Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kindling (Thoughts on about my Kindle)

It's been a month now since my lovely wife (and favorite muse) gave me a Kindle Paperwhite for Xmas. I developed some definite opinions about it. I never thought I would be one to embrace an e-reader. I love the feel of a real book in my hands, the texture of the paper, the weight in my hands, the aroma of a vintage tome. And I love bookstores. It is physically impossible for me to walk into a bookstore and then leave empty handed. Oh, it's been done, but it hurts.

So why did I want one?

E-books are the way of the future. More and more publishers are doing e-versions. More and more people are buying e-books. Fewer and fewer people are buying hard copy books. And the price of the bestsellers at the major houses is coming down. All this taken together indicates that people are still reading, and reading more by some counts. The world is changing and to be a part of it you have to be aware of it.
Besides most of what I've been selling lately is in electronic format only. I wanted to see what it actually looked like in its final form on something made to show it.

What's it like?

The Kindle Paperwhite is small, about the size of small trade paperback. It is very lightweight and very very thin. At first I found it awkward to hold, not having the depth of a book, but I soon got used to it. The Paperwhite is an e-reader only, no apps, no sound, no motion. It stores books and you read them. That's it. I did n't need another place for games, and such. I wanted an e-reader only.

The good?

I am one of those people that must read in bed every night in order to fall asleep  It can be anything, a magazine, a current book, what ever, but I must read something. It allows my mind to shut down, to stop worrying about the day's activities and what will come tomorrow. Reading allows me to escape, relax, and go in a completely different direction. The Kindle is the perfect tool fro reading in bed.
It is very easy on the eyes. The brightness of the illuminated page can easily be adjusted for daytime or night. I have found that instead of reading a paragraph some nights before my eyes get heavy, okay many nights, I now read a chapter or two or three before telling myself it's time to sleep.

It's very easy to get content. E-books are everywhere. Amazon has daily specials where they will drastically reduce the price of 4 books to usually something under $3. Or there many sites that publish free titles in kindle format (.mobi). Many are of classic now in public domain. I recently downloaded the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and the entire OZ collection of stories. You can download them on to your computer and then transfer to the Kindle.

I can also upload any document in PDF format and read it on my Kindle. Very handy. Here's a recent example. In Wikipedia you can make a single document from numerous entries and then save it as a PDF. Upload it to my kindle and it's there when I want to review it.

The bad?

This surprised me. I've already stated I am addicted to books. I have many many books. Too many if you ask my wife. They line every shelf and are staked in corners in precarious piles. I've found it very difficult to get rid of a book. It's like losing an old friend. (Unless it's a really bad book, then you just want it out of the house.)

But I have found there is less of a connection to e-books. Is it because they have no physical presence, no tangible connection, no tactile essence? I don't know. I do know I find it easier to stop reading a book I'm not too interested it, and even delete it from my collection with little or no remorse. Poof, it's gone. What's next? It makes me feel bad in a way.

The fun part?

It's my new toy. And my new toy needed a case, a cover, some protection. My son told me about some people who had converted old books into case for their e-readers. What cool, yet ironic idea, creating a case from the thing it replaces. I went looking for a cheap old nice book to cut up. I found something quite by surprise. It was at Michael's craft store, a Star Wars journal for $3. It bought it knowing that if it proved too small I'd at least have a nice little journal. It worked perfectly .
So I guess it's going pretty good. Right now I really only use my Kindle at night but time will tell. E-books are the future whether we like it or not. We adjust.

As always, thanks for reading me.

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