Saturday, June 11, 2011

How I Love My Kindle? Let Me Count the Ways!

I received a Kindle for Valentine's day this year.  Michael had noticed that I was without a fiction book
during my student teaching.  It was difficult to find the time to get to the library.  I was extremely grateful when he presented me with the 3G Kindle.

My very first download was Martha Grimes, Fadeaway Girl.  I was thrilled with the idea not having to visit the library or book store.  Even better was the concept that I could download a sample of the book before purchasing it.

As with any new technology, it a little time for me to get used to using it.  The e-book comes with a slim manual that is helpful for those that may not be technologically inclined.  My biggest mental block with using the Kindle was determining the difference between the "menu" and "home" buttons.

The "home" button is like your startup webpage with an internet browser.  It lists all the content found on your Kindle.  The Kindle lists your newest download to the oldest.  It also indexes any applications that you have purchased for your Kindle.  There are calendars, games and active content available at the Kindle store.  I purchased Scrabble for my Kindle since I can play against the computer and not have to wait for Mike to join me in a game.

The "menu" button changes accordingly to where you are located within your Kindle.  If you are viewing your homepage, the menu will transport you to the Kindle Store or assist you in managing the content on your e-book.  Likewise, if you are within a book or game, the menu button will help you navigate within that content or application.

I have found the Kindle to be an enhancement to my reading life.  I consume three to four books a week, so I enjoy the accessibility to an e-book.  In addition, I have no problem viewing an electronic book.  The Kindle has E Ink Pearl that doesn't strain your eyes and the screen minimizes any glare.   Routinely I have brought my Kindle down to the pool and read in full sun.

Granted there are some drawbacks to the e-book.  Amazon's website claims that you can read your Kindle for one hour a day with the battery lasting one month.  I haven't had that same experience.  It seems that my Kindle needs to be plugged in to recharge about once a week.  I also have had rebooting issues the the e-book.

After laying out the downsides, I still love my Kindle.  Michael recently bought himself an iPad and now routines reads from it.  I took his iPad for a test drive and still  prefer reading from the Kindle.  I believe there is less strain on the eyes with the Kindle and want to avoid using reading glasses for as long as I can.  I need reading glasses for the computer but don't need them for reading books yet.

An extra benefit with the Kindle is using e-books to get children to read more.  Yes it is a sly way to spur children to read but I am having success with Timmy.  Since we are now enjoying summer break, I ask the kids to read in the morning before we go anywhere.  I decided to download a book for Tim on the Kindle.  He enjoyed the whole process:  shopping for a book, transfer samples of books and purchasing an e-book from the Kindle Store.

We ended up buying Stink: Solar System Superhero by Megan McDonald.  Tim loved being able to "wake" the Kindle to read the book.  There is a slide button located at the bottom of the e-book to power up the Kindle.  He also was fascinated with "turning" the pages.  The Kindle has page-turning buttons that are located on either side of the e-book.  Moreover, Tim enjoyed looking at the pictures with the e-book.  The Kindle does a great job displaying any drawings in grayscale.  If the Kindle promotes more summer reading with Tim, I will gladly let him choose another book.

Overall, I am fond of my Kindle considering any imperfections.  Furthermore, I will have even more deep affection with the e-book reader once Amazon and the library work out the kinks with "borrowing" e-books. Currently, Overdrive (my local library's e-book software) is only compatible with PCs, Apple, Androids and Blackberry devices.  Once Overdrive is compatible with Kindle, I will be inseparable with my e-book reader.