Sunday, February 26, 2012

Favorite gift: Kindle

Photo via you + me ... who used it to illustrate exactly why she wouldn't be buying a Kindle

I included a Kindle as one of my travel necessities in my most recent Friday's Fancies creation. In that post, I promised you a longer explanation to justify my newfound love of the e-reader, and here it is:
I never wanted a Kindle. I loved the feeling of actual pages between my fingers. I was a real reader; I enjoyed the experience of reading. There was no way I could enjoy a story as much on a screen! There is no smell of new pages! There is no leafing through tattered volumes in the library or a used bookstore! There is no opening your favorite book and having it fall open to your favorite spread because you've referenced a specific quote so many times!

Well, I hope that obnoxious use of italics was able to convey how snobbish I was about e-readers. Then, with college graduation approaching, I realized I had no idea what I was doing with my life. If I couldn't find a job, my plan was to do some solo traveling through Europe. I am one of those people who always has three books in my carry-on and another in my suitcase - just in case! - when I travel. If I were going to be traveling for a prolonged period of time, I didn't want to have to worry about transporting books, figuring out where to leave them once I finished and (most importantly) obtaining new books during my travels. So, I asked for a Kindle with 3G for Christmas, and I got one.

Source: via Phil on Pinterest

Let me just say that I love it! I was so wrong about the experience of reading on a Kindle. It actually allows me to get more into the story, if possible, because the design is so sleek and forgettable. I'm so completely taken in with the words on the (non-backlit) screen that I almost feel like it's a better way to lose yourself in a story. I don't have to worry about pages getting stuck or balancing thick books with one hand while trying to drink coffee or something with the other hand. Instead, it's just me and those beautiful words, and a tiny bit of pressure from my thumb is all I need to turn the page. (Note: For these reasons, I would recommend not getting a device with a backlit screen — e.g. Nook, Kindle Fire, iPad — if you plan on using it primarily for reading. The E Ink display on my Kindle Keyboard helps me forget it's an e-reader.)

  • The ease with which I can read the Kindle one-handed is one of my favorite things. It means I can enjoy my book with only one arm out of my blankets instead of having to slide my other arm out every time I need to turn the page. (And I don't need one of these ... though I did get one for Christmas a few years ago!)
  • I can look up any word in anything I read on my Kindle by simply hovering over it with the cursor! (See above photo, left.) It's amazing. You can also mark favorite passages and take notes with the keyboard. I don't take notes, but I do like to mark down my favorite quotes.
  • The Kindle is a wonderful size. (See above photo, right.) I use a small shoulder bag when I run errands, and the Kindle slides in perfectly behind my wallet and phone. It's easy to never be without a book when it fits anywhere! I remember the day I realized my Kindle actually fit in the pocket of my sweatpants; that was awesome. Now I just need to get a skin and/or cover to protect the screen ... good thing my birthday is coming up! (If only Society6 made Kindle skins. That would be heaven.)
  • The battery life is amazing. I keep the Wi-Fi turned off when I'm not perusing the Amazon store, and I only have to charge it every few weeks. I haven't experimented yet to see exactly how long I can read it before it needs a recharge, but I read at least three full novels over winter break without it needing a boost of energy.
  • As mentioned above, obtaining new books (and storing read ones) while traveling is super easy, especially with the 3G. I haven't been able to travel much lately, but I often envision this scene:

Image via C'est Christine (another blogger/traveler who now admits her love for her Kindle after initial doubts)

Cons: Now, don't think I can convert that easily. I love my Kindle, yes, but there are a few negatives I must point out if this post is going to be completely accurate.
  • One of the things I love about my Kindle is the convenience it provides for travelers. However, it's an electronic device ... which means I can't read it during take-off and landing! Grr. I didn't even think about the "e" part of e-reader the first time I flew with my Kindle, until the flight attendant kindly asked me to turn it off during her pass down the aisle. So disappointing.
  • It's not easy to flip back and forth between pages. I'm the type of reader who's constantly flipping back to earlier chapters to confirm, "Yes, that is what he said!" or (more often) "Oops, factual error/inconsistency! Why didn't the editor catch that?"
But in the end, the pros outweigh the cons! I still use my library card often and trade old-fashioned paperbacks with friends, so I haven't lost the physical pleasures of reading a "real" book whenever I want. It does make me a little sad that I will never have amazing bookshelves like these, but sometimes form must follow function.

So tell me, do you have a Kindle? Are you considering getting one (or another type of e-reader)? Or have you made the unbreakable vow to never give up paper pages for a screen?

P.S. - Sorry for the lengthy post, but I really wanted to get it all out there.


Julie Summerlin said...

I like my kindle too, but the not being able to flip back and forth thing really bothers me. A lot. I also wish that it would show how many pages you have left to read as opposed to what percentage of the book you have left. (Yours might do that. I think I have an older version than you.)

Patty said...

If it makes you feel better, alot of those home libraries that are HUGE are just stocked by the decorator and not actually read. Sad...

Megan said...

Argh I know! We are the same person. :)

My Kindle only shows pages left if you hit "Menu" while reading. Then at the bottom, right above the progress bar, it will say "Page X of Y." Try it and let me know!

Megan said...

True. Mine would actually be read though! ... Well, if I hadn't donated 3,284 books to the library before you moved. :)

Lindsay Cochrum said...

I've never wanted an e-reader, but this post is kind of making me want to consider it. I was trying to figure out how to get books to Oregon when I move there for 2 months this summer without weighing down my bags, and this would solve that problem...

Megan said...

Yes it would! DO IT! :)

Meghan said...

You really have made some awesome points, Megan. I didn't even think about the "one-handed" convenience! I did try reading with an iPad on our recent trip to Hawaii, and I admit it was convenient on the plane, but I struggled with it at the beach/pool/etc. due to glare. Then again, that could have been due to user error:) Thanks for sharing this post!