Sunday, February 13, 2011

Me and My Kindle

I've had my Kindle for about six months now, but I've really just begun using it recently.

After a first "symbolic" purchase of The Complete Works of Jane Austen (all of her books are available for free online, but I wanted to make a statement), I didn't pick up the device again until I grabbed it to take on a train ride to Philadelphia. It's a fairly long trip, and I didn't want to run out of reading material, so I added a few titles to the Kindle and tucked it into my traveling bag.

The advantages of ebooks readers are many: they are lightweight, portable, easy to use and hold their charge for a long time. The fact that Amazon makes it so easy to buy books - one click, and my purchase is delivered to my Kindle electronically - is almost a disadvantage...certainly a temptation to an avid reader like myself! Fortunately, there are numerous sites that offer free downloads.

One of my favorite current author, Cory Doctorow, publishes his works under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license,
"which lets you share it, remix it, and share your remixes, provided that you do so on a noncommercial basis. Some people don't understand why I do this -- so check out this post if you want my topline explanation for why I do this crazy thing."
Doctorow is happy to post remixes of Little Brother ("A rousing tale of techno-geek rebellion, as necessary and dangerous as file sharing, free speech, and bottled water on a plane") as well as links to his novels and stories, via a blog.

Life with my Kindle hasn't been all smooth sailing. I found it necessary to reboot far too often, causing me to lose my place and my patience. A posting by Informania alerted me to the cause of the problem: my lovely green leather cover was the culprit. When contacted by phone, the customer service rep at Amazon pulled up my account information, offered a refund or an upgrade to the lighted model (which looks exactly the same, except for a retractable book light) and processed my order immediately. I didn't have to return the old cover; the new one arrived within a few days.

As I've said before, I don't feel that books are an either/or (paper or electronic) proposition. I still go to our local public library, continue to re-read old favorites from my bookshelf. The Kindle has just made it so much easier to carry and enjoy a personal library with the table, to bed, or to more exotic locales.

Thomas Jefferson said, "I can't live without books." Well, now I don't have to.


Anonymous said...

I'm still getting used to my Kindle too, figuring out which books to buy or read on paper and which are Kindle reads.

What I intend to do with the book after I read it tends to be the decision point. If I'm likely to want to give it somebody else or pass it around, I go with the paper version. If I'm the only one likely to read it, then it's a Kindle download or purchase.

With spring break now 38 days away--not that I'm counting or anything--I'm leaning toward taking the Kindle only. That will be a leap of faith for me. Of course, there are bookstores not too far away if something goes awry!


diane said...

I agree that some books NEED to be purchased in paperback - or even hardcover!

I've been reading about the Kindle lending clubs and may join one. The problem is that you can only load a title once, and if you borrow something, you have to read it within two weeks. I could easily consume a book within a day or two, but this restriction makes it difficult to plan ahead.

We're taking a longish trip soon, and the Kindle will be my travel companion once again.

dml said...

I have a kindle that i purchased with a grant for my 4th graders. The cool thing is that I can put the books on the kindle app on my smartboard computer and then show students things in passages that we are studying! It is a cool tool for use in an elementary classroom!

diane said...


I've never heard of that use before - great idea! Do you also take notes on the Kindle? Can the students access the book on their own?

loonyhiker said...

Thanks for writing about this. I have been torn whether to buy one or not. My sister has one and loves it. I also love real books. I guess knowing that it is not an either/or situation makes sense. Since we travel so much, I thought using a Kindle would be much more convenient than trying to pack my library with me since I don't know what mood I will be in when I want to read.

diane said...


Right now I've got 13 fiction (classics, scifi/fantasy, mystery) and 3 non-fiction books on my Kindle. I've recently read 3 of them - the rest are a cushion in case of bad weather, and a stash for our upcoming trip.

It's nice to know that Jane Austen and Arthur Conan Doyle are waiting in the wings, when I need a change from all the information I consume daily via my Google Reader!

Unknown said...

I love my Kindle too! I agree that it isn't an either or situation. As a librarian, people like to as me if I prefer "real" books, but I can like them both! I really like making the font bigger! (not that I'm getting old or anything!) I also think it's cool that you can now loan a Kindle to someone. :)