Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: Amazon Kindle

I come from a line of avid readers. My Dad gave me a copy of Jane Eyre when I was about eight and I never looked back. My Grandmother who died this past September passed on her love of reading to my Dad and he passed it on to me. Any time I would visit her I would bring all the books I'd read and swap them with a pile of hers. We'd discuss authors and plots and I would marvel at how lucky I was to have such an astute and intelligent grandmother, despite her physical frailty.

About three years ago Dad got a Kindle for Christmas, the big old ugly white one with the keypad.  I was incredulous, how could he do such a thing? Betray the paper he had always loved? Surely not!  I refused to believe him when he told me how much he loved it. I watched with disdain as he devoured book after book at the pool on our vacation in Portugal. Most of all though, I missed him giving me a big pile of books any time I would visit.

About a year ago my best friend in the states got a Kindle for her birthday and also sang it's praises.  It made me think twice, but still I knew that I loved the feel, smell and sensation of a book in my hands. I liked to dog-ear interesting passages and scribble notes if I so chose. I also loved to have a big pile on my bedside table to peruse at my leisure depending on my mood.  She told me how it was a wonderful tool for nursing mothers as it only required one hand.  That struck a chord and I considered how it might be useful, but dismissed the thought immediately.

Fast forward to last Christmas.  We were all sitting around the tree watching the kids open presents when my parents presented myself, himself and my brother and sister-in-law with a similarly shaped and wrapped present, insisting we all open it at the same time.  There were cries of delight as everyone saw their new Kindle, except from me, still not being convinced.

Within a few days I had started to set it up and ordered a few books.  I started with a Kindle Single by Lee Child, as I didn't want to waste money on something I thought I would hate.  I was pleasantly surprised with the interface and how easy it was to read and use.  Next thing I know I had downloaded The Hunger Games Trilogy (all three for less than the price of one at Easons!!!) and read them all in a couple of days.  I bought a few books suitable during my pregnancy including a Pregnancy Yoga book which was brilliant as I always had the poses with me.  I ordered the breastfeeding essential Motherfood which is also brilliant to have with me on the run and allows me to make good choices of food and snacks on the go. All of a sudden I found my paper book pile dwindling as I purchased more and more of my reading on the Kindle.  It was pretty obvious I was hooked!

I love that I can carry all my reading with me at any given time without being laden down with books.  It's small and sleek and easily fits in my handbag. I absolutely LOVE the prices.  For someone who used to spend upwards of €100 a month on books I have cut down substantially and whats even better is that the books are always there on my device as I need them. I cannot believe how quickly I've converted to a Kindle enthusiast.  It really is a brilliant investment for anyone who loves reading.

I use an American Amazon account as we still have residency there and I use that address.  My Dad does not have residency but also uses an American account as the prices are cheaper. The only difference being there are sometimes titles (often the free ones or deals of the day) that are only available to download to people with confirmed US addresses.  You can get the Kindle on Amazon.co.uk as well, but it's only $79 in the US store versus £89 and the books are cheaper and there is a bigger selection.  A no brainer if you ask me!

My first Kindle stopped working and I have to say that for the most part the customer service was excellent.  They replaced the Kindle and gave me a $25 credit for the inconvenience.  It was a bit of a struggle because I bought it in the US, they wouldn't ship a replacement here, but I got it shipped to my father-in-law who was sending a package here anyway and he tucked it in.

It is a sound investment that pays for itself quickly with the reduced cost books. It's also very green considering the huge cut down in paper use.  If you keep an eye on Amazon you can also get some excellent daily deals and free books.  You can get almost all the old classics for free.  Sometimes authors or publishers make their books free for 24 hours to get up the rankings and you can get some great deals and savings here.  I would go for the slightly more expensive touch version if you had the means, but the basic is just fine and working well for me.  The Kindle Fire looks nice, but it's basically a tablet and I know myself too well to realise that no reading would get done and all the bells and whistles would take away from the primary purpose of an e-reader.  All in all I would highly recommend a basic Kindle to anyone who reads a lot or enjoys reading.   

2 comments:

  1. My Grandparent's are converts as well! If they can make the change, I'm sure I can too. Maybe one day...

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  2. I will not say, "I told you so." I will simply be glad that it works so well for you. We also have library e-copies of books that can be borrowed for free for two weeks at a time. I wonder if that is an option by you as well. I can't wait to bring my Kindle to Traverse City this weekend filled with books in my beach bag instead of havIng a big bag full of books.

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