I Think I Might Need a Kindle. Please Talk Me Out of This.

I Think I Might Need a Kindle. Please Talk Me Out of This.

by Kerry Scott on 1 June 2010

Because I like to keep up with the Joneses (or whoever the blogosphere equivalent of the Joneses might be), this blog is now available on Kindle.  That means you can pay a small subscription fee and get my scintillating posts (and all of my other posts too) delivered directly to your Kindle.  I’m not actually convinced anyone is reading blogs on a Kindle, but if you are, go here.  Otherwise you can just keep reading this on your computer for free.

The process of setting all of this up has had an unfortunate side effect:  I want a Kindle now.  This is awkward, because I’ve been rolling my eyes when anyone mentioned them since they came out.  I’ve poo-pooed the idea of giving up books for an electronic device.  I love books.  I’ve always loved them.  I love their paper-ness and their weight and their pages that you have to turn manually.  How could I cheat on books?  And do I need another electronic device?

And yet…I want it.  I found out that you can put all your PDFs on your Kindle.  That would be awesome for me, because I have lots of PDFs.  I could take the manual for my new camera with me on vacation, which is good, because I don’t know how to use it (and did you know they’re not even printing the manuals for stuff anymore?  All I got was a PDF.  Harumph.).  Then I found out that Evidence Explained, which is the one book you cannot live without if you do genealogical research, is also available as a PDF.  I use it constantly, and it’s too heavy to take with me when I do research.  Then I remembered that we have a vacation coming up, and it would be nice not to have to lug my books along with the luggage, the portable toddler bed, the actual toddler, the pool toys, the regular toys, etc.  Then I found out you can check email on a Kindle (can anyone verify this?).

And now I want it.  Forgive me, books.

So tell me.  Do you have a Kindle?  Do you like it?  Do you use it as much as you thought you would?  Can you please tell me it sucks so I can go back to being judgmental of people who only read on little screens?

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

akaBruno June 1, 2010 at 10:07 am

Having just returned from a two week trip to Europe, I can tell you that having a Kindle was much more convenient for the long plane rides and available time then lugging around 7 or 8 soft- and hardcover books (which is the amount I read)

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Lisa Ellam June 1, 2010 at 10:10 am

My bookclub has been debating this same issue. Some of us love our books and like the idea of sticking notes on the pages we want to refer back to. Some of us love our Kindle’s and wouldn’t go back to reading any other way. So, the bottom line is, I can’t help you! After listening to both sides of the debate…..I want a Kindle too!
Lisa

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Ben Eubanks June 1, 2010 at 10:14 am

I have a Sony Reader (pocket edition). Love it. Thought I’d never leave real books, and I haven’t, but sometimes it’s easier for me to grab this little sucker and take it along rather than grabbing a larger book that’s not as easy to tote around (I like big hardbacks).

Kindle’s not the only eReader out there, so make sure you check the different options before settling. :-)

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Ask a Manager June 1, 2010 at 10:47 am

This is well-timed! I got mine on Saturday and, after an initial burst of excitement, have been having doubts.

Like you, I love books in their physical form. And I love owning them — actually seeing them on my bookshelves. So I’m worried that this will end up being another gadget that just sits around unused, aside from when I travel.

I downloaded a bunch of free books on to it (most of the classics are free), but I’m hesitant to download anything I have to pay for (most things) because if I end up loving the book, I’ll want to own it in paper form — which means I’ll then be buying it twice.

I’m seriously considering returning it, solely for this reason.

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Ask a Manager June 1, 2010 at 10:49 am

Oh, and yes, you can check email. You can use basic sites that are heavily text-based, like google or wikipedia. Gmail works, but it takes longer than the “real” version and is a bit clunkier. But it works.

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Susan Tiner June 1, 2010 at 11:53 am

I say go forth and embrace all things digital! I don’t have a kindle, but covet one. However, we just blew some bucks hosting a home recital for our favorite mezzo-soprano, so the kindle will have to wait. I do however have an iPod Touch and happily use it to read PDFs on airplanes, waiting rooms, etc. and sometimes even at home when I don’t feel like holding a heavy book (am reading a lot of tech specs). On a recent trip I loaded the iPod Touch with PDF articles, google maps, hotel reservations, etc. so I didn’t have to print a load of paper to pack and carry. I also loaded a movies and books, and my daughter and I enjoyed checking our email everywhere wi-fi was available. We even found ourselves saving up google searches for the next time we could get wi-fi when it wasn’t available.

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Sara G June 1, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I don’t have a kindle, but I have tried e-books. Instead of reading them on the screen, I printed it out. Went through a lot of ink and paper. I just couldn’t stand them. Like you, I love the physical book. It will never change. It’s just what I prefer. Yet I am for anything that makes people more interested in reading books, as long as they don’t push those of us out that aren’t into the new technology. Even if you get a kindle, it doesn’t mean that you can’t buy regular books anymore. But if it is convenient for you in other ways, such as for the PDF and the genealogy book that is too heavy to take with you, you might as well try it.
I don’t have those issues as of yet, so until they basically force us to buy one, I probably won’t. Just not my thing.

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Deli Kate June 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I have a Kindle and wish I read it more, but it’s not because it’s digital that I don’t. It’s because I have the attention span of a fly. :) I do love mine… I read faster and for longer periods of time on it, particularly in bed because the “book” is light and not awkward. (It doesn’t have a light so if you want to read in the dark next to a sleeping hubby, you should order a little attachable one with it.) On my iPhone, I have a Kindle app that syncs remotely to my Kindle so that when I’m out for dinner solo or waiting or a movie to start, I have my “book” with me for reading at any moment. This feature, I have enjoyed!

I found the web browser aspects too slow, again my attention span is probably more to blame.

I say get one… or sell your Touch and get an iPad which allows you to do EVERYTHING you need. Plus the reader on the iPad has a cute page-turning feature you’d enjoy. :)

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Dani June 1, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I have been trying to decide whether I want a Kindle for quite a while now. So far I’ve opted against it. I mean, it’d sure be nice to take my entire library with me whereever I go, and not to have to lugg 10 boxes of books around every time I move (about once a year). BUT…I love to share books with my friends and that is just not possible on Kindle…as far as I know, you cannot “lend” an ebook to anyone. Like AAM, I would end up with all my favorites in print and Kindle versions – what a waste of money. Plus, I love to read in the bathtub – since I have already drowned two cell phones (not in the bathtub, but still) I don’t think I want to try that with a Kindle.

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Antropologa June 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm

My mom LOVES her Kindle and is always trying to convince me to get one. But I mostly just use the library and I like it when things are free, so. Lots of the books on the Kindle seem pretty expensive for me, considering you are not getting a physical object.

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Sally June 1, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I owned one of the early e-book readers (The franklin rocketbook) several years ago.
My electronic reading evolved from there to a Tablet PC and now to a netbook.

You can use mobipocket reader software on the netbook to read many of the e-books, and can also get a PC version of the kindle software to read kindle format books on the netbook.

I would never give up hard copy books, but find reading on the subway to work well with the e-book and I like the flexibility of having several books with me at once.

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Jael June 1, 2010 at 8:48 pm

I’m a reader. I don’t care about the form factor. I’ll read the back of a cereal box if there’s nothing else available.

I’ve had a Kindle (original version) for about 20 months now. If it quits on me, I’ll have a replacement ordered as soon as I can get to a web browser. It’s my library in a portable package that fits in my purse, and it doesn’t gather dust or take up space.

Re the poster upthread who mentioned the convenience of the Kindle app on the iPhone/BlackBerry/Android-to-come, I love that, too. When I’m stuck somewhere waiting unexpectedly, I can just pick up reading where I left off on the Kindle, and when I’m back with my Kindle, I pick back up where I left off on the iPhone. So far, the syncing has worked flawlessly.

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EAST June 1, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Maybe the issue is now non existent, but my husband got the Sony because of the copyright restrictions on other E Readers. He’s able to take a paper he or a colleague is preparing for publication and create a pdf, load it to the e reader and proofread. If he were to have bought the Kindle he would have to email the paper to Amazon (pre-publication) and have them convert it for a fee. They would then own the rights to his paper. We weren’t sure if that would work when the paper is published in a journal at a later date, so we went for the simpler option and bought the Sony. He’s very happy with it (does have the first model though) and brings it everywhere. We’re really happy with the fact that you can get books for free (Gutenberg Project and others) or purchase a book for the same price or less as the print.

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Michelle Goodrum June 2, 2010 at 1:17 am

I’m like you. I love REAL books. I also have a Kindle and I LOVE it too. I guess they both have their uses. I prefer bringing my Kindle along when travelling because it’s easier and lighter than real books. Plus if you finish a book you can get a new one for your Kindle right then and there. It also has automatic shutoff and knows what page I was on, for when I fall asleep in bed reading.

That said, when husband decided he wanted to read some of the books I had read – well that was a problem. He doesn’t do Kindles. He only does real books.

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Tavers June 2, 2010 at 1:31 am

I love my Kindle. I love my library and my books as much as ever, and am sure I don’t read on paper notably less now, just that I also read the Kindle. It does travel extremely well, and I have used it for email and a bit of Internet (slow but free) even in Europe recently, which was a nice bonus. It does PDFs as you mention, and I have used it a good bit with them, but if having EE on the Kindle is a big attraction for you, you might hold off, at least until you’ve tried it. The Kindle is really very good at reading a document from end to end, but I don’t think it works as well for reference use, especially in PDFs (some of the navigation aids that work in ebooks aren’t available in PDFs – usually PDFs are fairly short, so it’s not a problem, but EE…). But that’s the only downside that comes to mind. I use mine all the time, mostly for free ebooks and PDFs, but I have also bought books for it.

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Kerry June 2, 2010 at 8:32 am

I won’t talk you out of it — I have one and I LOVE it.

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Heather Wilkinson Rojo June 2, 2010 at 10:12 am

I don’t own any of these devices, but yesterday I sat at the car dealers for two hours next to a woman with a new iPad. She was reading a book on it. My curiosity got the better of me, so we started to talk. She could get the internet on it, and pulled up my blog for FREE, no subscription necessary! That sold me right there. Then she checked her email and other cool things and I was totally hooked. I know that iPad doesn’t have as many books yet as the Kindle and others, but they didn’t have a lot of books to offer either when they were brand new.

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Marian June 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I was another one that never thought I would get a Kindle. I love books. Love to hold a book in my hands and turn the pages. Love to flip right to the back and read the ending (whoops! did I say that out loud??). And I didn’t want to spend the money, quite frankly. But then someone showed me a Kindle and I held it. It had a little case so it really felt like holding a book. And I could still skip to the end, although some were harder to do that with than others. So I got one. And I love it! I love having many books on my Kindle, which cost less than when I bought the actual book. I like feeling like I’m a little “greener” by not buying a paper-filled book. And I loved it when I went to Europe for 2 weeks and didn’t have to lug around a ton of books.

So go for it, Kerry! You’ll LOVE it!

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ABDPBT June 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm

I think you know that I have a Kindle and love it. My husband recently got one and he actually does read blogs on it. I probably would, too, but for the fact that I’m too cheap to pay for blogs to read. If I travelled more often, I might, though.

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Tim G June 3, 2010 at 10:27 pm

I am a very satisfied Kindle owner. I have read a lot more since I got it, in part because when I travel it is always with me and I can choose from a wide variety of what to read. I can be in the middle of several books without having the stack on the end table.
The next software release is supposed to be soon, and will have features that include (or rumored to include anyway) pdf magnification, which will help quite a bit. While you can change font size on most books, pdf’s don’t work that way. And I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think you can search a pdf file on a Kindle. So your favorite reference book might not be so useful.
iPad and all those idevices have Kindle apps, and so you can use Amazon, not just the apple ibook store. There are many debates about backlit vs e-ink, and I have to say I can read the kindle for several hours in good light and it is very good. And it is absolutely great for reading in bright environments. Took mine to the beach in Destin last month and it was great.

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Kerry June 5, 2010 at 8:58 am

Wow, you folks are awesome (although not at talking me out of stuff).

I did end up buying it this week. I love it. LOVE IT. The screen is just amazing—it really is like ink on paper. I did not expect it to be that easy on my eyes.

Plus, you can download children’s books, which is helpful in a way I didn’t anticipate. My oldest has what is almost certainly strep throat, and we’re about to go to the urgent care. She is beyond excited about getting to hear a story from my new “super duper computer.”

(Oh, and an iPad is not happening. I’m pretty sure those are not priced for people who stopped getting a real paycheck two years ago.)

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Mneiae June 9, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I’m glad that you enjoy the Kindle. I hope that you took a quick walk through its features, including taking notes, bookmarking, listening to MP3s, text-to-speech, etc. Gmail is clunky, but you will now have free wireless wherever you go.

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Dianne February 26, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I recently bought the newest Cruz tablet from QVC…why? First, because it was $187 with free shipping and using my debit card, will be deducted in easy payments over six months time. I don’t mean to plug qvc, but it was financially more affordable for me this way. Second, it does everything that the more expensive readers/tablets do at a lower price point. Now, all I need to do is learn how to use it after I figure out how to hook up the wireless router I had to buy to get wi-fi out here in the countryside. I’m looking forward to having all my desktop genealogy stuff on hand when I go to the library ’cause I STILL love real books, pens and paper!

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