Why I love Kindle

Compare Kindles: http://bit.ly/comparekindles 
Compare Kindle Fires: http://bit.ly/comparekindlefire 

A few of my online friends aren't convinced that reading on a plastic device can be enjoyable. I admit that it is different from reading a dead tree book but not, in my opinion, in any negative way. On the contrary, there are many positive differences, and usually once people get to hold one and read on it for a few minutes they understand that. So, while trying to convince them that Kindles can enhance reading and not kill it, I came up with a little list.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

1. The Kindle has expanded my reading habits
For years, I read many of the same types of books: horror and  murder mystery, for example. Since owning a Kindle I have discovered so many authors that I'd never have dreamed of reading, and so many types of books. I have even read some romance novels, and a whole bunch of excellent self published authors that I just wouldn't have found on a store bookshelf.

2. Ease of getting a book
I live an hour from a decent sized bookshop so I used to stock up about once a month. This also meant I limited my reading to what I could get there and then, or within my favorite genres. It was difficult enough to spend 2 hours browsing shelves that I knew, let alone branch out to new areas. I had to predict what books I might want to read in a few weeks, what mood I might be in. Ultimately it meant selecting books that I was in the mood for on that particular shopping day.

Since having a Kindle, I don't need to do that. I can curl up in bed/ sit in the garden/ be on a bus and browse a bookshop in privacy. I can make instant decisions & be reading a new book in moments. I can download a dozen free samples, and decide what book strikes my mood as I sit awake at 3 a.m. with insomnia.

Kindle downloads books one of two ways. All Kindles from generation 3 and up come with wifi, or you have the option to order with 3G. For Fires, you get a data plan for the 3G, for e-inks there is no monthky charge. 

3. Text size and e-ink
Eyesight problems?  Increase the text size!  And with no bright screen to hurt your eyes, e-ink technology makes reading on a Kindle as easy as reading a book.

4. Reviews
Book buying on a Kindle gives you easy and instant access to book reviews. You see, if I am in the library or at the mall, who do I ask? Can I ask 100 people what they thought? Not without annoying everyone!  If I am unsure about spending $10 on a book, I can read reviews about it and decide whether or not it's my cup of tea, and then be reading it just a minute later.

5. New releases delivered overnight
Love this. I don't have to drive to the store or even wait for the mailman!  My pre-ordered book will be on my Kindle when I wake up!

6. Annotations and highlights
I didn't think I would use this but I have made hundreds of book notes. It's so simple to do, so why not?  When I've not understood a storyline or I am taking guesses on whodunnit, I've written little questions to myself that I can come back to later. I might highlight a particular brilliant passage or something funny to share with friends. I can then access those notes and highlights in My Clippings file on my Kindle, on my computer or even online. I can post them to forums or share them in emails.

7. Dictionary look-up (+ wiki)
Quite obviously reading can help to improve your vocabulary. Simply reading new words in context helps broaden your own vocab, of course; but what about those times you still don't understand a word? Do you get up out of bed to look it up? Write a note to yourself to do it later? Walk from the beach to the hotel to check it out? I hardly ever used to.
Now, I just click the word and at the bottom of the screen the definition is displayed. Need more information about a word?  Click enter to see a more complete definition, then click Back again to get back to your reading page. More info for dictionary

8. Text to Speech 
This is on kindles with speakers. Not the loveliest reading voice in the world, but unless a publisher has blocked this feature on a book, your Kindle can read to you. I love this at the weekends, especially when I have a book that is a real page turner. The laundry still needs to be done, the kids need feeding and weeds need to be pulled. No problem at all. TTS lets the book read to me as I fold, cook and weed.

9. TTS for auto-turn and hands-free reading
Turn down the volume, turn on TTS and let the pages turn for you while you stroke the cat with one hand and drink wine with the other. You can even alter the speed of page turning.

10. Audio books
If you like regular audio books, you can download them from Audible.com and listen to them on your kindle. In fact, you can also download any MP3 and listen while you read.

11. Pricing
I think most of us with a Kindle bought it for many of the other wonderful features. But over 95% of kindle editions are under 9.99, 20% are under $3 and at any given time there are hundreds of free books given away in author promos. That's not including the 20,000 free public domain books. 

12. Self publishing
Amazon allows authors to self publish. Now, that can mean there's a lot of drivel out there (that's where reviews come in handy). But there are also some great self-published authors and Kindle offers them up to us. In fact, some gets deals from it! Last year, Boyd Morrison was an unpublished author. He wrote 3 books and put them up for Kindle at $1 each. I bought them and loved them! Later that year he was in contract. His first hardcover is coming out soon: The Ark

13. Blogs and magazines
Get blogs and magazines delivered to your Kindle. I read 5 blogs on my Kindle, as well as Readers Digest ($1.25 per month) and TIME ($2.99 per month).

14. Privacy
Don't want anyone to see you read that slushy romance, controversial political book or "How to Save Your Marriage" self-help book? No problem! You can read in the dentist's waiting room and no-one will know what you are reading.

15. Book sharing with family and trusted friends
Kindle now has a book lending feature, so you can share your Kindle-bought books with others. Of course, if you bought your eBook elsewhere you can probably share the file from computer to computer & onto Kindle via USB. But the Kindle store ebooks are a little more limited, and depend on the publishers agreement. It's very similar to the B&N Nook book lending rules.

i) You can lend your ebook one time only to one person only.
ii) They can borrow it for exactly 14 days. They must read it within that time. During that time, it is removed from your Kindle put onto theirs and at the 14 day mark returned to you automatically. It can never be loaned again.

Alernative book sharing... unless a publisher restricts this, you can download the book onto any device with a kindle app that is registered to your account: Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, PC, Mac or other Kindles. For most publishers, you can download to 6 devices at any given time but sometimes it's unlimited. That means if you trust someone to share an Amazon account with you - even for a short time - they can share your ebooks. Works well in families, or if you don't mind lending a friend one of your devices. 

16. Carrying my library 
Wherever I go, I can have hundreds of books with me. That Complete Works of Rudyard Kipling with 500 pieces to it? Weighs just 10 ounces. Want to add all of Jane Austen's books and the Brontes' too? Throw it in. And Stephen King's 50 or so books with a few 5 pounders like The Stand?  Yep, get it all in my bag.  No need to haul out the bookcase & strap it to the roof of the car; I can get it all in my purse.

You see, the Kindle isn't just a hard plastic case, cold and unloving. It's a whole personalized and portable library. And it can look and feel however I want it. I can add a leather cover and it feels sumptuous and rich. I can add a modern gel skin or decal and make it colorful and trendy. I can make it mine, so it looks and feels how I want it to look and feel.  It is, without question, the best inanimate object that I own.

I've probably missed a few other benefits as well. If you have an e-book reader, what's your favorite thing about it?

Compare Kindles: http://bit.ly/comparekindles
Compare Kindle Fires: http://bit.ly/comparekindlefire