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Kindle: The Most Gifted Item


When we were in the States last year, I made a semi-luxury purchase: I bought a Kindle.

Why “semi-luxury”? Well, it was a first generation device and consequently was relatively high-priced for what you got.

Or so I thought at the time.

In actually, I wasn’t buying a book reading device. I was buying access to an entire bookstore full of hundreds of thousands of books.

Ultimately, I wanted to stop hauling in used books from Flow in Hong Kong.

The Kindle has proven invaluable as I often find myself reading when I have a few spare moments. It saves where I left off in any of the three to four books I am reading at one time. Over the past year, I have read more than 3 dozen books on trains, planes, buses and couches in four different countries.

After a year’s usage, what do I like about the Kindle?

  1. Portability. I love to travel and I love to read. The fact that I bring an entire library with me and it won’t take up any more space or add any weight – that’s a winner.
  2. One big button. I lay the Kindle down and I just press one big button to turn the page (another to flip it back). Meaning, I no longer need hands to read a book. I can press the button with my elbow if I’m baking and my hands are messy. I can set the Kindle down on the arm of the couch and snuggle with Schäfer only needing to reach over to hit the Big Button. It’s great!
  3. Highlighting. I can highlight what I want to remember. All my highlights are saved in a running text file on the Kindle for review later.
  4. Access. I knew this when I bought it, but I will underscore that I no longer need to haul back a suitcase of books from used bookstores (Flow in Hong Kong) or various hostels or restaurants where expats drop off books. Everything I want to read can be found on or on Amazon Kindle Store.

Of, course the flow of technology is unrelenting. Since I bought my 1st Generation Kindle, there has now been two additional generations. The new Kindles are more streamlined, faster, have greater resolution, have a larger format (the Kindle DX Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G, 9.7
) have global wireless (turn it on, download a new book) and sync where you are reading with any other Kindles, PCs (with the Kindle for PC program, free), iPhones/iPod touch’s (through the Kindle app), Mac and now the iPad.

Screen shot 2010-10-06 at 9.10.32 PM
In fact, this past Christmas the Kindle was the most gifted item on Amazon. I’m happy to see reading promoted!

So, once again if you live overseas and are thinking on buying a Kindle
, go for it! In my opinion, I feel that the 3G is unnecessary. Seriously, you’re paying $50 for the option of perhaps being in an airport, seeing a book you like and impulse buying. Most airports have wifi now, so you can probably just hook in using the wifi connection if you really need that new novel NOW.

Another great option is the Apple iPad. Now that it’s come out, my general recommendation is to buy an iPad instead of a Kindle.



With an iPad, you can download the free Kindle app and read all your Amazon purchases there.

You can also install:
free iBooks app (Apple’s ebookstore)
the free Barnes & Noble ebook app
a PDF reader app called Goodreader (scan in a bunch of children’s books for the plane)
Stanza (read the epub format)
apps to view word documents & excel spreadsheets
…the list goes on.

While it is more expensive to buy an iPad (it’s a computer really), you get more than a one-trick pony.

I enjoy the feel of paper in my hands, however portability is key in our lives. If you do end up buying a Kindle, please consider purchasing it from this link:
It won’t cost you any more and we’ll get a free book or two. My voracious reading habit thanks you!

2 comments to Kindle: The Most Gifted Item

  • Leigh

    Thanks for the recommendation and summary of your experiences. Shannan and I are planning to buy an iPad once we move onto a boat – for many of the same reasons you purchased the Kindle, including not having the capacity to store/move actual books. Although I know the iPad is immensely more practical, I am still struggling with the idea of not having a book to hold in my hands. Nice to hear such rave reviews of an e-reader from fellow book lovers!

  • jdavis2

    we want to sincerely thank you for letting us hold & otherwise investigate your kindle prior to making a decision if this was in fact an option for us. after comparing the kindle & the ipad we went with the kindle… 1. lower price 2. kindle is easier on the eyes 3. ipad requires 2 hands & it’s heavy 4. didn’t want/need all the other stuff ipad comes with. we’re very happy with our purchase! and now that the price is even lower we would highly recommend it! especially for people who live overseas where they can’t simply go to the library, 1/2 price book sellers or a friends house to get hold of a book they’re eager to read. thanks for the recommendation… you guys continue to propel us into the 21st century!

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