Thursday, June 12, 2008

My new toy

I am now the owner of an Amazon Kindle, and I am enthralled. This lovely little device is smaller and lighter weight than every book I'm currently reading in hard copy. Once you buy a Kindle version of the book you want, it is delivered wirelessly to your unit within a minute. You can sit it in your lap and click a single button to turn the page. When you're ready to stop, the unit remembers where you left off and will bring you right back to that spot when you return. You can have up to 200 books (that's what the specs say anyway) loaded on the unit and add even more with an SD card should you desire.

I was hesitant about this purchase for multiple reasons. First, I love books. Love 'em. I have shelves of them of all different genres. I love the feel of books. I love making them my own with notes and highlights. I have some books in my library that I've had for 25 years. So, I wasn't sure about an electronic book. I have a few technical books in PDF format that I like having for reference use so that I don't always have to turn to the book to find something I'm looking for. But, the Kindle would mean starting a whole different relationship with my books. Could I do it?

Second, is the cost. It's not a cheap little gadget. But thanks to a cross country trip to visit family and a deal on my credit card to get triple Amazon points, I ended up with almost enough Amazon bucks to cover the cost.

So, I took the plunge. And so far, this little baby is awesome. I haven't even begun to play with features like access to newspapers, magazines, popular blogs and so forth, but I have downloaded my first book. Oh joy, oh bliss! How sweet it is!

This could be dangerous. I can carry a boatload of books with me every where I go. No more trying to figure out which books to carry on the plane with me and which ones to pack. Everything comes with me in one conveniently small package. If I want a new book, I just type in the name, click Buy and there it is! Dangerous...yes, very dangerous.

Even non-Kindle books can be converted to be used on the Kindle with a simple, free converter program. So, that means virtually any book I can get in PDF form can go on my Kindle with just minimal effort. Hmmm...I'm liking this more and more!

I think I'll still have to buy some books in hard copy. Not everything has a Kindle version (yet). And, I don't think I can go completely cold turkey on having my hands on a "real" book. But, if my first few hours of ownership are any indication, I think I'm going to have a very long and wonderfully meaningful relationship with my new Kindle.


Tony said...

I hope you post an update in a few months about your experience. I, like you, really enjoy books and have to be extra careful not to spend $1000 every time I enter a Borders store. So I am curious if you find yourself buying more books because of the price and convenience.

jan van mourik said...

What a coincidence! My Kindle should be waiting for me when I get home this afternoon! I'm excited!! I already purchased one book, send a pdf to my Kindle email for conversion, send a Word doc to the free address to be emailed back to me, converted, and played with Mobipocket to convert Tom Kyte's Expert pdf :-)
Now if the web feature works a bit too, so I can check email and Google reader in the airport, that would be totally awesome. We'll see!
Also, I see you use Shelfari. Inspired by my Kindle-on-the-way I started playing with LibraryThing, a similar site. Amazing, all those neat sites!

jan van mourik said...

Oh, I forgot the obvious, we all have to hit up O'Reilly and Apress to sell their books in Kindle format, not just pdf. That way we can get Cary&Jeff's book! And I just pre-ordered Christian Antognini's new book. I wish I could have ordered a Kindle version!!!

Allan Nelson said...

Very cool. I'm a book junkie and I wondered if a kindle would be worth the price. The fact that PDF conversion is available is something I didn't know and makes the kindle a very attractive device.

DaveT said...

I'm over in the UK so we're going to have to wait for the Kindle. Can you guys give an insight in how .pdfs loo k on the Kindle? I'm thinking about Oracle technical material specifically.

Karen said...

I've converted several PDFs so far and everything works just fine *except* the table of contents (if one exists). The work-around is to edit the PDF (if you can) and remove the TOC pages, then use the MobiPocket Creator's function to rebuild/add a TOC back in. That works fine.

The formatting isn't perfect when you've got different fonts and text sizes, but I haven't found it problematic for the technical PDFs that I've done so far.