What on earth is a Kindle you ask? It is the wireless reading device Amazon unveiled last year to encourage more electronic book (ebook) reading. When I first received my notice about it my interest was piqued since I read my ebooks from my laptop. The idea of being able to carry around a book size reader with a screen that mimicked the page intrigued me. At least until I saw the $399 price tag that went along with it. And that didn’t include any books.
Now here we are almost five months later and I’m revisiting the idea again. From what I’ve seen so far, $399 isn’t bad when compared with other readers over $600 that don’t come as highly customer rated. Since I first visited Amazon to check out this device there have been over 2000 reviews posted giving it a healthy 4 star out of 5 rating. Each Kindle Electronic Reader comes with a book cover, power adapter and USB 2.0 cable.
Some of the features include:
* electronic-paper display (reads like real paper)
* wireless technology (no computer, cables are syncing)
* on demand reading (download a book in less than one minute)
* 115,000 book selections
* access to papers like NYT, WSJ and WP
* access to news magazines like Forbes and Time
* light weight (10.3 ounces)
* holds 200+ titles
* long battery life
* designed for both right handed and left handed people
* adjustable text size.
* built-in New Oxford American Dictionary
* stores email addresses and sends documents and pictures (extra fee)
* audio books (from Audible.com) capabilities
For me, one of the best features would be the wireless technology. My laptop has been wireless for four years and I can’t imagine going back. Amazon in conjunction with Sprint has developed Whispernet which allows Kindle users to search, download, and read content without having to find a hotspot. The cost for this technology has been built into the price so readers don’t have to worry about extra Internet costs. Unfortunately it isn’t available in Canada or the states of Montana and Alaska.
My biggest paranoia would be losing the books I’ve purchased if I lost the machine or heaven forbid, broke it. Amazon must have thought of this because every book purchased is backed up in an online account called “Your Media Library” just in case.
As a reviewer I find their annotations feature to be a brilliant idea. They’ve allowed for making notes, editing them, deleting them and downloading them to a computer. That would save me some money on post-its(tm) (although I’d never give them up entirely).
This reader was so popular when it was released they sold out but now they are back in stock and ready for new homes. I’ve added the Kindle to my wish list but for now I’ll just have to hope they release a Canadian version soon!
Originally published 5/6/2008 at Literary Fiction, BellaOnline.