Life before the Kindle
To me, a book is a precious and valuable source. The smell of the pages, the choice of paper and font face and size; it’s all important. Holding it in your hands and reading it during a commute, in bed and even on the toilet (we all do it)! Cracking the spine and watching it crease a little with every new chapter read and folding back a corner of the page. What is more beautiful than a book? A Kindle was apparently the answer.
Given my love of books I was initially extremely apprehensive about buying a Kindle. Why would I want the beauty of a book destroyed by technology and a screen to read it on? Why would I waste money when I could spend it on 10 – 20 cheap books?
To me the idea of a Kindle was a silly one. I agree with technology up to a point but replacing a perfectly adequate form of text and coding it onto data on a screen seemed beyond what I could fathom and was far too advanced.
Low and behold a year later and I find myself with a kindle beside me. Hypocrite or not, it was one of the best and most used gifts I may ever receive…
So what makes the Kindle such a big seller? Well developed in 2007 by Amazon it is simply an e-book reader used to read publications that are downloadable online using a WiFi connection. Some are free and some have to be paid for using an Amazon account to link up to. The claims and features are as follows:
- Lighter than a paperback at 170grams
- Reads with no glare and is essentially like paper
- Customizable font/rotation
- Holds up to 1400 books
- 1 month battery life
- A store of over 650 000 books online downloadable in under 60 seconds
And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy – consider that you can buy many free books online and there are offers that, exclusive to Kindle, mean you’re paying less for e-books than you would be for a real-life, hard copy.
Kindles are easy to buy. Not only can they be purchased online but they can be bought at certain physical retailers such as PC World and Currys – all of which offer a guarantee that is definitely worth investing in just to cover your back.
Kindles are what you make them. £69 seems quite expensive for something to hold books on but realistically if you store enough books on there and hunt around for cheap deals and exclusives then you’re saving a lot of money that you wouldn’t get in a hard copy. A lot of the classics are free as well so it’s always good to look further than the first page.
Buying is easy as well – it’s linked straight up to your Amazon account so there’s no getting out a card in order to pay for a book and waiting for delivery: it’s instant! Being so lightweight means I can read in bed and not constantly have to lay with the book facing downwards with fear of a heavy object careering at my face.
The Kindle is ideal for students with not much storage space (my primary reason for buying this e-reader) as you can store hundreds of books in one little case. It saves on those that have to commute too. You can also upload your own documents. Been given a 200 page document to read? You can download that to your kindle and read it wherever you want it without the hassle of downloading off of a computer.
Of course there are issues with the Kindle – it’s not perfect and I can’t sing its praise in all areas. Its downsides are:
- Wifi. It’s the only way to download books. No wifi.. no books.
- You lose the traditional factor of books such as the scent, the feel of it in your hand and the fact that – as much as it tries to be like a book (you can’t read this version in the dark etc) it isn’t!
- It’s connected to your Amazon account. I.e you click on ‘buy’ and you’re done meaning, if you go on a frenzy like me, you’re spending lots of money that doesn’t feel ‘real’ if you’re not handling it yourself
- Screen smudges. Of course, we’re all guilty of having a cheeky snack in between reading. I’ve found that my screen is prone to picking up on grease marks and finger prints. Of course this can be combated by a cover but it would be nice that it would’ve been included in the product considering the price.
Considering those are the only negatives – despite the last being slightly pedantic of me – the Kindle is definitely well worth it.. but I’d say only if you’re a specific person. If you can adequately fit lots and lots of books into where you live, you don’t read a fair amount or you find better deals on books than you could on a Kindle then stick to old fashion ink and paper.
Kindle Paperwhite/Paperwhite 3D
The features differing from the regular Kindle include:
- A sharper resolution
- New font faces and sizes
- 1100 books (less than the average Kindle – perhaps pricier doesn’t equal better)
- Letting you know when you’ll finish your chapter
- An illuminated screen
So basically for a better looking screen and to be able to read in the dark you have to pay an extra £100 (give or take). In my mind it’s not worth that considering clip on torches can be purchased for a mere £5 in some retailers.
Kindle Fire/Kindle Fire HD
These extra features include:
- An HD display should you choose this option
- Speakers for surround sound as well as dual-band WiFi
- Access to movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, apps and games
- Web browsing
- A choice of 16GB or 32GB
- A front facing camera for Skype-to-Skype calls
So a glorified tablet in Kindle form. Considering the Kindle was essentially considered to be for reading this in my mind throws that idea out of the window and should be called a different name and branded in another way. Starting at £159.99 this is pretty acceptable for a tablet of its sort and the keypad does add a more integral centrepiece to the Kindle. However, this is not the use I’d want from it and severely relies on WiFi.