Why I Bought a Kindle

Late last week, my desire to simplify came face-to-face with my love of books:
e-reader venn

An obvious solution was an e-reader. An e-reader would cut down on physical stuff, pay for itself (in savings of e-books compared to hardbacks) over a period of time, and save untold numbers of trees from being harvested for paper.

But the question was, which e-reader? After ruling out the Nook (slow page-turning; no browser) and Sony (no international access; no e-book sharing; cost), I had narrowed my choice down to the Kindle 2 and the i-Pad. The dismal reviews of the i-Pad as an e-reader, especially in sunlight, led to the following list favoring the Kindle 2:

  • Instant e-book delivery
  • Great visual clarity
  • Portability
  • Huge selection of titles
  • Excellent battery life (7 days)
  • Audio book vocalization
  • Basic web browser
  • Near-instant page-turning

venn diagram

But, still, I was not convinced until I happened to see a photo of the Kindle at Kent’s Bike Blog (via Rowdy Kittens) (you can scroll down to the pic of the Kindle and the hardback book. And be sure to read his excellent Kindle review) . Before that, I had no idea of how very compact and portable the Kindle was. Seeing it next to the book put it all in clear perspective.

So, I took the plunge, placed my order with Amazon, and received the Kindle 2 yesterday. It’s been fun exploring all its options. And I have been amazed at the extensive list of free books in the public domain available for download. Some free e-books and magazine and newspaper articles require an additional step of formatting to be read by the Kindle.  But this is super-simple to do and I will be writing about it in a later post.

Here’s a my Kindle 2 (and its random screen saver image) with cherry blossoms to give a sense of size and scale:

Kindle with cherry blossoms

And if I may just make a comment about how very futuristic this feels:  From my computer, I just now went to the Amazon selection of free popular Classics and selected The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Before I could even get to my Kindle, the book was downloaded and ready to read.  It was a very Jetson’s moment…

The word on the street is that the Kindle will be soon be available at brick-and-mortar stores. It is rumored to be available at Best Buy and Target on April 25th.

Your turn: Have you considered getting an e-reader? Or, if you have one, which one did you buy? Are you happy with your decision? Has it simplified your life?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Be Sociable, Share!

12 Responses to Why I Bought a Kindle

  1. Avatar migueldeluis
    migueldeluis says:

    Hi Christiana,

    Yes, I considered it, but I managing with my netbook. It can manage kindle files, thanks to Kindle for PC and pdfs. It's slightly less convenient than a dedicated reader, yet once you orient the screen, surprisingly similar to a book. It's not perfect, but I can read on my bed comfortable enough.

  2. Hi Migueldeluis,

    I totally support using what you already have. That is truly the best minimalist approach. And thank you for pointing out that Kindle for PC (and, I might add, Mac) is a viable alternative to the e-reader.

    Unfortunately, I find that I experience great eyestrain when reading for long periods of time on my laptop. Happily, I have not found that to be the case with the Kindle.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I too have been considering purchasing a digital reader of some sort and I am trying to decide between the kindle and the nook, what size kindle did you get, I saw they have a bigger one and I wonder if that might be better or if the 6 inch would be ok, I like that the kindle seems easy to use has a keyboard rather than being all touch, but I was reading a comparison chart and I wasnt sure if perhaps the nook had more titles available and I know they have free books but I wasnt sure if the kindle had free books too?

  4. Hi Jenny,

    In trying to decide between the Kindle and the Nook, I found the following NYTimes article helpful: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/10/technology/pe

    The article points out that the Nook counts among it's available titles, “…Google scans of free, obscure, pre-1923 out-of-copyright books, filled with typos. (They’re also available for the Kindle, but Amazon doesn’t even count them).” And the Amazon e-books are on average 15% cheaper than Barnes and Noble and Sony.

    As for size of Kindle, I initially thought I would prefer the larger DX version. But after reading reader reviews, and thinking about my own needs (i.e., ease of tucking the Kindle into my handbag; ease of holding the device for long periods; better button control on the smaller version) and price ($259 for Kindle 2, $489 for Kindle DX), my choice in favor of the Kindle 2 became clear.

    Having said that, I am sure the Nook is a viable alternative. I'd love to know which e-reader, if any, you end up getting, and how you like it.

    Thank you for your questions 🙂

  5. thanks! I ended up getting the Kindle. I researched it alot and found that no one has really complained about the kindle while almost everyone warned of the nook crashing which for me would probably be the most annoying thing that could happen since my laptop crashes too! haha. I am very excited about my kindle coming, I know it will save me alot of money and alot of space in my home because I am an avid reader. When it arrives I will post a comprehensive review on my youtube channel. I also found the cutest decals that can be put on them at decalgirl.com they are removable too so I ordered one of those as well. Thanks for all of your advice! 🙂

  6. Jenny, thank you for the update! The Kindle has not had any problems with crashing, that I am aware of, so I think you will be very happy with that aspect, too.

    I will be sure to check out your youtube video review when it's posted…

  7. Avatar nastia00
    nastia00 says:

    I have been eying e-readers for a while now. Kindle does have great features, the only draw back for me is the size of the screen vs the overall size, I wish the screen was a bit bigger. Plus I am a bit concerned about the e-waste discarded Kindles (and the like) create.

    I am considering trading my HP laptop for a netbook. They are light and work as e-readers too. Does it make sense?

  8. Hi nastia00,

    It's interesting that you mention the screen size. Before getting the Kindle, I wondered about that, too. Now that I have used it, I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that the screen size helps me focus more on the words at hand. Rather than racing along at my usual merry clip, I find that I am actually taking the time to read the words on the screen with time to ponder and reflect before turning the page.

    I am afraid I have no experience with netbooks so I am not qualified to comment on them. But, in theory, it sounds like it might be the best of both worlds for you. Perhaps you could visit a vendor who carries the netbook you are considering and give it a test-drive to see how well you like it as an e-reader. There's nothing like seeing an item in person to get a real sense of how it will fit your needs.

    Thanks for writing 🙂

  9. I got my Kindle and so far I love it, I have posted a first impressions review here

    and tagged your article 🙂 Thanks for all the advice!

  10. Hey, Jenny, I'm so glad you are enjoying your Kindle!

    Thank you for sharing the link to your enthusiastic youtube review, and thanks for the kind shout-out 🙂

    Happy reading!

  11. Avatar nastia00
    nastia00 says:

    Finally got to the article you have mentioned. I think I will hold off with buying an e-reader myself since most of my books are borrowed, but for those of us who buy a lot of paperbacks it is actually a better solution.

  12. Pingback:E-Readers in Ghana Increase Access to Books | elegant simple life