Many of my regular readers may have noticed that I’ve put up a secondary blogroll, called Kindle Blogs. For those of you who don’t know what a Kindle is, I’m here to tell you that, IMHO, it’s the greatest invention since the printing press. As shipped, the Kindle will hold approximately 200 full-length books; expandable memory makes it almost infinite. The purchase price includes, free (my favorite price) access to Whispernet, Amazon’s wireless data network. Using this connectivity, you can download books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs to your Kindle in minutes or, in some cases, seconds. Most bestsellers sell for $9.99 or less. The Kindle weighs less than a typical paperback (10.9 ounces). Perfect for travel – if you finish a book while you’re waiting in the airport, you can download a new one. Or download a free sample to read before you make the purchase decision.
I bought my Kindle in May, after drooling over it on Amazon for several months. I can’t remember the last time I wanted something so badly. I scrimped and saved (at $399, it wasn’t an “impulse buy”) and finally had the funds together, so I went ahead and made the purchase. Naturally, 2 weeks later, Amazon dropped the price to $359. But, in accordance with their regular policy (if the Amazon price drops within 30 days after you purchase anything from Amazon, all you have to do is file a claim) they refunded the difference within 24 hours of my requesting it. Hey, 40 bucks is 40 bucks, right?
In addition to all the great reading you can buy at Amazon, there are dozens of websites where you can download free (there it is again!) books that are considered “public domain”. This includes the classics (Dickens, Shakespeare, Milton, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, etc.) and many “undiscovered” authors who are trying to get into the market. My personal favorite is feedbooks.com, but by all means check out all of them. If you Google for “free e-book content”, you’ll get more than you know what to do with. I’ve also downloaded a copy of the U.S. Constitution, complete with amendments, and the Declaration of Independence. They’re handy to have when I get into (ahem) discussions with my politically-minded friends and co-workers. Everything on the Kindle is searchable, so you can find it when you need it! There’s also free access to Wikipedia, a dictionary, and rudimentary internet access.
I’ve not regretted my purchase for even a second. I love my Kindle. It’s everything the video says it is. If I were forced to offer criticism, it would be that not all the books I want are available for the Kindle (yet). I really would love to get the 2009 Farmer’s Almanac on my Kindle, but as of yet it’s not available. Of course, it just hit the bookstores yesterday. And if there’s something you want that isn’t available for Kindle yet, Amazon has provided a handy “click here” button to let the publisher know that you would buy the Kindle version if it was available.
There’s talk (speculation?) that Amazon is going to release an 8-1/2″ x 11″ version next year, and offer college textbooks at discounted prices. How great would that be? No more carrying around a 50+ pound backpack from building to building. Where was that when I was in college?
I think everybody should have a Kindle.