Why I Changed My Mind About Kindle

I love books and the experience of reading them.

I love books and the experience of reading them.

I’m a book person. I trained to become a librarian, and have been a school librarian. I know how to repair books. I know to make books. I love the musty smell of old libraries and used book stores. I have a huge personal library in my home. I have a book opening ritual that opens the spine for maximum flexibility and life. In other words, I’m a book nerd.

So why am I about to purchase a Kindle 2?

How I Backed Into The Kindle

When Amazon announced the Kindle, I was completely non-plussed. An electronic book holder. I already read almost everything in my life off of a screen, why would I want to transfer my books to a screen and give up the tactile experience of reading a book?

Why would I want a portable reading screen? I wouldn’t. So the Kindle came and I ignored it. I would smirk while shopping at Amazon when they listed the Kindle version when I was shopping for a real book. I was a paper book snob, no doubt about it.

Then, in my professional life, I had a client ask me about publishing their content for the Kindle. Now, publishing formats, I’m totally into that. So publishing for the Kindle is interesting to me. I started poking around the Amazon site for more information. It turns out, they don’t make it very easy to understand Kindle publishing. So a bit frustrated, I decided to take it from the other direction. I asked myself “What is it like to use content on the Kindle?” That question opened a big door.

Kindle 2 Guided Tour

I watched this video, simply looking for information about how Kindle displays content, and I came away wanting to buy one.

While I think Amazon doesn’t do a very good job explaining how to publish for the Kindle, they do an amazing job selling the Kindle. When I realized what an amazing tool it is, I knew I had to have one.

Kindle 2 Features

Here’s what appeals most to me about the Kindle 2.

  • The small size and weight are amazing! I can tuck it easily into my purse or overnight bag.
  • Long battery life. The number of gadgets chained to electrical outlets in my house is overwhelming.
  • Huge screen and text size options. Let’s face it, older eyes have more of a challenge reading small print.
  • The ability to shop and download new titles without a download fee. It’s like an iTunes store for books!
  • Mobile shopping. I can shop in the middle of the night, or while on vacation, or while stopped in traffic on the highway!
  • Being able to carry a huge library of books in memory.
  • The online backup of my library. I can redownload my books any time without an additional charge.
  • The ability to write on the pages! I always read with a pen in my hand, so I love that I can use a QWERTY keyboard to make notes as I go.
  • I can email my personal documents for review on the Kindle. This means I can carry around things I need to read/edit while I’m running errands and fit them into the slivers of time I find while waiting.
  • Access to the dictionary and Wikipedia for search. So smart of them to do this!
  • The ability to load audiobooks from my Audible.com account and listen with headphones. I’m enjoying my iPod for this, but it doesn’t hurt to have two ways to listen to my audiobooks.

One feature that surprised me is the ability to have the Kindle read to me. I’ve assumed this uses one of those mechanical voices, and I’m not a fan of them. However, I will give that a try, but it’s not something that I’m excited to use.

My Kindle Strategy

I can’t imagine that I’ll part with a single paper book in my library, and I’ll still add paper books for things best suited to this format (large picture books, for example) and books I plan to keep in my reference library . But now that I have the option to use Kindle for quick reads and things I don’t intend to keep, like bestsellers, a whole new world has opened up for me.

Is there a Kindle in your future? There’s one in mine.

About author:

Charlene is the information strategist behind Crow Information Design.

9 Responses to “Why I Changed My Mind About Kindle”

  1. Brent Logan says:

    Paper and electronic is not necessarily an either-or situation. Nelson Publishers announced today that when you buy a hardback book, you will also get the right to download the audio version and the e-book of the same title. Too cool! You can have your library and carry it with you.

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6641258.html

    Brent Logan’s last blog post..Lawrence Lessig on Change Congress

  2. i totally appreciate your review of the Kindle 2 and can see its utility. Yet, i don’t think i can ever give up my books and hold a small gadget to read. i love the feel of real paper in my hands.

    Warm Regards,

    EP

    Existential Punk’s last blog post..The Third Place Interview

  3. Charlene says:

    Brent: I am excited to join the Kindle herd, and will use it for some of my reading, as you suggest.

    EP: I completely get where you are coming from. The Kindle is a bit of pocket change, but I am going to get one after my next invoice cycle. I’m not giving up on real books. I’m a total notepad and pen gal at heart. Paperless office=nightmare to me.

  4. Wedge says:

    You have to be right to realise that a professional interest in the format is separate perhaps to a personal interest (or lack of).

    The majority of my audience are just getting to grips with PDFs, and don’t generally have the money for expensive gadgets (I’m not talking about my kilobox.net audience). So ebooks in PDF are interesting to me, but not Kindle yet.

    Still, if I become a novel writer, I’d be a fool not to consider the Kindle audience as well as all the book lovers.

  5. I like kindle 2 because it have long battery live.
    .-= Latest Gadget ´s last blog ..Apple IPOD Touch Second Generation =-.

  6. I was in the exact same situation as you before i moved to the kindle. I worried that i was giving up something “tangible” as a book in exchange for something unreal as the kindle. However it was when i planned to travel for 3 months that i moved to the kindle and have never looked back. Yes it’s still true that i buy hardback books but for reference rather than novels for reading. Glad you found changed your mind – i look forwardt to more of your kindle posts!

    • Charlene says:

      I’m looking forward to purchasing my Kindle. And yes, I will keep you posted with my progress as a Kindle owner.

  7. Danny says:

    This is a generational thing for many f us we have grown up with paper and the need to print documents off and hold something physical is compulsion and need it is what we are used to. Habits will only change when technology delivers a better solution. The latest generation do not suffer from these legacy needs, statements, music books, referenece material its all online and rarely printed off. I recently asked my Son at college if he required any text books – he looked at me as though I had asked him to stand on his head!

    • Charlene says:

      It’s hard, Danny. I’m above a certain age. I have one friend with a Kindle, the rest are still book people. I’m doing my best to adapt and keep up with the technology, and let go of what you eloquently called “legacy needs.” I’m trying to experience the world in a new way. Mostly, it’s been fun. It does get scary sometimes.

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