Ability to highlight passages and take notes on the text (I always do this too! Love marginalia.)
  • Read-aloud function for just about every book you download can be turned on and off at will (although the computerized voice will not put audio book-makers out of business any time soon.)
  • Change the size of the text from small to ultra large and many sizes in between.
  • Instantly purchase and download books. This has already proven hazardous to my wallet. However, you may download samples of any book for free, so it hasn’t been as hazardous as it could be.
  • E-mail word, .pdf, picture files, etc. to your Kindle and take them with you wherever you go. (VERY handy for teachers, producers, anybody, really.)
  • Basic web browsing.
  • Built in dictionary (Oxford American).
  • Subscribe to newspapers and magazines from the Kindle, new editions are delivered instantly. Subscriptions are cheaper too!
  • Saves all your highlights, bookmarks, notes, clippings, etc. in a separate file which you can then transfer to your computer to edit or e-mail to friends.
  • And (I love this) in sleep mode the Kindle displays various different authors or other literary items of interest.

I’m sure there’s more, but I don’t want to take up too much of your time. All I can say is that I am a convert. I love my Kindle, I truly love it.
There are drawbacks, of course. The price ($359!!) can be quite a hurdle, but as I said above, the cost of downloading a book to your Kindle is quite a bit cheaper than buying it physically. Another drawback is that not all books are yet available in Kindle format. I found that both Possession and Rabbit, Run were unavailable on my Kindle, sadly. However, I did download Pride and Prejudice for 99 cents! So it’s hit and miss, but more hit than miss, I think.
Now, this is not to say that a Kindle will replace my library. Perish the thought! I still love my books. I will never stop wanting or buying physical books. I will always cherish my library and want to grow and nurture it. But the Kindle is a brilliant piece of technology and a wonderful halfway step. It’s a perfect way to carry with you at all times all the multiple books one likes to read at once. It’s also a nice way to try out books to see if they are a must-have for your physical library, or to read the “fluff” that you know you want want to share or keep on your shelf.
I love it. If you are a book-lover, this is a must-have.

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5 thoughts on “Kindle 2, A Love Story

  1. A very nice review, Jenni. You've captured, quite judiciously, the strengths and weaknesses of the device. I think it's success will hinge particularly on the understanding, which you emphasized, that the Kindle needn't replace books, but simply act as a supplement that adds a level of technological convenience to one's reading life. Well said.

  2. I love my Kindle(2) too! I've found over a hundred free books through Amazon for the Kindle. I think they were all written in the 1800s or so. I'm reading "Little Women" right now in preparation for reading Geraldine Brooks' "March" which is sadly not available on Kindle.By the way, when I saw the images in "sleep" mode, I was in love. They are so beautiful. I love the pic of Steinbeck. Those eyes . . . wow!

  3. Thank you Moya. And if there are any out there who suspect I will stop buying "real" books, I just finished reading "Book by Book, Notes on Reading and Life" by Michael Dirda, and I loved it so much that I ordered it from Amazon to have in my library. I already have plans to read it again in hard copy.Amal,thank you for sharing. I can't wait to go find my own free classics for the Kindle now! And I agree completely about the sleep mode images. They really are beautiful, and I would say they're even a significant portion of the Kindle's appeal!

  4. The free classics are easier to find and shop for on the Amazon site via computer. A single click sends it to your Kindle. It's a much faster way to acquire the books versus using the Kindle for browsing. I added about 30 books to my collection in a matter of 5 minutes or so. Sarah loves to sit with me and have me read some of the Beatrix Potter stories on my Kindle. There aren't any pictures, but she doesn't seem to mind.

  5. I also love books, physical books. But I also love to read on my handheld device — free via project gutenberg! I never write notes in the margin, it's all about the text for me, so that works wonderfully. I can also add .pdf or .xls. or anything to my handheld if I want. I also have the ability to have a voice read it to me, which it's marginally nice sometimes.I'd love a built in dictionary. My handheld has the web, but I don't pay for the service. I think it was $250 or $300 but it's also my phone so I don't think twice at that price. I love it.

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