Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reading with a Kindle

I love to read, too much sometimes.  I can get so involved in a good book that the world around me almost ceases to exist.  Every since the fourth grade I have enjoyed burying myself in the world of books.  I also tend to be somewhat of a collector.  And as a consequence I have many bookshelves overflowing with books that I have read one or more times, along with some that I hope someday to read.  It's getting to the point that I have no place to put any more books.

Sometime in the past couple of years I decided to give the Kindle a try.  I was a bit apprehensive about it because I don't really like reading all that much on a computer screen, but all I had read indicated that the Kindle would be different, that it would be almost like reading a real book.  So I took the plunge and now, some 50 books later, I am sold on it.

The Kindle is very easy on the eyes, allowing me to read for hours without eye strain.  It is also, with the optional cover, about the size of a thin paperback book, making it very easy to hold or drop onto my lap.  And, unlike a book, I have yet to have it fall out of my hand and close up on me when I nod off.  My Kindle is very easy to use so long as it is just to sit down and read a book from cover to cover.  I would be hard pressed to improve on it much for that purpose.  I really do love using my Kindle for just reading.

Battery life is good on the Kindle, only having to recharge every couple of weeks during periods of heavy reading.  Of course that is with the wireless networking turned off except to download new books.  The Kindle software is available for, and installed on, my phone and is also available for my laptop, although I haven't used it there.  If I was willing to leave the wireless on the Kindle it would periodically sync up to the big Amazon 'Cloud ' to keep track of where I was in the book.  That would allow me to shift between multiple devices and have them all open to the same place in the book.

Storage for my library is also substantially reduced now.  I have read at least one shelf full of books in the past couple of years, and they all fit comfortably on my Kindle.  The whole library is with me wherever I go. And they are all also available wherever I have the Kindle software installed.  The only real downside is the difficulty in sharing a book with a friend; that is something that is still being worked out.

The only real issue I have with the Kindle is that it is difficult to flip back and forth between multiple places like you can with a real book.  I'm sure it would be easier if I worked at it hard enough, but I gave up on that pretty quickly.  If I am going to be reading something that requires anything other than cover to cover sequential reading, I will pull out a real book.

The Bible is the one that I do this with most.  I will hardly ever start at Genesis 1:1 and read straight through to the end of Revelation.  Instead I bounce around a lot and compare multiple passages together.  And that is just not convenient with a Kindle.  So, although I have a Bible on my Kindle, I seldom use it there.

There is a new version of the Kindle out now; the Kindle Fire.  The Fire has a touch screen interface which may improve navigation, as well as the ability to connect to Facebook, the web, email, and stream music and video; in addition to reading books.  I resisted as long as I could (almost 2 months), but finally have bought a Fire and opened the box yesterday.  I will be running it through its paces and will let you know later what I think of it.  But the initial impression is favorable.

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