Amazon Kindle Book ReaderWhen the Kindle first released, I held off on buying it. I figured it was a brand new release, and that waiting for version 2 would be the best idea. Then the Kindle sold out immediately and went out of stock for several months. By the time it finally came back in stock again, I had read so many great reviews of it that I got one immediately. I waited a full month before writing this review, to make sure I really understood its features and issues.
First, the basics. It is the size of a thin paperback book, very light and easy to hold. I've carried it in my purse easily. When I'm waiting for friends to show up for dinner, or waiting in line, I can pull it out and read a few pages while I wait. I read it hanging out on the couch, laying in bed, as a passenger in a car. It's so portable and light that it's wonderful in any situation. The display is VERY crisp. Since you can change the font size on the fly, if your eyes get tired you just kick the letter size up a notch and keep reading. I've used it in the sun, shade, inside, outside, and it's always easy to read. It is NOT back lit which is fine by me. It makes for easier regular reading. I do have a clip-on LED light for bedtime reading which works very well (the Mighty Bright). The download connection is via a cell phone network, and is free. You pay for the books you buy, but they transmit for free. You also have access to the entire web - including Wikipedia, Google, and any mail-based system. I love looking things up on Wikipedia when I am out and about. I also love that you can buy books pretty much any time, anywhere and read them instantly. When we were out on Nantucket, I hit a few buttons and in seconds I had Moby Dick to read. If I'm reading a book in a series and finish it while riding a bus, I hit a few buttons and have the next book in the series there in seconds. The Kindle can hold up to 200 books. You can buy classics for 99 cents or less; new books are usually around $9 or $10. So you save money with each purchase. Amazon always remembers all your purchases, so you can re download them if you have to. You can also back them up to your computer if you want an extra safety net. You can load your own PDFs onto the Kindle too. I found the Kindle extremely easy to use. There are "next page" buttons on either side of the unit so you can use it with either hand, in a variety of holding positions. Instead of having to use both hands to hold open a heavy book, and deal with turning the pages over, you just sit back and casually click your thumb every once in a while. It is so much easier than reading a book, it is quite amazing once you get used to it. You don't think about "reading on a Kindle". You just get immersed in the book, enjoying the experience. Your hands don't get tired, your eyes don't get tired - so you can read for much longer. I love that you can subscribe to magazines and newspapers and have them just appear by themselves each new issue. They even have the cartoons and graphics. I also like the full week of battery life, and how it recharges in about 2 hours. Are there downsides? The main sticking point I have with the Kindle is an emotional one. I read a ton of books each month. When I am done with my books I like to pass them along to family and friends. I feel I am "spreading the wealth" when I do that, and like giving them away for free. But when I sat down and logically thought about it, it meant I was paying more money and slaying trees - and that in a portion of the cases the books weren't worth passing around. My friends could easily get the books for free from the library once I gave them my recommendation. With the money I save, I could buy them a book if it really was that special! Other than that, I am just SO pleased with the Kindle. I've brought it out and about and everybody who sees it wants to play with it, and is extremely impressed. Pretty much every person would buy one immediately if the price was lower. It comes down to a how-much-you-read question. If you read a fair amount, you're paying less for the ebook version than you would for the actual book version. So you save money with every purchase. The reading itself is so easy and convenient, that is definitely worth paying for. To be able to carry a whole library of books with you wherever you go - never mind the free access to Wikipedia, Google and other sites - is just so amazing. It even has a built in dictionary and notepad! Highly, highly recommended. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. I put an entire step by step photo gallery of what is in the Kindle package, how it starts up and every screen it shows on the BellaOnline forums if you want to go through that. Enjoy! Buy the Amazon Kindle Book Reader from Amazon.com
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