I got back from my vacation to "Hotmanistan" on Saturday (more on that later), and I'm finally getting caught up enough to write a post. Why does it always take at least 2 days to get your bearings after a vacation? Frankly, it's exhausting. OK, here is the information all you bookworms have been waiting for. My review of the Kindle. *drumroll please*
In addition to the Kindle 2 I also ordered a leather cover. When they first arrived and I put the Kindle into the cover, I was surprised by how heavy and cumbersome it felt. I'm happy to report, that using the Kindle in the cover was never a problem. It was easy to hold and felt very natural. Once I started using it, I never gave it another thought.
Considering that I'm not all that tech-savvy and I really learn best from written directions - the fact that the 124 page User's Guide comes installed on the Kindle was a bit daunting at first. It's kind of hard to be reading a guide and trying out the features when the guide is inside the unit. Luckily, the Kindle comes with a hard copy of a quick start guide to get you started. Amazon.com also sends a copy of the User's Guide to your e-mail address. Like a cellphone, the Kindle can do a lot of "stuff". I simply did a quick read through of the User's Guide - focusing on the features I was most interested in. I then printed out (from the copy sent to my email) the few pages I thought I might want to refer to while on vacation. Worked like a charm. I was able to highlight passages and save them for furture reference. And with a little bit of trial and error, I was able to figure out how to retrieve them.
Downloading books directly to the Kindle proved to be easy and convenient - as long as you are in the US. Not being able to donwload books while outside the US is a BIG drawback for me. Being a library user, I'm not in the habit of paying for books. So having to download books before I need them kind of irks me. What if I download too many? Now I've wasted money. Sure I can read them later, but more on that in a minute. And if I don't download enough, I'm sunk. This is a not a deal breaker for me, but something to be aware of. Also, even though downloading is pretty straightforward and there is a last minute opportunity to back out of a purchase, I still managed to buy a book in error. Supposedly, it can be "returned" at amazon.com, but I couldn't figure it out. Rookie mistake. One, I probably won't make again. Two features that I found extremely helpful are the built in dictionary and the fact that the Kindle can hold a charge forever and ever and ever. Seriously!
Now for the most important information.... reading on the Kindle. I'm happy to report it felt very natural. I even found myself reaching to turn the pages the first few times I used it!! Now that's saying something!! Would I choose a Kindle over the real thing? No, I wouldn't. Not because I don't like the Kindle- I do. But because I LOVE books. The way they smell and feel. The crinkle of the the library cover. Being able to read the inside book jacket and the author information in the back. Seeing a photo of the author. Enjoying the cover art (remember Shanghai Girls?) And this is the reason why I'm annoyed I have to download books before leaving the US. If I download too many, I'll feel compelled to read them on the Kindle at home. Not a huge disaster, but not my first choice. So the big question is will I use the Kindle for future vacations? Yes, I most definitely will. It beats lugging 5 or 6 books in my luggage. My suitcase was so stuffed on this trip - I couldn't have fit one book let alone 5 or 6. For me, the Kindle is a wonderful tool with a very specific purpose. I can't imagine it will ever replace books for me. But, I've learned my lesson. Never say never.
By the way, if you are thinking of purchasing a Kindle, I received an email from Amazon.com stating that the Kindle is now on sale for $299! Gee, thanks! Anyway, thought maybe one of you could use this information. And remember, if you want to buy one, click through to Amazon from Terra's blog Tales from the Nightstand. Help a fellow blogger out!