I am now the proud owner of an Amazon Kindle. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting one for a while, and on Thursday, I broke down an ordered one and it arrived yesterday. I paid for it, in part, with the payment from my last story sale, which has a gratifying symmetry to it.
In the past, I’ve had mixed experiences with eReaders, but so far, I really like the Kindle. Reading from it feels like reading a book, as opposed to reading off a screen. I purchased Jack McDevitt’s Polaris, and that is the first book that I am reading on the machine.
But why now? I think there are several reasons:
- Zachary was born on June 12, 2009, which is the day that analog TV signals went bye-bye and broadcast TV is now all digital. Zachary will grow up as a true digital native. Printed books will be a potential luxury for him, while electronic books will likely be de rigeur. Not wanting to be a parental luddite, I thought I should get with the program.
- I have around 1,200 books in my current library. Many of these books make up an important part of a collection (mostly science fiction), but many more of them are books I bought to read, read once, and then they sit there taking up space. Since we are looking to move and I am not looking to add to our encumbrance, the Kindle makes sense as a nice way to buy and read books without taking any additional shelf space (the Kindle 2 can hold about 1,200 books, so I can double my collection size without added weight).
- There is something to be said for the instant gratification of being able to download a book in 60 seconds.
- The price of most of the books is about half of what you’d pay in the store, so it saves money. I’d estimate I’d need to buy 20 books on the Kindle before I’ve paid for the device in the savings from the discounted prices alone.
- I have a number of magazines that accumulate each month and take up more space. It turns out that most (but not all) of these magazines are available on the Kindle and I am looking to see if it is possible to change my subscription from print to Kindle. Over time, I imagine more will become available.
- It’s good for the environment. It uses very little electricity and consumes no trees in the form of paper.
- Sometimes it’s fun just to get a new gadget, you know?
I’ve read the first two chapters of Polaris in hardcover form (from the library). I plan on reading the rest of it on the Kindle. That would make it the first book that I started in paper form and finished on the Kindle. I think that McDevitt’s Seeker will be the first full book that I read on the Kindle.