This week, after much thought and back and forth arguing with my other personalities, I bought a Kindle. Now, anyone who knows me knows that as much as I like computers, laptops, and televisions, I kinda hate technology. I hate GPS systems because I like to rely on my own little sense of direction; I hate cell phones because I don’t like being accessible at all times and don’t really enjoy talking on the phone anyway; I’m not a fan of texting and I don’t like the iPad. I also thought I would hate a Kindle.
How I Discovered I was Wrong
One weekend a few weeks ago, I wanted to study a finance textbook about private companies so I ordered it online and downloaded it on the Kindle for PC application. I installed this app on both my normal PC and my laptop and proceeded to read the text over the weekend, as I had planned. I didn’t have to wait for the book to get shipped to me, didn’t have to carry around a big, heavy, awkward textbook, and I could highlight, bookmark and annotate the textbook on the computer just as I might on the actual book.
So great, I knew I liked online reading for textbooks—but what about the real test? What about fiction? Like most of you, I’m a huge reader. I read several novels a week and don’t feel cozy or at home unless I’ve got an unread novel around to lose myself in. I thought that reading on an electronic device would take the hominess right out of pleasure reading. I thought it would de-personalize it somehow and make it more like work.
I decided to try an easy and fun read and downloaded Charlaine Harris’ first Sookie Stackhouse book (the basis for the HBO show True Blood), Dead Until Dark and read it in bed on my laptop.
I loved it.
By the end of the following week I had downloaded 9 more books and read each and every one of them.
And then I had to buy a Kindle. The laptop I have is heavy, it gets hot, and it’s awkward for cozy reading. Since I knew the process of electronic reading didn't bother me as I thought it would, I knew the Kindle needed to be my next stop.
Why I Like It
The Kindle rocks. I now get my daily NY Times on the Kindle and can clip articles and write notes so it’s become a super tool in my daily research. I can search all the books and periodicals on my Kindle for information which is amazing, I can take it anywhere because it has free 3G and a strong battery. I can also get magazines (individual issues or as a monthly subscription) and blog posts.
As a freelancer, the magazine and newspaper option is important not only for research but also because you can easily study magazines before developing a query. I'm the kind of person who usually trades her frequent flyer miles for magazine subscriptions and while I thought I would hate reading them on a tiny, 6" screen, I've actually found it much easier and more pleasant to do so. I don't have to worry about dragging piles of magazines to the recycling center, don't worry about cluttering up my home and I don't have to store piles of cut out articles everywhere.
Also, I accessed thousands of free books and downloaded them on the Kindle. And no, they aren’t crappy books, but classics like Emma, Moby Dick and The Art of War. The best part though, is that it makes reading much more comfortable than an actual book. It’s slim and lite and cool and easy to lug around.
This frickin’ Kindle is my new best friend.
Why I Don't Quite Always Like It
Of course, there are some things that I don’t like. Right now, I can’t organize my books into folders which is driving me freakin’ insane. They are working on a patch that should fix that. I also don’t like that it’s not back lit, but I have a special light coming in the mail this weekend.
Special thanks to Leslie A Joy, VA to the social media stars, because she did a ton of research to help me reach a decision before I made my purchase.