I have a new love in my life. It's truly been an unexpected love affair. I thought I couldn't love any more deeply than I already did, but alas, I've fallen hard.
I have a new toy. No, my gift basket hasn't arrived yet. (It has been mailed though so it should be arriving any day now!) I received birthday money from different family members, I added in a little of my own, and I splurged on myself. This is out of the ordinary for me. I usually have a hard time indulging myself. Unexpected birthday money? Let's save it for the kids' Christmas presents or spend it on the house. The last couple years have been tough. I decided I deserved something special just for myself.
I bought a Kindle.
First of all, this is not a paid product endorsement. I promise.
Second, some of you are asking, "What the hell is a Kindle?" Apparently, Oprah recently reviewed the Kindle on her show. Probably a lot of you saw that? I didn't see it because I never, ever, have time to watch TV. Let me give a brief explanation for those readers who are unfamiliar with the Kindle. A Kindle is an electronic reading device invented by Amazon. It is about the size of a paperback book, extremely lightweight (10 ounces I think) and very thin. Here's a picture of PR holding my Kindle sideways.
Amazon came out with the Kindle about a year ago and I've been eyeing them warily ever since.
The Kindle has an "electronic paper" non-glare screen. Non-glare being very important. You can increase your reading font to whatever size you are comfortable with. You can order books and receive them wireless in 60 seconds or less. And no, you do not need to be in a wi-fi zone to do so. The wireless service is the same as that used by cell phones.
You can subscribe to many newspapers (NY Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal … hey, even my local Orange County Register) and they will be delivered to your Kindle overnight on a daily basis no matter where you are. A few blogs and many magazines are also available on Kindle.
OK, here's where I admit that I don't know if the Kindle is available yet outside of the United States. If it's not, I imagine it will be soon.
I love to read. I love bookstores. I love books. I love the smell of books, the feel of books, the touch of them in my hands. Nothing could ever replace that love. For the last year I've tried to ignore all the wonderful features Kindle offers. Now that I have a Kindle, now that I've actually held one in my hands and read that beautiful six inch screen, I'm sorry I waited so long to make the purchase.
I am a voracious reader. When I have time to read I inhale books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs at an amazing rate. I'm constantly donating the books I've read to our local library. I don't think they can believe the number I've dropped off. I feel guilty about the number of trees that have sacrificed their lives to support my reading habit. Kindles are a very "green" product. Which is not to say I won't still read some books in book form. But my Kindle? Sigh … I love it.
There are so many cool things a Kindle does, I can't possibly list them all in one post. Is it expensive? Yes it is, but it will pay for itself in no time. The price has dropped from around $400 to $359. One of my readers told me about the Oprah discount (now expired) and I got mine for $309. Most of the hot bestsellers, however, only cost $9.99 so you save money on your books. (About a $17 saving on each hardcover bestseller and no shipping or wireless costs!) I've downloaded several books so far and only one was nine bucks. (Water For Elephants – oh how I love that book!) The other books I've ordered have ranged from three to six dollars. That's a substantial savings!
Your Kindle can store around 200 books and if you add a memory card when it's full you can probably add another 200 on it. What happens when it's full? You can change your memory card to make more room or delete books. You don't really lose the books you delete though because Amazon keeps every Kindle purchase in a cyberspace library for you and if you want to re-read a book you've deleted you can just download it again (for free). This is also a great safety net in case you ever lose your Kindle.
Why? Why would I love a machine over a book? My Kindle has 190,000 books available right now and that number is growing quickly. If I'm at a baseball tournament with PR and I have a two hour wait between games I can pull it out from my purse and read. If I finish the book I'm reading, with the push of a button I instantly have another to begin. Without going anywhere!
Imagine just for a minute … doctor's waiting rooms (where I've spent an awful lot of time these last two years!), dentist's offices, PT, airports, sitting in the car waiting to pick up your kid at school or activities. The places you can whip that Kindle out of your purse or briefcase to read are endless. It's lightweight enough to transport it around with you easily.
The Kindle comes with a real-life leather book cover that it fits in so you still can have that wonderful sense of holding a book in your hands if you want it.
This is absolutely the ideal gift for anyone who travels. Take one 10 ounce electronic book with you for 3 weeks of travel and never run out of reading material. Well, ideal for anyone except for Briefcase. He loses everything he takes with him traveling … sunglasses (countless!), iPods (three!), books (countless!), anything and everything. It's too bad because otherwise this would be the perfect gift for him.
If you love books, add a Kindle to your wish list. I think you'll love it as much as I do!