Saturday, 5 February 2011

kindle - to excite, stir up or get going

You may remember, I was very lucky to have been gifted a kindle for my birthday a few weeks ago. Now I've had a little while to get used to it, I thought I'd share my thoughts.

Initially, I was a little panicky. It just seemed so alien and foreign to be reading on a device. Where was the soft, papery edges? The feel of damp paper in the bath? Having to put down my mug of hot chocolate to turn the page? For the first few chapters, every couple of sentences I found myself looking at it as a device, a machine, not something to read on. My mum, who got one for Christmas, claims she still does that; but I think being a part of the internet generation probably helps me in that department.

The freedom it gives though is just endless. Being able to have hundreds of books, and the availability to almost endless online (the kindle 2 has a wifi connection, which is great for downloading books direct from Amazon). Usually, the e-book versions are cheaper than their paperback counterparts too, unless of course you're buying second hand. A growing number of authors are beginning to release books for free, as well.

The screen itself is a thing of beauty; gone are the back-lit screens of last year's e-readers, now 'E Ink Pearl Technology' gives a startlingly realistic look of ink on a page. Not simply a vehicle of nostalgia for the printed word, but essential for reading in well-lit areas.

With the eyesight of a mole, one of my favourite features is being able to change the size and weight of the text with ease. Like reading on your side in bed? Each side has double-page controls and you can choose the screen orientation. Enjoy reading in the bath? No problem.

A great little programme for maintaining your library is Calibre, which can convert files from pdfs or other e-reader supported files into kindle-friendly formats, track which books you've read, add covers, blurbs, tags, reviews. Astonishingly, this piece of kit of completely free, and one of the only pieces of software I've ever felt inclined to donate towards.

What's more, I've already read three full length novels since I was given it. I'm not sure it's because it's still a novelty, but simply having books so readily at ease, instead of having to wait in a library queue, wait for the price of a paperback to come down to only half-extortionate on amazon or ebay is making me gobble them up at an astonishing rate.

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