Last year I made a pretty huge technological leap (for me). I got a Kindle in June and an Iphone 5 in November. These were both gifts from my hubby to try to help me enter the 21st century. Here’s what I think of my Kindle.
I have the most basic Kindle.
I keep it in this case that includes a light powered by the Kindle battery.
My first Kindle broke within the first few months, and Amazon replaced it immediately. Good customer service.
What I can do on the Kindle:
I can read books and certain magazines and blogs on it (and maybe listen to audio books although I haven’t tried that). The magazines and blogs require a monthly subscription fee.
Most classic books are in the public domain and are free on Kindle—I love that.
I can check out e-books from the library and read them on the Kindle.
I can borrow certain books from Amazon for free on the Kindle with an Amazon Prime membership, one at a time, once a month.
I can borrow and lend books for free among friends with a Kindle (it’s like real borrowing—while I have it, my friend can’t access it).
With the free Kindle app for smartphones, I can read my book on my phone if I forget to bring the Kindle somewhere, and N. and I can read the same book at the same time.
What I like about the Kindle:
Most classic novels are in the public domain, and are free on Kindle. I have the complete works of Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, and Lucy Maud Montgomery (to name a few) in my purse to read at any time. When we started homeschooling, and I needed to clear space for the large library of childrens’ books I hoped to amass, and purchase a bookcase to hold them in, so I chose to sell a ton of paperback books I’d read in college or hoped to read someday. This was painful (and sometimes I still regret it), but we have a small home and there just wasn’t space. It helps that I have been able to download many of those books (which were mostly classics) onto my Kindle.
Reading on the Kindle is easy on the eyes, not overstimulating like reading from a computer screen or phone (this does not apply to the Kindle app on the phone, obviously). It is very much like reading a book. The screen is not self-lighting, which is why I have a case with a little reading lamp.
My favorite place to read the Kindle is while exercising on the elliptical at the Y. For many years I have tried to smash paperback books into the little book holders on that machine, usually with little success. I generally end up exercising with one hand and holding the book up with the other. And a bulky hardback from the library? Impossible!
I purchased a bunch of easy children’s readers for pretty cheap on the Kindle. It is extremely convenient to have these on hand for my three emerging readers whenever we are out about town or out of town. The kids like the novelty of reading on a device, and I don’t have to run around trying to find books they can read in the madness of getting them all out the door.
So far, I like the Kindle best for free classics that the kids aren’t ready to read yet or brand-new nonfiction books that are easy enough for me to read while exercising.
What I don’t like about the Kindle:
While I do not have internet access from my basic Kindle, I can browse the Amazon Kindle library if I’m in a place with wi-fi. I have sometimes been distracted from reading by doing this.
For awhile I was paying for a subscription to a blog on the Kindle. This was silly because I could easily check the blog on the computer for free. Also, because it was a busy blog with multiple authors, it was constantly uploading new content. It was extremely distracting whenever I turned on the device to read a book, and saw that there were 2 new blog posts! Just like turning on my phone and seeing that there are 3 new emails. It’s very hard to have the discipline not to constantly check that kind of thing. Eventually I deleted the subscription and have committed to using the Kindle for books only.
While a Kindle book is less expensive than a new real book, I don’t usually buy new books. I rarely buy any books that aren’t “$.01 plus 3.99 shipping” on Amazon Marketplace. So it’s been hard for me to justify paying more for a book just to have it on the device.
Also, I often leave books I’m reading lying around the house. The kids pick them up, look them over, and William might try to read a page or two. If it’s a children’s book, the younger kids might try to read a bit too. This experience is completely lost on them if I’m reading an electronic book, and this is my biggest concern with the Kindle. It disturbs me that Teddy says “phone” whenever he sees me reading on my Kindle.
While I do use the Amazon Prime Free Lending Library, I don’t every month. The selection feels random to me, and I usually use the library when I hear a book in it recommended in a blog post, rarely from my own searches in the library.
Just this month I purchased C. S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet.
It was about the same price for a used paperback or the Kindle version, but I chose the paperback copy. I thought William might be ready to read this book too. Yes, he might have a Kindle someday and I can “lend” it to him, but not yet! So for a week or so, I’m back to exercising with one hand. 🙂