When I heard of the Kindle-reading device on Amazon, I wasn’t immediately drawn to it. So far, I’d resisted all the other electronic readers that had come along and ended up sticking with regular books, the kind that actually have front and back covers, take up space on bookshelves and even show signs of use over time. I also collect vintage books. But it is already sold out on Amazon, weeks before Christmas!
So what got me to break down and buy a Kindle from Amazon, especially with a price tag of $399, not exactly pocket change, before it was sold out?
For one thing, I review books so that was one factor that made the Kindle perfect for me ( it currently has 88,000 titles available, including 100 out of the 112 bestsellers listed on the New York Times list ) A definite plus for me as well as anyone interested in the hottest new books!
Another attractive feature? The ability to get information quickly and a lack of room for storing books.. But there was more to it than that.
The Top Features of the Kindle Bookreader:
1. Currently, Kindle offers instant access to over 90,000 books, blogs, magazines and newspapers.
The benefit: You have a chance to review a book, see a blog posting or read an article in a magazine before the actual publication hits your local bookstore or magazine stand. You are among the first to read that hot new bestseller or see the latest news or blog posting.
2. Book prices are lower for Kindle downloads than buying the actual book, plus there isn’t an added “shipping” charge.
The Benefit: Well, just do the math. Kindle editions of new books and bestsellers top out at about $9.99 each compared to hardcover prices at Amazon which are much higher, about $16.95 or so. Yes, you can order form a seller on Amazon if you are willing to wait for prices to drop, but the trade-off is a longer wait time and those shipping costs. In all honesty, if you buy a lot of books, you can pay $79.00 a year for a Prime membership on Amazon and get free shipping on most books, CDs, movies and many other products from Amazon. I got my Kindle with free shipping because of the Prime membeship but if you don’t haven’t signed up for that, you’ll have to factor in shipping for each purchase.
Here’s why that $399 price may end up being worth it: If you buy between 20 and 30 books from Amazon at $9.99 a book, you may be saving as much as $10.00 per book, including shipping. Even if you don’t buy that many books, what about magazines, newspapers, blogs?
They are all offered at a savings, too. When you figure out how many books you buy per year, don’t forget to include those you buy for gifts, birthdays and special occasions. How much are you really spending, all in all? How much for shipping?
3. To repeat another point made in the above paragraph (worth stressing again), you also save money on magazine subscriptions: If you want to get a month’s worth of Time or some other magazine, you can get the subscription for 99 cents a month through the Kindle program. Do a comparison and you’ll see that a six to 12 month subscription of the traditional print version of Time is somewhere between $16 and $30. But for six dollars, you get the magazine automatically uploaded into your Kindle reader – and you save money. Do be aware, though, that not all graphics will be in the Kindle version, not something I’ve found a major problem. The text is still plenty useful for me.
The Benefit: Less cost per magazine, quicker delivery, no lost issues, don’t have to wait for mail delivery. The monthly cost for a weekly magazine like Time is less than buying one issue in the store! Tired of the magazine? Just delete it. No need to recycle or toss it in the trash. One less bundle of paper to deal with.
4. Two hundred books held in a Kindle takes up a small amount of visible space. I figure if I am willing spend a bit more for energy saving flourescent bulbs it made just as much sense to buy the Kindle. I quickly realized that I was bringing a lot less paper -and clutter – into the house. Also, in all honesty, I wasn’t always able to read the magazines that piled up and didn’t throw them out as quickly as I should. Now I might have a chance to tackle those and clear them out!
Benefit: Less visible clutter, no time spent sorting, stacking and storing (or discarding) magazines and newspapers. More time for decluttering (hopefully).
5. Adjustable type and font sizes – I should have bifocals. I don’t. WIth the Kindle, I can adjust the font to a size where I don’t have constant reminders that my eyes aren’t quite as youthful as they used to be. The print is easy to read, right on the border of meeting the standard for large print books.
The Benefit : I no longer have to buy or hunt down large print editions for my mother. After I read a book, she simply takes the Kindle, adjusts the font size and reads it herself. It is like getting two books for the (low) price of one, or about $4.98 per use, considering the number of users.
6. Portability and wireless capability as well as long battery life- I’ve gone as long as 3 days without having to recharge mine. This isn’t likely to die on you quickly. It is lightweight and easy to carry. It weighs about 10 ounces, yet holds up to 200 books! I’m still amazed by that and grateful that I don’t have to find a place for extra books in my home.
The Benefit – No books to dust, store or carry. No worries about bugs or mold getting into my books.
7. No monthly fees, service plans or costs – Buy the Kindle and then use it as often or as little as you want. You determine how much you want to spend for the convenience of having book, magazine and blog access in an instant.
The Benefit: You control any additional costs after purchase.
8. You can email your word documents and pictures to Kindle for portable and easy viewing
The Benefit: A personal and custom experience and extra convenience in sharing and using word documents and photos.
Okay, after hitting some of the things I really like about Kindle, do I recommend it for every booklover on your Christmas or holiday list? Nope.
Here’s who might not like it:
Book collectors – First editions, complete with typos and other quirks, can be more valuable than anything held on Kindle. For those who invest in books as collectors’ editions, this won’t be a substitute.
People who read only a few books a year, rarely glance at blogs and grab a very occasional magazine off the newstand
Anyone who likes to read in the bathtub or simply prefers the feel and smell of a traditional book. Just as some individuals prefer fountain pens to ballpoint pens, there are those who simply enjoy holding a book in their hands and smelling the newly printed pages. For them, it may be worth the effort to care for the books, dust them and watch out for bugs and mildew.
Those who like to wait till books appear in the library rather than pay for them or who don’t mind holding out till a bestseller finally makes it to a half-price store.
Those who care about form over function. Not the prettiest device around but that isn’t my priority. Function is.
To sum it up: I love the Kindle bookreader but, surprise, surprise…. I also collect vintage books. For me, this offers the best of both worlds – an opportunity to momentarily enjoy books I don’t find worth keeping on my shelves as well as the chance to save enough time and money in the long run to afford to indulge my passion for collecting vintage books and magazines.
Finally, I wanted to add one suggestion: Before you buy this, check out the availability of the EVDO coverage in your area at coverage.sprintpcs.com/IMPACT.jsp