by D. J. McAdam
After a great deal of thought and research, I purchased a Kindle from Amazon in September, 2010. There are a few different versions of Kindle offered so, for the sake of clarity, the particular e-reader I chose was the one advertised as, "Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6" Display, Graphite, 3G Works Globally - Latest Generation," for which I paid $189.
That's what was bought - why did I buy it? Or, to address the real questions that I'd like to cover in this review:
- Why does someone even need an e-reader, as opposed to just reading books, and;
- Why purchase the Amazon Kindle, rather than the Barnes & Nobles Nook, the Sony Reader, the HP iPaq, the Kobo, etc., and;
- Why purchase the 3G Kindle, as opposed to the cheaper Wi-Fi only Kindle?
Do You Need an E-Reader?
One should never spend money needlessly. Whether or not you need an e-reader depends on a number of factors, including how much you read, what you read, and how much you travel. I read a lot, the books that I read are often (but not always) available in digital form, and I travel a great deal. It's the traveling that really pushed me to buy an e-reader. I've spent too many nights in a hotel or airport or somewhere without a book to read, because I finished the book I brought with me before I thought I would, or because the book I brought with me on my trip, which was supposed to be good, turned out to be awful. If it really bothers you to be without a book to read when you're traveling, you probably need an e-reader. With the Kindle 3G, I can use the Kindle from wherever I am to purchase a book, download it, and start reading it in about 60 seconds. Plus the Kindle, with a nice cover attached, weighs about the same as a single paperback book, and yet can contain a small library.
Do You Need the Kindle (As Opposed to the Kobo, the Nook, and other e-Readers)?
There are good and bad things to say about all e-readers by reviewers, and one could drive oneself crazy trying to make the absolutely optimal decision. I've had my Kindle now for over a month, have read a few books on it, and am perfectly happy. Most discussions of features are about things that don't really matter. For example, I've read that, by buying my Kindle, I'm somehow "locked in" to Amazon's proprietary titles. It's really a non-issue. Any new books that come out in digital format are available for the Kindle, and there are tons of out-of-copyright classics that I can download to the Kindle for free, or nearly for free. The Island of Dr. Moreau and Christianity and Islam were both free. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom cost me $1.00. Christopher McDougall's Born to Run, a current title, cost $9.99. In truth, I always shop at Amazon for in-print books anyway, and having a Kindle is just plain convenient.
Which Kindle Should You Buy?
I debated with myself over this question for some time. Save fifty bucks and forego the 3G "download anywhere" convenience, or not? As stated, I bought the Free 3G Kindle. It is more convenient, and my reasoning was something along the lines of if-I'm-going-to-do-this-I'm-going-to-do-it-right. Again, I'm happy with my decision.
What Accessories Do You Need?
You don't really need any accessories, but - going back to the traveling issue - it seems wise to protect your investment with a cover. I paid another $60, which seems exorbitant but there you go, and purchased a lighted leather cover. The Kindle attaches to the cover and the light runs off the Kindle, so you don't have to worry about batteries, but so far I've never used the light, other than to ensure that it did in fact work.
Are Kindle Books Cheaper Than Paperbacks?
Usually, but not always. The free classics I mentioned are of course cheaper, because no one prints up and gives away free books. The aforementioned Born to Run was $9.99 for the Kindle, $10.12 for the paperback, so one is only saving thirteen cents. On the other hand, if I ever move again, it will be a lot cheaper and easier to move an 8.7 ounce Kindle than several boxes of books.
How Is the Reading Experience?
Honestly, it's just like reading a "real" book, which is to say that one loses oneself in reading and becomes totally unaware that one is holding a piece of intelligent technology in one's hands as opposed to bound sheets of printed paper. I read with whatever light I would normally read a printed book with, and have encountered no problems.
I'm very pleased with my Kindle, and recommend it unreservedly. I wish that everything I bought worked this wonderfully.
© D J McAdam. Please note: all applicable material on this website is protected by law and may not be copied without express written permission.
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