The Compulsive Reader: Reading Rants: Kindle Contempations

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Reading Rants: Kindle Contempations

So, it's been about six months since I got my Kindle for Christmas, and my immediate reaction was LOVE at first sight. Now that I've had a little while to adjust to it and use it over a long period of time, here are some of my thoughts about the Kindle 3G + WiFi:

  • The battery life is great. I haven't actually gotten it to last an entire month, but I've never ran out of battery, and the Kindle charges super quick--no more than 20 minutes. 
  • I still really love the style and functionality of the Kindle. It's probably the only electronic device I've ever owned that still looks practically new six months later. The page turn buttons, the arrows, and the full keyboard are still really great. There are maybe one or two things I wish I could rearrange in the menu, but it's not a deal breaker for me, and not an inconvenience.
  • I've had one software update since I got the Kindle, and it was very easy to install. Amazon provides detailed step by step instructions for a wireless download, and a download with a computer connection. My only issue with it is that it promised page numbers for the books, which I was really excited about. (The lack of page numbers being probably the only thing that bugged me about the Kindle.) However, when I downloaded the software change, I noticed that page numbers are only displayed in the Go To feature. I hope that the next step would be to display the numbers along the bottom of every page.
  • As of today, I have 45 books, short stories, and ARCs on my Kindle! Most of them were very, very cheap. I am always so impressed at the deals I find on Amazon in books. I think a common misconception is that the only cheap (i.e. $2.99 or less) Kindle books are the self-published ones which aren't up to the standards of traditionally published books, but I have found so many books published by big six publishers that are $1.99 or less. I love it. It's also forced me to broaden my reading horizons, and now I read a lot more adult books than I used to.
  • I also read faster on my Kindle--a very interesting observation, but very helpful at times. I first noticed this when I re-read Jane Eyre for a Women's Lit class I took. The first time I read it, it took me two weeks in between my classes and regular reading. When I read it on my Kindle--4 days. I was able to instantly look up the words I didn't know without hardly pausing at all in reading, and I was able to highlight and take notes as I went along.
  • As for Notes and highlights, I really like the feature and it's really simple to use. The only thing I DO NOT like about it at all (and I am hoping Amazon will change this) is that every highlight and note you make is sent to a separate document called My Clippings (which is fine), but you can't divide the notes and clippings according to the book they come from, and the document quickly runs out of space, which requires you to delete your previous ones (by going back to them in the book) to make room for new ones. I would really like the notes and clippings to be put in the back of the book, like a separate "chapter", or in their own document according to book, which I then could put in a group. This way I could easily sort through them without every having to delete them (as most of them are for a class!) and I can continue to use that feature.
  • For school, the Kindle has been really helpful. I'm an English major with Spanish and French minors, and not only do I read a lot, but I use a lot of reference books. The Kindle comes pre-loaded with three dictionaries--I use the Oxford English dictionary all the time, especially when reading older novels by authors with fabulous vocabularies, and I have my English to Spanish and English to French dictionaries on my Kindle as well. I love the quick look-up time (it takes seconds...actually, it only really takes one second). I also did put a lot of books for my lit classes this past Spring on it as well. My only complaint with that one goes back to the page number issue, and the fact that when it comes to looking for specific bits and passages, it's easier to flip through a book than a Kindle. However, if I can remember snatches of prose from the section I was looking for, I can search those words, which is NICE. So, it's really a trade-off. And I would be lying if I said that having a device with my school books and YA books didn't come in handy during particularly boring classes...

Overall, the things I love about the Kindle greatly outweigh the issues I have with it. I do not regret getting this one, and I am so not interested in any other device (okay, that's a lie. I would like the iPad, mostly because it's so shiny, but I will definitely live without it). About 21% of the books I have read this year have been on my Kindle, and though that seems like a lot, I'm still mostly a print girl. I still love the feel of books, the appearance of a page, and the make and design of books (especially after re-reading Shiver and Linger and reading Forever--such gorgeous books! Don't ever buy them electronically!) and I am not giving those up any time soon. But there is a balance to be found between print and electronic books, and I think I've found a very happy medium!

Let me know your thoughts about your Kindle or other e-reader! I want to hear them...especially if they're Kindle tips or tricks! I've learned the most from other Kindle owners.


Christina T said...

I've only had my Kindle a few weeks but I love it. I still haven't learned about all the features. I like that I can read NetGalley ARCs on it (so much nicer than reading them on a computer) and that I can instantly have a book in my hands instead of waiting a few days for it to arrive. I also like that I can read thick books like Outlander without any pain and I don't even have to hold the Kindle to read-I can set it on the arm of my chair.

I do wish that there was a better selection of cases. At the moment I use it without a case, which I like when I am at home, but if I were to take the Kindle on vacation or elsewhere I would like a case for it. I just haven't found one that I like.

My other complaint is that sometimes there seem to be more typos in Kindle e-books than the corresponding print version. Overall though I am so glad I finally got a Kindle. I still prefer print books but this is a nice alternative, especially when my book shelves are getting so full!

Jill the OWL said...

I have a Nook and LOVE it. I too find that I read faster on my Nook - wonder why that is???

I also love that I can get books off Netgalley and Simon Galley Grab.

I need to use the highlighting more because I think that would be good for remembering what I want to say with reviews.

Annette Mills said...

Great thoughts. I didn't know about the "clipping" file filling up -- I need to look into that on mine.

I want an iPad too -- but I probably wouldn't read with it much -- I just want it (I don't really need it....)

Angela @ Reading Angels said...

I'm not sure about the clipping file filling up either, I've never had that issue, but maybe you take WAY more than me?

Also, your pages are displayed at the bottom of your book (right on top of your progress bar) anytime you press the menu button!! Just FYI! (although I would prefer it to just stay there...)

Allison R said...

Thanks for doing a posting on this. I have gone back and forth trying to decide if I really want a ereader but I think I'm leaning towards a Nook since you can check out public library books on them (can't do that with a Kindle) and they have the best reviews (that I have read).

Also, I think it is very interesting how you and someone else posted that you seem to read books faster. Wonder why that is?

Annemel said...

I've had mine for 8 months alrady and I have to say that it was love at first sight also.
It's true I think you read a lot faster with the Kindle, don't now why though... But is great!
A thing that I love is that I can buy my book from the kindle itself and in less than 30 second is there for me to read it.
Nevertheless I love to read physical books, so I try to mix them like 2 books, and 2 ebooks or something like that :D
Thank you for your Rant! I totally loved it ^^

Amy @ Turn the Page said...

I've bored my mums a few times and Im not a fan personally - but I can see how useful they are for some people - particularly if you have to carry around lots of books for classes or whatever.

Mary said...

I'm loving my Kindle, too. The only thing that really bothers me is that the mobi format is proprietary (this is something that bothers me about Apple products as well). I recently bought a Kobo so I could read stuff only available in PDF and ePub formats. Overall, I like the Kindle better, but wish it could handle all formats.
Mary, A Book A Day

The Compulsive Reader said...

Allison: You can check out library books with your Kindle! Talk with your library or do some research, because I know it's possible, I just haven't done it yet. And even if you can't check out library books, you CAN use booklending.com, which is amazing.

Anonymous said...

I've had my Kindle since March. Well, let me say "our," since technically my husband and I are sharing it. But I use it so much that he's never actually read a book on it, and I'm going to surprise him with his own for Christmas. ;)

I, too, find that I read a lot faster on the Kindle than in a book. I don't know why that is, but it's true every time. I have several friends who say the same. And if I'm reading on my couch in the afternoon, I tend to get really sleepy, but not with the Kindle. I can read for much longer periods of time without feeling the need for a nap. Weird!

Anonymous said...

@Mary, wow, you should've downloaded Calibre for free to change formats from .PDF or .EPUB to .MOBI. I can't believe you bought another reader just for that. :D

jayme said...

I love my Kindle. My screen cracked last weekend. Not sure why, but it did. I called customer service on Tuesday and I had a new Kindle by Thursday. They were easy to deal with and all I need to do is send in my old Kindle. Definitely liked that aspect.

LinWash said...

I also have and love my Kindle. I'd better check the clipping file to make sure mine isn't also filling up.
So far I have only 20 books. But I'm eyeing several more. I have to be careful, because the immediacy of the downloads have caused me to buy more than I need to!