Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Kindle: First Thoughts

The Hunger Games was my first Kindle purchase. It was $5. I clicked “buy” on Amazon and within 30 seconds, the book was on my Kindle. I have to say, that’s pretty amazing. The Kindle pages look very similar to book pages, and turning the page took just a press of the forward arrow.

As I started reading on my Kindle, this is how I felt for about the first half of the book: I missed that feeling of accomplishment. With a real book, you get that satisfaction as the pages you’ve read start outnumbering the pages you haven’t. You can physically see how far you are. You can also easily flutter through to see how many pages you are away from the end of a chapter. With a Kindle, sure you can page to the end of a chapter, but it’s not as easy as holding your finger in the book to mark your spot. Along the bottom of a Kindle page, it shows the percentage of what you’ve read. So, this should give me that feeling of accomplishment… but as a visual learner, this meant very little to me. But, I assume as I read more and more books this way, I’ll get use to this method.

But, I have to say, by the last half of the book, I forgot I was reading on my Kindle. I got used to the “flipping,” it read easily on the e-ink, and it was so convenient to slip into my purse. (Maybe I would’ve stuck with Pillars of the Earth if I had it on a Kindle instead of lugging around 1,000 pages? Probably not.) I’m reading a real book again at the moment, and love holding it in my hands, but I have to say, the Kindle isn’t so bad to hold either.

Another downfall: I’ve told one of my bffs that she’ll really enjoy The Hunger Games. And I realized I can’t lend it to her. And that makes me sad. But, I have a goal to declutter even more in 2011, which means selling lots more of my books. The reason I keep books is to lend them out. But, having more space and a more peaceful mind needs to outweigh keeping books just for the possibility of lending them (sorry, please still be my friends!), and maybe more Kindle books is the way to do that.

Commenting on my first Kindle post, Manda asked me if using a Kindle means I still feel “connected” to everything. Manda said she likes picking up a book and turning off all that technology. I didn’t feel that way at all. My Kindle isn’t connected to anything. I’m not planning to sign up for news through it or anything. Nothing bongs or tweets at me while I’m reading. It’s going to strictly be for books and just because it’s “electronic,” well, even after just one book, it doesn’t feel “electronic” to me. I’m just reading as I always have.

Other people commented on missing libraries and bookstores. First, I’ll never stop perusing bookstores. I love them, even when I don’t buy anything, which is most often. However, I’ve been buying (or having people buy for me) a majority of my books online for years now. They’re cheaper. They come right to your house. It’s easy for gift-giving. So, that part I won’t miss, actually. I can still stop at B&N over lunch – and buy children’s books now! – and the only thing that really changes about my buying habits is that my books get delivered to the Kindle in seconds as opposed to the house in days by mail.

In the end, I really like it. I do still feel a touch guilty about that, though. And, like iTunes, when you can just click “buy” and instantly have a book in place, it’s important to learn restraint. Because I still have plenty of books on my shelf left to read, too, I’ve put a limit on my Kindle purchases. Right now, nothing more than $5 or so - and with $40 in gift cards to spend, that's a lot of books. After awhile, I’ll re-evaluate. And I’ll obviously still be reading both ways. I don’t expect ever to give up actual books, but if it comes cheaper on the Kindle and it’s something I really want to read, the Kindle it is.

So, now what do you think? I think I've struck a good balance, plus I tried, and enjoyed, something new. Have I changed any minds?


KMF said...

I just got a Kindle as well and am experiencing many of the same things... Including, an annoyance with all the double hyphens for em dashes, and other random spacing and punctuation issues. Did your book have those as well, or was it just mine? Between that and continually glancing at the progress bar at the bottom (like a clock that needs to be covered!), I've been pretty distracted and can't get into a reading flow... But maybe it's just the wrong book to start out with—Jane Austen's "Emma" ($1).

A. said...

KMF - I didn't notice any punctuation issues, so I wonder if its the classics? Those older books that have weird punctuation sometimes anyway? Maybe they just don't translate electronically?

I agree that the progress bar felt like a clock, too! But, like I said, I learned to ignore it a bit.

BUT, since you have a Kindle, we can share books with each other. I think you can lend books to another Kindle owner for two weeks for free. We could try that sometime!

KMF said...

It looks like they hired someone to re-type the book, but didn't do a very good job... Definite inconsistencies, and maybe even spelling errors (though I know things could have been spelled differently then, so who knows).

And yes! I hear you can share, but when I read about it, there was some mention about only being able to "share" once? Bummer if so.

Maega said...

Haha! You made me laugh. I didn't even think about the kindle when you told me about The Hunger Games, I'll get it from the library ;)
You have me sold on the kindle- now all I have to do is find someone, or the $ to buy one :)