Kindle Review, part 2 - First Impressions

© 2011 Angie Kritenbrink

Just putting the Kindle on my wishlist for Christmas was mind-stretching enough. I didn't think anyone would actually get it for me - it was a little over what we spend on gifts in my family. I figured I would wait until after Christmas and buy it for myself. But my mom and sisters went together, and before Christmas day even arrived, I had a Kindle in my hot little hands! (To my mother's chagrin, I usually open my presents as soon as they arrive, not waiting for Santa to visit before opening them.) In fact it shipped so fast, no one even had time to warn me an Amazon surprise was coming, and I didn't actually know it was a Christmas gift . . . yeah, that is my excuse.

I had chosen the latest generation wifi-only Kindle, which (as of this writing) is priced at $139. I will get into the tech side of my decision in another post. When getting a new Kindle, you also need to buy some books - keep that in mind if you are giving as a gift or budgeting to buy one for yourself. My mom kindly gave me an Amazon gift card along with it. The Kindle Store does have a lot of free books in it, but the selection is somewhat limited to either classic literature or promotional things that mostly didn't look great. With a few exceptions, the promotional books mostly seemed to be an odd mix of Christian novels and erotic fiction. I have over the past few months found a few good short stories here and there, and of course if you do want classic literature, erotic fiction or Christian novels, the free section of the Kindle Store is probably a great place for you.

In the meantime, I had also gotten a new Android phone and downloaded the Kindle App for Android. So now I had Kindle on my PC and my phone, and was ready to start reading on my actual device. I can't say I have used the PC app (which is installed on my netbook) since getting my Kindle device. I'll get more into this in my upcoming tech post, but in short, I prefer the Kindle itself to reading on the apps, although it's pretty sweet to be able to pick up on my phone when necessary.

And my Kindle reading begins thusly. My first Kindle book purchase to read on the actual Kindle device was Jaron Lanier's You Are Not a Gadget. Clever of me, yes? It's a good book, but I'm reading it in small doses, and I still haven't finished it. Good thing the Kindle keeps track of where I was - you can add bookmarks, which I do just to be safe, but it actually just kind of holds your page forever, and syncs to your other devices as well. I've been picking this book up here and there on both the Kindle and my phone.

The also bought a few novels for my Kindle device. The first one that I bought, devoured, read religiously until finishing, etc. was Kathryn Stockett's The Help. I highly recommend this, and I might review it in another post. Suffice it to say, if I wasn't totally converted to e-reading before, reading The Help on my Kindle converted me. You know those books that you just can't put down? The book you want to take everywhere with you? You want to read it while you are commuting on the bus, making dinner, in bed, in the bathroom, on your lunch break, in your sleep, as soon as you get up in the morning? The Help was one of those books for me.

Up until this point, I was one of those "but I like the feel of a book in my hands" people. But you know what; books are heavy. Starting with my commute: in my messenger bag, along with my coffee thermos, lunch, makeup bag with 11 lipsticks (all highly necessary) in it, wallet, phone, flashlight, keys, and all the other crap I accumulate, the couple of pounds of a book really makes a difference. The Kindle is so light and thin, it slides right in. And then the physical act of reading it on the bus is so much easier. Reading a Kindle just requires you to hold it in place and click a button to turn pages. There is a button on either side so that you can turn pages with your right or left hand, with a smaller one above to go backwards. There are smooth little indentations on the back for your fingers to hold on to. Reading a paper book or magazine on the bus can be a little challenging, depending on the size of the book and how quickly you need to turn pages, how big your seatmate is and what that person is doing, and the Kindle helps this a lot as you can stay still and read.

This lightness and ease of page-turning translates to any time you are reading while laying down, too. I've always loved to curl up in bed with a book, but until I did it with the Kindle I didn't realize how much I was kind of in denial about the discomfort of a big uncomfortable book. And honestly, as you age and everything gets a little stiffer, your hands can start to ache a little from holding up a big book while laying down and turning pages. Ergonomically it feels kind of crampy to have to grip a heavy book for a long time, but the Kindle allows you to stretch your fingers in a more natural position while holding it. There is always the problem of where to rest the book and how to not damage it, crease it, or stain it. I hate to say it, but I realized pretty quickly that it wasn't the feel of the book in my hands - it's the stories in books that I love, and the feel of the book was just a collateral thing rather than part of the experience that was bringing me enjoyment.

Another pleasant Kindle surprise was the flow. I read very quickly, and it's nothing to just go click, click, click, turning pages. In fact, when I read on the Android app on my tiny phone screen, with my reading pace, I am basically turning pages all the time. Kindle books had no page numbers when I got my Kindle in December 2010, although some do now after a recent upgrade. I can see where you would want page numbers for book clubs and classes where other people are using paper books, but for casual reading I actually really like the Kindle's system of having locations (which are more specific than pages) and then showing you a percentage of how much you have read. It means more to me that I am 82% of the way through the book than being on page 176 out of 214 pages. That's some math on the fly I don't need to do when reading a book I am really enjoying.

It's a little scary to say this, but after just a few weeks I was pretty much converted to reading on a Kindle, and when I had to read a few paper books for reviews, I missed my Kindle device. In future posts in this series, I will talk more in depth about my experience with the different types of content I've read on the Kindle, along with the more technical side of things. [to be continued]

**note: I am a member of Amazon Associates, and if enough of you click links to that I add to my posts, I will receive a tiny incentive. Computers are smart; they know we are talking about Kindle at the moment, so there might even be a Kindle for sale in the ad box on my page right now (the content of which I do not control). However, Amazon did not send me my Kindle to review and I am not receiving any compensation from them (or anyone else) directly for writing this series of posts, which reflect my true experience as an Amazon customer and Kindle reader.

Although I would sell it to them if they wanted it. . . 

1 comment:

  1. I am glad you are enjoying your kindle!