As the proud owner of a Kindle 2, it is tempting to love it unreservedly just because I spent almost $400 on it. Truth is, Kindle 2 ownership is a mixed bag.
Why I love it:
-Immediacy. The Kindle 2 has access to a large and growing library of Amazon.com books. If I want it, it’s mine, usually for less than half what I would pay for the book if I bought a print copy. Crime and Punishment is 99 cents. Most currently released hardcover books are around $10; paperbacks are usually around $7-8. (Yes, I know, it’s still going to take me a while to make up that $400, but if you are a voracious reader who wants your books right here, right now . . . . OK, I just like gadgets. So, sue me.)
On the other hand:
-Even with Amazon’s huge selection, you will not find everything. Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory* is not there, for one thing, and though four of Anne Tyler’s books are available, her entire canon is not. However, I was surprised to discover that Michael Horton’s newly released Christless Christianity was available, though I thought it might be obscure and difficult to find. Still, I will be relying on bookstores and libraries to fill in the gaps, probably for years to come. (*Note: The Power and the Glory is available, free, from Google Books, thus opening up an entirely different can of worms that I will not tackle right here, right now.)
Why I like it:
-The Look and Feel. The Kindle 2 just feels good in my hand. As I get older, it’s harder to handle a huge hardbound book, and turning a page on the Kindle is a breeze. The screen is easy on the eyes and as I grow more and more blind, I can increase the text size. Plus, Amazon has just come out with an app for the iPod Touch so I can read my books on the iPod if I want to. And I do. I really, REALLY do.
On the other hand:
-Navigation takes a little getting used to. Though it is not difficult, moving around the Kindle is different from moving around the average computer. I keep wanting to touch the screen as I would do with an iPod Touch, and though flipping back a page or two to check some detail is easy enough, it’s harder to flip back several dozen pages and find what I need to know. Turns out I do this WAY more than I thought I did and only noticed because flipping around is more inconvenient on the Kindle.
Why I still like it:
-The first book I read on the Kindle 2 was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and it is a wonderful book, full of wit, heartbreak, and likable characters. Now it is mine forever, stored on Amazon’s server so if I buy an upgraded Kindle, that book is there always. Great content is great no matter the platform of access.
On the other hand:
-Most readers push their books on to other people after they are done reading. My books either go in the library at school, or I hand them to the family member or friend I believe will enjoy it most. I have a network of people who know that if I read something I think they might like, sooner or later I’ll be giving the book to them. Normally, they in turn will hand it off to somebody else. With the Kindle, that book is tied to my Amazon account. I can’t hand it to my mother. I just e-mailed her and told her it was good, and she’ll check it out from the Hays Public Library when it is available.
Why I tolerate it:
-The Kindle 2 is a happy traveler. It is more lightweight than a stack of books, and it holds a charge for several days. It relies on the same wireless network as a cell phone so anywhere you can talk on your cell, you can download a book.
On the other hand;
-Over spring break, I forgot my charger and the Kindle dried up and left me bookless for a week. Or it would have, if I hadn’t had two library books with me. As my sister told me, “I have a solution for you. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called a B-O-O-K.”