Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Well, I finally did it, I bought a Kindle. I shouldn’t really see this as ‘news’ considering Jessica has had one for years now but in my longstanding tradition of being slow on the uptake I’ve only just joined the club. And what a glorious club it is.
This is one of those times when I genuinely ask myself ‘why didn’t I get one of these years ago?’ Compact, lightweight, easy to use, cheap (for what you get) and thousands of books to download in the blink of an eye the Kindle is ideal for casual readers and bibliophiles alike.
Jessica, reading over my shoulder, just scoffed and said this article sounds like an advert. Since Amazon isn’t paying me to review it I will try to be as objective as possible.
Kindle is a handheld device about the size and weight of a thin paperback. Using the internet you can search for and purchase books which download directly onto your kindle handset. It even allows you to download a ‘sample’ of the book for free to see how you get on with it before committing to buy the whole thing. It is undoubtedly convenient. Not only is it able to download whole books very quickly but it also duplicates said book into your Amazon account so, even if you drop your kindle into a puddle and ruin it, you won’t lose your books.
My favourite feature is that you can ‘highlight’ passages you like and revisit them with ease. You can also make notes. There is a dictionary available which you can use anytime whilst reading just by highlighting a word. Kindle books in the ‘public domain’ are completely free to download. For newer books there is a charge, usually less than a paperback.
Despite all these ‘pluses’ the Kindle is not perfect. The basic model doesn’t have the touch screen feature meaning you have to navigate, type and select using buttons which can be slow and frustrating at times. Another minor criticism is the screen for the basic model is only black and white. This isn’t a major problem for just reading novels but if you are a fan of comic books (sorry, ahem, graphic novels) the illustrations will not have colour. Sadly Amazon can only convert books electronically with permission so if, for whatever reason, an author or publisher doesn’t want their book to be available on the Kindle they can prevent it. For this reason one of my favourite books, To Kill a Mockingbird’ is not currently available. I have no doubt this will change in time.
Overall I think it’s a great bit of kit, particularly if, like me, you live in a small maisonette with limited room for bookshelves. Now all I need to do is get over the guilt of finally giving up on paper…