This post was originally published on February 8, 2012 on The Fifteen Minute Writer blog. This current version has been revised and expanded a bit, so enjoy.
I was reluctant to buy an eReader. I love books. I love the smell, the rasp of turning pages, looking at the colors and sizes of them on my bookshelves. I’ve surrounded myself with books as long as I can remember. Going to an electronic device that would replace the physical presence of books was inconceivable to me.
I had a plethora of reasons not to convert.
Before… the displays were hard to read unless you had a specific quality of light, or if it was too bright, you couldn’t use it.
Furthermore, I am clumsy. If I drop a tree-based book, there’s no harm done. If I get the book wet, it is annoying, but you could always dry it out. If you lose a book, it is an inconvenience and at worst, you are stuck with the cost of replacing the book, not out $100 + dollars to replace an eReader.
But the $150 price tag for a Kindle Fire was too hard for me to resist.
I bought one on release day as a birthday present to myself. It seemed like a low-risk way to give eReaders a try and start getting in touch with one of the hottest literary trends out there now: eBooks. And I am surprised to say that I like my Kindle Fire. I like it a lot. So what do I like about it?
- Highlighting and Note Taking – For books in my personal collection, I’ve always had this obsessive need to keep them neat and unmarked. With the Kindle’s feature that allows you to take notes and highlight passages, this becomes an easy way to track important info or review your thoughts as you read through a book.
- Games – A guaranteed time waster for a writer, but I LOVE playing Words with Friends on my Kindle.
- Internet Browsing – This is pretty smooth for a portable device despite the difficulty of entering text quickly into the search or address windows.
- Netflix – With a decent wireless connection, video content is easily watchable and fun.
- Free Apps – Every day Amazon features a new application that you can download for free. Most of the offerings are free games, but some of them have been very nice commercial applications (such as Documents-to-Go). It is fun waking up each morning to see what the free app of the day is.
- Free Books – This has to be (by far) the best thing about the Kindle Fire. Every day, Amazon (in cooperation with the authors and publishers) has literary classics available for downloading as well as a selected list of eBook versions of popular books, and many eBook only offerings. These selected titles may only be free for a couple of hour, days, or somewhat longer, but there is always a variety of free books for any reading interest. Every day Kindle lists the Top 100 Free Books, but there are ways to find the best free books in different book categories. I obsessively check these several times a day. I’ve downloaded over 500 free books so far (on average about 5 books a day) and have been happy with the quality and value of the information in most of them so far (I will continue to post relevant reviews for these books).
So the Kindle Fire seems to have slipped away from being an extravagant luxury to essential equipment that MUST be with me at all times. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the feel of rustling pages and the smell of newly printed books, but I LOVE being able to bring an entire library with me to the Jiffy Lube and select any book from the 500 or so loaded on my Kindle Fire, and not having to read the paperback that I might not be in the mood to read at the moment.