Thursday, March 4, 2010

In Which I Introduce Fred

Meet Fred.

Yes, I bought myself a Kindle! I totally splurged with my tax refund (the rest of which is going to fix a leaky roof) and bought something for me. I love to read. I'll read anything, anywhere--cereal boxes, toothpaste tubes, even advertisements on buses or buildings. I am a huge supporter of, and believer in, and user of, the public library system (thank you, Mr. Carnegie). But our public library here in the Metropolis is a lending library, not an archival library. If you like to read older books, like me, you're out of luck.

Last Memorial Day I began experimenting with audio books, listening to a Librivox recording of North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell as I tore the carpet up in my living room.  I don't have any kind of MP3 player, so I listened on my laptop, which meant every time I moved from one room to another, I had to move the laptop with me. So last summer, I started looking into MP3 players, and decided that the Nano Classic, which has more memory, would be better for audio books and therefore better for me.

Then I read Anna Karenina for my book group, and realized that I am too old to hold a book as thick as this in my hands whilst trying to read in bed. 

So I started looking at the Kindle. Yes, it plays MP3 files, and is part of the Amazon world. And I realized that the ability to carry 1500 books with me, or listen to them, was irresistible. I resisted since last October or November, when I started looking into ebook readers. But I gave in to temptation last Friday, and it arrived Tuesday, and I love it. I love it! I love being able to make the font of what I'm reading bigger with just the press of a button and the swish of a toggle. I can read in bed again! And without the book pressed up to my nose if I'm not wearing my spectacles.

Mother of Mossy is very intrigued by the ability in increase font size. When she is snowbirding out here in the Nest, we get her large print books from the library, but their selection is eclectic at best. and the used bookstore doesn't like to buy back the large print books we buy from them. Which makes no sense in a Metropolis half populated by retired folks, but that's their decision. So, having the ability to read any book, ANY book, in large print is very appealing to her. Maybe Santa will bring her one this year.

It looks like I will go back to buying new books now, at least of my favorite authors, instead of used copies from the used bookstore. I haven't bought new books since I left the hallowed halls of the Printed Word Bookstore. They just didn't fit in the Mossy Budget. But digital books are cheaper, so the publishing world has me back as a consumer of new books. Well, they will, as soon as I get throught the hundreds of OOP books now stored on Fred. As Fred will not be taken out into the field whilst I do science, the library hasn't lost me as a patron, either.

Oh, why Fred? That was the nickname of my favorite author, E. F. Benson. I inaugurated the Kindle with reading his Miss Mapp for the 437th time. The binding on my copy is completely ripped, and the book is in twelve sections of pages, which fall apart even more every time I read it, which is once a year. Now I need never fear losing a page again.


  1. Hello Fred, nice to meet you! ;)
    That Kindle sounds like I so want one. But I can not justify the cost right now and I would have to import it from the US (I live in England), which would drive the cost up up up.
    I love the idea that it plays MP3 files. Love being read to while doing chores! I too am currently carting my lap top around the house to listen.
    How long to Fred's batteries last? And how easy is it to read in bright sunlight?

  2. Hi, LadyLighthouse! Posters to the Kindle discussion boards on Amazon say their batteries last 2-3 weeks with the Whispernet (the 3G network you use to download books, as opposed to using a computer's Internet). Setting i tup, mvoing my books from the archive over to my Kindle, etc. used up half my battery the first week, but I've the Whispernet turned off and we'll see how long it lasts.

    Because it's not backlit, but used eInk technology, you can read the Kindle in broad sunlight without a problem. It is not a backlit computer screen, so many readers say they get no eyestrain with this (other ereaders use it as well).

    There are several people on the Amazon boards (and on the Ravelry ebook readers forums) from various countries, including England, who post about their experiences. You may want to research their experiences to help you ultimately make a decision.

    ANd many suspect erader prices will come down after theiPad is released next month. Amazon bought some new technology companies earlier this year, so a new Kindle version may be released later this year or next, causing prices of the K2 to drop. And as Amazon opened the Kindle up for app development, it may have some more functionality in the future s9such as an internal way to organize books in folders or with tags).

    Hope that helps!