I like to read.  I read a lot, just about everyday for a minimum of a half hour, most of the time, much more.  If you were to come into my cozy little flat the first thing you would probably notice would be the large amount of books me and my wife have amassed.  We got ourselves a nice little collection overflowing our bookshelf.  Last year my sister and her boyfriend came out to Italy to visit us and noticed the wall of literature and upon returning to America they suggested to my mom that a Kindle would be a great gift for us for Christmas in which she gifted to us on the holiday.

Personally I wouldn’t have gone out on my own to purchase one mainly due to my addiction to collecting things and also with the bad experience I had with Itunes and their store I’m a bit reluctant to purchasing digital media.  I like to have the physical copy of something, I like to touch and feel the paper as I’m reading, I like to flip back a couple chapters quickly to refresh my memory on something that happened in the story, I like the maps and heraldry charts that are included with my fantasy novels.  These were things that I had thought that having an E-reader such as Kindle would take away from me.  But since it was gifted and a couple features intrigued me to me I started to use it and in the end I highly enjoy this little device.

I’ll start off with the features of the Kindle.  The model I have is the one with 3G + Wi-fi capabilities.  These 2 methods to connect to the Amazon store work great and are rather quick when browsing around Amazon.com’s book store.  The 3G connection you can use when a Wi-fi hotspot is available is completely free to use if you are browsing and you pay a small fee if you use it to download a book(pennies).  It is also possible to run an internet browser on the device, but that I haven’t used yet(when I do I will make an edit to this post at the bottom).

The battery life on the Kindle is amazing, lasting up to a month with a full charge and the wireless function turned off.  With the wireless turned on it lasts about a week and a half, not to shabby.  To give it a full charge it takes about 5 hours when connected to an USB port on a PC or laptop.

The size of the device is 7.5″ x 4.8″ x 0.335″(about as thin as a #2 yellow pencil, with the protective leather case on it’s about .25″ thicker) and it has a display size of 6″ diagonal.  The display on the Kindle is terrific.  It uses something called E Ink to display the words and the screen is glare resistant so even in bright sunlight there won’t be any light reflecting off the device hurting your eyes.  Once you get to reading it feels as natural as reading on normal paper.  The display also sports a defined and detailed grayscale, the maps in my fantasy books display great and detailed and the occasional illustration look exactly as it would look in the printed book.

It has 4 GB of usable memory which can hold about 3,500 books, something that I don’t think anyone is filling up anytime soon, and since you can back up you books on your computer the amount of books you can have is endless.

Some other cool features it has is it has a very useful, detailed, and easy to use built in dictionary(in American and British English), you can book mark pages to return to easily when needed, you can add notes to your books where ever you like without having to scrawl all over the pages, and has a text-to-speech feature if you are feeling really lazy and want a robot to read your book to you.  It can also read PDF documents as well as other E-Book formats(I will get into that in a bit).  Depending on how you like the print of you words, you can change the size, condensation, and font of the letters to meet you personal preference and you can also modify the spacing inbetween lines and the amount of words per line if more or less helps you read faster.

For entering in information there is a qwerty keyboard at the bottom of the Kindle as well as a 4 way directional pad for selecting information on the screen.  To turn the pages of you book there are buttons set flush into the left and right sides to move the page forward or back.  The time to turn a page is about 1/4th of a second just enough time for your eyes to return to the top of the display and keep reading unhindered, it’s actually faster than turning the page on a physical book.  And, for me, I tend to switch reading positions often when reading for long periods of time so having the buttons on both sides is great plus for me.  Actually reading on the Kindle is more comfortable than reading a physical book due to its light weight, 8.5 oz in comparison to reading a hefty 700+ page novel or an odd sized paper back.

I think I touched base on all the main features, so on to how I’ve been using the Kindle.  Since I have a good amount of books in my library that I have not yet read and my deep reluctance to purchase digital books off the internet I found a solution to my problem on the internet.  The Kindle has capabilities to read multiple file formats.  One of those formats is PDF, and it doesn’t display it very well, so downloading the PDF format of a book in my library for backup seemed like a moot idea for long reading sessions on my Kindle.  Then I learned that the Kindle can read the EPUB file format(a format that almost all other E-Book retailers use, the Amazon store provides their books in AZN format, which is proprietary to Kindle, but they don’t lock you down to using only their store for the device 🙂 ).  With the EPUB format the Kindle reads the E-Book in the same exact way as its proprietary format with the exception of having the page numbers included in the book(think MP3 vs. AAC).  I found a program called Calibre, and what this program does is converts PDF into a variety of different formats including the Kindle friendly EPUP, it also acts as a library manager in the same way that I-Tunes works with an I-Pod.  So, what I did is downloaded the PDF versions of some of the books that I have the physical copy of and converted them to EPUB and then loaded them onto the Kindle.  The process is nice and easy, the hardest part is finding the PDF format, but if you know where to look it’s not that hard.  And only use this method if you OWN the book you are backing up on you Kindle.  If you don’t own the book, you are stealing!!!!

In the end, I am fully satisfied with the Kindle.  At first it was a bit strange reading on it, but after a few pages I got sucked into my story and didn’t even notice I was not reading on a physical book and since I barely had to move to turn the page my reading experience was even more immersive.  I would recommend purchasing a Kindle to any avid reader, and especially one who often travels(the 3G works worldwide).  When I finally break down and purchase an E-Book off the Amazon Book Store(maybe for the upcoming “A Dance With Dragons”!!, even though that is something I would like to put in my physical collection) I will let you know how that experience went, but for know I have a decent amount of books to finish reading.  If anyone has experience with the Amazon Book Store, let me know how it went down in the comments.

 

Photo Credits:

Amazon.com

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