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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It took a month after I ordered it for Amazon to ship my Kindle electronic reading device. That was plenty of time to change my mind, and I came close a number of times, because itís pretty expensive. But I thought it would be cool to have something a little more cutting-edge than I usually indulge in, and I thought that in the long run it might even save me some money, because the books pretty much top out at $9.99, even for the very latest bestsellers, with no shipping charge because theyíre delivered wirelessly and instantaneously. Plus, it will save trees. No paper equals no trees, donít you know.

So Monday I got an email from Amazon letting me know that my Kindle had been shipped. Suddenly it was too late to back out, but I wasnít really going to even if I could. In fact, Iíve been prowling the Kindle site for a month, deciding what books I wanted to download, and what magazines and newspapers I wanted to subscribe to.

Thereís no Kindle wish list, so I made the old fashioned kind of list, on paper with a pencil. I didnít write any bestsellers on my list, because I didnít think Iíd have to be reminded about them. Theyíre usually close to the top of the search lists anyway. I tended to include classics (you can get Jane Austenís novels for 99 cents each), books by authors Iíve read and enjoyed previously, and eclectic things from historical novels to young adult fiction. I read all the reviews of whatever I put on the list, and excluded anything that wasnít highly regarded by a lot of people. Iím pretty good about knowing what Iím going to like reading.

And today, I waited. Itís a good thing I worked frantically yesterday to finish the payroll, because I wasnít worth much today. I tackled some pretty menial tasks, and I didnít start anything I didnít think I would be able to quit at a momentís notice, as soon as the FedEx guy arrived. Fortunately, he didnít get here until late in the afternoon, so I actually got quite a lot done.

I wonít go over all of the advantages of the device. Theyíre well detailed on the Amazon site, and I havenít found much I donít like about it so far. I spent the first couple of hours charging the battery and reading the manual (which is actually a Kindle book bundled into it). I ordered a 2 GB SD card, so that I can download way more content than Iíll ever have time to read. Be nice to me; maybe Iíll leave you my Kindle in my will, and youíll never again have to hunt for something to read.

12 March 2008

My Kindle, on My Bed.

The first content I ordered was a subscription to the San Francisco Chronicle. I get a 14-day free trial before I have to pay for it, but Iíll probably keep it, because I know the paper well enough to know it has several columnists (Mark Morford, Jon Carroll, Tim Goodman, among others) that I would read every day. Within seconds I had todayís paper at my fingertips, and I found that itís a lot easier to read it on a lightweight handheld device than by spreading out a half-acre of newsprint. Iím not one to stick to the old ways just because thatís the way things have always been done. If I didnít think this was an improvement, I wouldnít have ordered it in the first place.

I also downloaded samples of several books. One thing you can do with Kindle is read the first chapter or two of a book for free before you have to shell out money for the whole thing. I donít know yet if Iím going to buy any of these books Iím sampling, but at least before I do so Iíll have an idea of whether or not Iím likely to read it. I donít like spending money for something Iím not going to use. (Which is why Iíve been going back and forth for a month about the Kindle itself, but now thereís no looking back.)

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