I’ve had my Amazon Kindle for a month now. I first posted about it here, and now I want to tell you what I think after a month of using the much touted (even by Oprah Winfrey) electronic reading device.
First, the good things about the Kindle:
+ Because I am purchasing e-books on the Kindle, my physical stack of books waiting to be read has not grown (but my electronic, invisible stack has). This is good because Thoughtful Husband has no idea how large the TBR (to-be-read) stack is actually getting. He can’t roll his eyes, sigh resignedly, and say, “Another book?” because he can’t see that I have indeed gone out and bought another book (several of them actually). Those new books are all stored in the unobtrusive Kindle. Tee hee. 🙂
+ I have subscribed to my favorite blogs in Google Reader and I can log onto that from the Kindle. Thanks to the Kindle, I can now read blogs anywhere at any time, and am not chained to my computer to do so. For short, digestible e-content, the Kindle has a good format.
+ I can read only the sections of the newspaper that I like to read. No longer do I feel wasteful as I throw the Sports section on my living room floor, unopened and unread.
+ For $9.99, I can buy a book for the Kindle I’m not sure I want to own forever in hardcover. That usually saves about $15 dollars per book. If I read it on the Kindle and really enjoy it, as with Richard Fortey’s Dry Storeroom No. 1, I can then go buy the physical book.
+ I can read a sample of a book I’m not sure I want to buy. Amazon will send to the Kindle a few pages of a book for no charge. It’s akin to (but not the same as) being able to flip through a book in the bookstore for a sample of content before purchasing.
+By carrying the compact Kindle in my purse, I can choose to read from many sources. I no longer have to carry a heavy book bag when I travel (not that I travel much, anyway).
Now for the downside:
+ Many of the books I want for the Kindle are not available in the Kindle store on Amazon. If I want to read a bestseller, it’s always available on the Kindle. But if I want an older book, a bibliography or reference book, or a cookbook, it’s generally not available. I read some bestsellers, but that’s not usually the type of book I buy.
+ I wish the Kindle navigated the internet better. I know it’s not meant to be an iPhone, but I keep comparing it to the iPhone in my head. I would love to be able to send email from my Kindle and to download and listen to music as well. (There is a feature for MP3 files, but it’s “experimental” — read: doesn’t work intuitively.)
+ I wish the screen was backlit so I could read it in the dark. That said, the screen, while not backlit, looks remarkably like a printed page.
And now for the worst thing about the Kindle:
+ I have developed a new form of anxiety — TBR (to-be-read) Anxiety. This is not Amazon’s fault; it’s mine. I just can’t keep up with everything I want to read. There are so many worlds yet unexplored in books that I have not yet read, print or electronic. I now have so much to read I am foundering in a sea of print much as a tall ship in the doldrums. I feel overwhelmed. This is not how my books, which sit on a shelf or table until I have time make me feel. When I turn on the Kindle and see seven books and many days worth of a newspaper to read, I feel an acute sense of anxiety. I realize this anxiety may be the sole domain of the already sick bibliomane. 😉
Here’s are pictures of my TBR stack(s):
Those are just the actual books I have to read. I currently have about seven books in the Kindle and get daily electronic delivery of The Wall Street Journal. It’s starting to (electronically) pile up. I start wondering when I will ever finish reading all of this information. I begin to despair. I’ve decided to name this feeling TBR Anxiety.
What’s the cure for this disorder?
The books I gather for re-sale do not need to be read; they just need to be sold. Hence, they are shelved in an orderly and organized way. I feel much better when I open my armoire of double-shelved books and see neat, orderly rows that will eventually go into someone else’s TBR pile.
I feel better now.
Some things Amazon might consider:
+ Add cookbooks to your Kindle store. I would love to look up a recipe and take the grocery list right from the Kindle screen when I am out and on-the-go. It would very much help with last-minute menu planning.
+ Add reference books and obscure bibliographies. If I could access such books when I am about to purchase an old book at a library or estate sale or book fair, it would sometimes save me from making a mistake.
+ Add a color screen. I know that the plain, non-backlit Kindle screen is supposed to be easier on the eyes, but I’d rather see the color screen. Quit trying to be a book and become a new format for delivering text to the reader.
That’s all for now. I like my Kindle, but I really don’t think that its current incarnation is going to be the Killer App that puts the codex out of commission.
For more thoughts on the Kindle, check out the fellows at Book Patrol.
See you in the stacks!
I’ll update on the Kindle again in another month or so.