Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Kindled Love...

I'm sure most of you know I'm a fairly serious reader. I always have been, I just. I love the feel, the smell, turning the pages, leafing through, libraries, new and used book stores... Pretty much EVERYTHING about them really. And a few years back, when ebook readers became the latest greatest thing, I took the plunge and picked up a first generation Nook.

And hated it.

One of these things is DEFINITELY not like the others...

Okay, so hated it is probably too strong a word. I used it regularly during college. It was handy that I could cram it full of more books then I could ever possibly read, and have it weigh less a paperback and add hardly any depth to my bag. 

But there was no backlight to it, and it was hard to read if it was even the slightest bit dim in the room. Reading outside looked shabby too, as most screens on electronic devices do. The small touch screen at the bottom was bizarre and distracting, and the buttons on the sides to turn the pages really took away any shred of 'book feel' the thing had left. It just wasn't a good experience, and once I finished college and had no real need of a 'convenient book', it's sat in the closet, alone and unsused since.

I decided I much, much preferred real books to this digital format. Nothing beats the feels of holding a good, solid book in your hands, I thought. Oh, I still read ebooks. When Matt and I worked at Walmart in Stillwater, we both used to read them on our phones on our super short breaks. 

Our little Evo Shifts were small, and always with us, so we didn't have to waste valuable break time getting into our lockers or whatnot to fetch them. Plus, it was convenient for catching a few free moments in the restroom too! Yes, I admit, I'm a notorious bathroom reader and puzzler. There's always either a book, or a word search in there with me.

I even read half of the Ender's Game series on my phone, some of it during the time that Matt got his new job and went to stay in OKC, and I was left alone in our old apartment to pack things up. I discovered I pretty much can't sleep alone in the dark, so after getting all bundled into the bed, with the bathroom light on around the corner, I'd read well into the night on my phone till I was exhausted enough to sleep. The phone had the benefit of being lit, so I could read in the dark. But as all phone and tablet screens do, it starts to strain the eyes after a while, and it was pretty darn small to be reading novels on!

The last few years, I've not touched an ebook.

But that's when I started seeing the commercials...

Now that we can get broadcast television, I've had the pleasure of commercials again (Hey, it's actually pretty neat to see commercials for things when you've been stuck with mostly Netflix for several years!) and this is the one that kept playing. It peaked my interest, honestly. I've been getting frustrated with books recently. Trying to read on our broken down mattress, unable to find a comfy spot for long periods of time... I'd try to balance a 800 page paperback in one hand, or on a pillow, and end up dropping it and losing my spot! Not to mention figuring out where to put them all when my shelves are completely full! When I happened to see the display of them at Best Buy, I decided to go and have a look- and promptly fell in love!

I thought about it for the span of a day before I went back and got myself one. $120 less in my wallet, but happiness abounds!

I swear, I'm really not reading a cheesy romance novel! 

I LOVE reading on this thing even more then I thought I would. The display is crisp with a light you can adjust from sheer, brilliant white, to a dimmer light more suitable for reading in the dark. Yes, in the dark. Now, when I can't sleep at night, I can just read in bed while Matt snoozes away beside me! It doesn't matter what light level the Paperwhite is on, it's always evenly lit. And the best part is, the screen isn't back lit like a tablet. The light's not flying out and accosting your eyes, leading to strain and headaches.  It's a very, very book-like display, and completely comfortable, even when reading for hours upon hours.

The case I picked up for it on clearance at Target- not designed for it, but it fits perfectly. My mum would love it being purple too, even if it's not my favorite color...

Even better are the sales that Amazon has. The first night I got it, after connecting it to our Amazon account, I started to peruse their Kindle book selection, which has pretty much anything you can imagine. There's daily deals, monthly deals and various other sales, and if you see a book you're interested in, you jsut click the 'send a sample' button, and it pretty much instantly appears on your Kindle! I picked up Die for Me by Amy Plum, The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb, The Long Earth by Terry Pratchet, and Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone that first night, all for $1.99 a piece. These aren't no name authors either- these are main streamer, best sellers! I later went on and got Long Earth's sequel The Long War as well, on sale.

Even when not on sale, Kindle books are usually way, way cheaper then even the paperback versions, especially if they've been out a few months at least. I picked up the second Wheel of Time book "The Great Hunt" by Robert Jordan for five dollars, and Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" for eight dollars, two and some change less then the paperback, and that's not including tax.

It does have ads that display when you sleep it, but they're always book related, and usually books that are on sale! You can pay a little extra to get rid of the ads, but why bother when it might be something you're interested in?

And I've pretty much never been more comfortable while reading. The Paperwhite is so light weight it's super easy to hold in one hand, in pretty much any position imaginable. You can 'turn the pages' by either swiping the screen, or tapping at one edge or the other- I prefer to swipe, more like the real thing! The next page loads super, duper quick and doesn't disturb your reading progress at all. So far I've read all of Die for MeThe Long Earth, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, finished The Great Hunt as I was already partway through it, and read a fair amount into both The Dragon Keeper and Three Parts Dead. I LOVE my Kindle.

It even has all sorts of neat features from being able to change the font and font size, highlighting passages you like, and even a built in dictionary- a feature I never thought I'd actually use. I generally don't have to look up words I come across that I haven't encountered before, as I can infer the meaning from context. Yet, with a dictionary right at my fingertips, all I have to do is tap the word in question and there's the definition! It will even link you to the Wikipedia page! And it's not just unusual words either; I came across two french words in a description of a tray of food. With the tap of a finger, I discovered the items were a plate of various cold cuts for eating with bread, and a type of french sausage. I didn't need to know this to understand the passage, but it painted a far richer picture with the knowing.

I'll still be collecting real, physical books of course. But the Kindle lets me get those that I'm not interested in collecting in a format that won't take up anymore room. Plus, Amazon just released their new MatchBook feature, one of the reasons why I decided to buy a kindle. Most any physical book you buy from Amazon (So long as it's enabled, and it likely is), going back years and years even, will get you the Kindle version of the book for $3.00 or less even going down to being free of charge! A ploy for Amazon to sell even more books and make more money? Of course. Still a fantastic deal for the rest of us, and a great encourager of people try e-readers? Most definitely! I'll be able to get all the books I want to own in hardcover by my most favorite authors, and get the Kindle version to read on the go and always have with me, even if it's in the Cloud Storage.

It's pretty much the greatest thing ever. The perfect ebook storm to sweep me up! It's so book-like that the book nerd in me doesn't completely cut loose screaming "Traiter!!" about my buying and reading non print. It's just so comfortable and convenient (Not to mention great battery life!) that I can't help but be compltely enamored with it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have books to be reading!


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