I bought a Kindle last week. It took me a long time to actually do it, but after spending quite a bit of time debating the pros and cons, I went for it. A few things that sold me on it.
- Traveling - A few weeks ago I traveled for work and didn't want to check a bag, by the time I had my carry-on and personal item(laptop bag) packed I had no room for a book. I also find myself bringing two books everywhere when I traveled since I was usually half done with one before I left. That's a lot of extra weight.
- Project Gutenberg and other free services - There are a lot of classics you can read for free. I tried reading them on my iPhone and on my computer, neither felt right.
- I could get my Instapaper articles on it. This was what pushed me over the top. I push a lot of web articles to Instapaper. The ability to read these while sitting at a coffee shop or on my couch sounded amazing.
Now that I have it, all those items from above were proven correct. Here are a few things that surprised me.
- I don't miss the tactile feel of books at all
- Reading in bed is 99% easier on the Kindle. You can position yourself however you want and not worry about losing control of the pages and having to find your place again.
- Breakfast with the Kindle is amazing. Since you don't have to hold it open, you can read with both hands free.
- Even though I have a dozen books and articles waiting for me, the lack of any sort of status bar means I forget I have the option to back out and start something new. I was sort of worried my lack of attention span would be affected by those books being a few clicks away.
- I feel like I read faster on the Kindle. I'm not sure if this is true, but it feels that way.
There are a few things I don't like. The organization of your books on the device isn't my cup of tea. I want folders and as far as I can tell you can't have them. The transition between pages is always distracting the first three or four times every time I pick it up. Finally, the eBook format makes it easy for authors to self publish, which is obviously great, but has a downside. I bought two books for a few bucks each that were highly rated on Amazon and they were not very good. This surprised me. I'm going to have to be a little more selective with my purchases going forward.
One last complaint. I don't like the fact I can't purchase my books from a local book store. I want to support my local businesses, but this device makes that tough. I would like to see publishers go the way of the music companies and offer electronic editions of their books alongside the print editions. It would be great if I could buy a book I know I'm going to love, get the print edition that I can loan to a friend, an electronic edition I can take with me anywhere, and also support my local bookstore. I think a few publishers do this, but I'd like to see it become an industry standard.
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy my Kindle. I've had it for less than a full week and I already consider it an essential gadget. Anyone who argues that they will never give up books for an eReader has never tried one. The convenience factor is amazingly high.