To say that I’m a bookish person is an understatement. I love to read – and I firmly believe that there is something to be learned in very book – even if it’s fiction. Some of my favorite authors do massive amounts of research for their fiction books and if you can “read between the lines” you can pull that info out – and learn something. Now, the challenge I’ve always had is that I read fast. If I’m on travel for a week I have to take two books: one that I’m finishing and one for the rest of the week. Carrying books gets to be a challenge as well. They do take up space – especially some of today’s novels. But there is a solution to all my challenges… Amazon’s Kindle.
Briefly described, the Kindle is a portable library; it’s an electronic reader that uses a proprietary electronic format of books to allow you to carry around a library, reading them at your convenience wherever you find yourself. Most recently (prior to acquiring one) I saw a grandfather reading a book on his Kindle at one of my son’s lacrosse games. (We won’t comment on what kind of grandpa reads books at his grandson’s lacrosse game – and no, it wasn’t MY son’s grandfather) But what I realized as the portability and convenience of the device. I had no clue at the time… but I learned.
First, let me tell you this – and when I learned it, it blew my mind: you don’t have to BUY a Kindle to USE Kindle. When I found out I was getting one as a gift I immediately went online to check it out. What I discovered was:
- Amazon’s Kindle store has thousands of free publications. Last time I looked it was over sixteen thousand.
- You can download FREE Kindle reading applications for your PC, iPhone, iTouch, etc.
Now I remember when I was young that my father spent several hundred dollars (if not several thousand) purchasing 100 leather bound gold-edged classics from a retailer of “fine collectibles”. When my father passed, the 100 books got divided up between my sisters and I. My first goal – after downloading the free Kindle reading application for my PC – was to download as many of those 100 classics as I could. I found most of them. So far, while paying for only two books (two of Tom Clancy’s books) I’ve downloaded 113 books. Amongst them are:
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
- Allan Quartermain
- Around the World in 80 Days
- The Art of War
- Beauty and the Beast
- The Call of the Wild
- Gulliver’s Travels
- The Bible
- The Iliad
- The Island of Doctor Moreau
- The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights
- and more!
After I had downloaded a bunch of books for my PC I downloaded the Kindle Reading application (free again) onto my iTouch. When I logged into my Amazon account on my iTouch, all the books that I had “purchased” (I had paid $0 each for them) for my PC were archived and available for download to my iTouch at the push of a button. So, now my iTouch has the same 113 books on it. Then I received my Kindle…
After charging it up I was able to download all 113 books onto it as well. Cost? Same $0.
Now, there are a couple of options you can exercise when you decide to purchase a Kindle. For $189 you can get the Kindle 3G that includes FREE 3G + Wi-Fi. The Amazon Kindle site says that the 3G works globablly – anywhere the Whispernet exists. The Kindle 3G holds 3,500 books in its library. That’s a lot. Or you can get a “regular” Kindle for $139. The regular Kindle is Wi-Fi enabled but does not have the 3G wireless capability. It too is said to hold 3,500 books.
Both the Kindle and the Kindle 3G have a 6″ diagonal display and they weigh about 8.5 ounces. Both measure 7.5″x4.8″x.335″. Each also has the following capabilities:
- Native PDF support
- Portrait OR Landscape view
Your third option is the Kindle DX priced at $379. It holds as many books and has all of the features of the Kindle 3G except the Wi-Fi capability. It does have free 3G wireless. The screen is 9.7″ diagonal and overall the unit measures 10.4″x7.2″x.38″. It weighs more than double the Kindle 3G with a weight of 18.9 ounces.
Finally, there are a few simply cool features of the Kindle:
Share Meaningful Passages
Share meaningful passages with friends and family with built-in Twitter and Facebook integration.
Over 700,000 books, including 107 of 111 New York Times Best Sellers, plus audiobooks, periodicals and blogs. For non-U.S. customers, content availability varies.
Free, Out-of-Copyright Books
> Over 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books are available such as Pride and Prejudice.
I just have to say: I think this is prett neat. I’m thoroughly enjoying mine and look forward to building my library continually. The ONLY criticism I can make is this: when you download books from the Amazon Kindle store, and then you go back to search the collection again, you have to sort through all the same books you already did – even if you’ve bought them. Once you buy a book you’d think Amazon would delete it from the mass of publications you have to search through. Oh, well… a small price to pay and maybe some day they’ll fix that.
Did you find this information helpful? If you did, consider donating.