Monday, February 4, 2008
This past Christmas, my sweet husband surprised me with the gift of an Amazon Kindle (after a few well placed wish-list hints.) Now, five weeks into our "relationship," my Kindle and I have survived the dreaded getting-acquainted stage, and we are well on our way to becoming friends forever. I'm already trying to figure out how to insure its safety while I read from the back of our motorcycle once the riding season begins. I've got a few ideas--most of them incorporating strategically placed Velcro strips.
The things I love about this device far outweigh the not-so-great cons. Shall I count the ways?
Where I go, my TBR stack goes. The Kindle, which is about the size/weight of a mass-market paperback, has its own cellular wireless connection so I can shop at Amazon.com from my Kindle device and choose from over 90,000 book titles, or a variety of newspapers or magazine subscriptions. The most I've had to pay for a new release title is $9.99 (or as little as 2.50). Once I click "BUY" the book magically appears on my device in less than a minute. I can store about 200 books on the Kindle at one time. (Ssshhh. . .don't tell my husband, but I fear I'm well on my way to that number!) If that's not enough space, I can insert a memory card and add a few more hundred volumes. Or, I can choose to "park" my purchases at Amazon.com and move them back and forth to my Kindle as many times as I choose. Once I've made a purchase, the book is mine to keep.
I even carry my Kindle to church with me since I uploaded a Bible. Not only is it easy to search for the sermon's scripture text, I can also highlight passsages and add notes in the margins. (The Kindle came in a black leather case, so it doesn't call undue attention to itself in the church crowd.)
In addition to purchasing published books, I can e-mail Word documents to my Kindle through a private/individualized address or connect to my computer directly via a USB cable to upload the documents. This way, I can read incoming manuscripts without having to lug a stack of paper with me wherever I go. Again, it's not difficult to add comments or highlight sections I want to address with the author. With the press of a button, I can change the font size from standard- to large-print or several options in between. If I've left my reading glasses at the office, no problem. I just hitch the type size up a notch or two.
For marathon readers such as myself, I believe the Kindle can be a godsend--saving bookshelf space, eyestrain, and a book-bag-carrying aching back. If Amazon were to ask my opinion, I'd have a short list of improvements I'd like to see on the next model, but they'd have a cat-fight on their hands if they tried to take my Kindle away from me now.
I've heard a few publishing-type folks grouse about the future of paper-and-ink publishing should the Kindle revolutionize and popularize e-books. But, personally, I don't see the Kindle as a threat to traditionally published books but rather view it as a whole new avenue for expanding the marketability of our work. What do you think?
Editor Du Jour Susan