How Owning an Amazon Kindle Made Me Smarter and Changed My Life

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Why I Resisted Buying A Kindle

When the Amazon Kindle first went on sale in 2007, I thought it was just another expensive electronic gadget. That first generation Kindle sold for close to $400;a big " ouch" as far as I was concerned and not worth the money.

Also, I told myself, I preferred real books to any electronic reader and though I was a frequent buyer on Amazon and saw all the ads and info about Kindle on the site whenever I was there, I was just not interested.

Even though I had never touched or even seen a real life Kindle,I knew that it could not possibly replicate the feel of a real book, with that indefinable ink and paper smell and the comfortably repetitive motion of turning pages one by one. My books were my friends. To abandon them for an impersonal, cold hard machine like the Kindle was unthinkable. I was not ever going to buy a Kindle-- not me. I was like some old geezer in a horse and buggy, shaking a fist as a ModelT Ford went by and yelling "get a horse" None of those new-fangled gadgets for me. No sir-eeeee

Opening Up To Kindle

One day I sat next to a woman on the train who was reading from a Kindle. I was really curious. I craned my neck and peered over at it.

I asked her how she liked it. She brimmed with enthusiasm and went on and on about how many books she could store on the device, how she could change the size of the font, downloading her daily newspaper onto it etc. etc. I said , rather smugly, that I preferred the look and feel of a real book and that I would never read the New York Times online. What this woman said next totally rocked my world. She said:

" Owning a Kindle doesn't mean you have to give up books. It's not an either/or thing"

The concept absolutely blew me away. Buying a Kindle did not mean I had to give up books. The Kindle was just another way of receiving and processing the written word: an addition rather than a substitution. Duh! Why hadn't I thought of that and , more importantly, why I was so resistant to the idea of reading electronically? What was it about electronic readers that threatened me so much?

I thought back to the days of my childhood, when TV was just coming in. There was lots of talk back then about how TV was going to ruin the minds and destroy the bodies of the younger generation. TV was the enemy. It was going to do everything from annihilating radio and Hollywood to promoting tooth decay. TV was going to be the downfall of Western Civilization, which is hard to imagine considering that there were only three, grainy black and white channels back then, and they only broadcasted for twelve hours a day.

Then it hit me. My resistance wasn't about the Kindle. it was about change. I was just being a stubborn curmudgeon, rejecting a new way of doing things because I wanted the world to stand still. Change was what I feared, not the Kindle itself. My mind was closed, tighter than (you should excuse the expression) a book

I bet those Medieval monks toiling away in the scriptorium illuminating vellum manuscripts by hand felt the same way about that new fangeled printing press and the Gutenberg Bible. It is a normal human reaction to want to stay in control of your own little world. That's what my resistance was about. Once I realized that, a weight lifted off my shoulders and my entire point of view shifted.

I Was the Problem

Once I stopped being scared of progress, I got a Kindle and dove right in.Reading on it was just like reading paper pages only better. Unexpected perks were that I could read without my glasses if I just made the font bigger on the screen. I didn't need to mark my place with a bookmark or turn down the corner of a page. Kindle remembered where I had stopped and picked right up. I could also take notes and mark quotes and keep them on the kindle( useful for a blogger like me) AND I could even set up the Kindle to read to me out loud so I could peel potatoes or whatever while Kindle read to me. Since then I have discovered a world of free kindle downloads, Kindle blogs, and newspapers and magazines delivered wirelessly to my Kindle. Getting newspapers and periodicals this way is cheaper and greener, too, since there is no newspaper to recycle. I can even borrow books for my Kindle from my local library.

By now I am an old pro and am on my second Kindle. It fits neatly in my purse and goes with me everywhere. I have hundreds of books and articles stored on it. When I am researching a topic or writing about something I often download books or magazine articles to my Kindle,where I can not only read them but also can save quotes and make notes,which is enormously helpful. It's great to be able to carry a whole library with me on one little device when I travel. I can read equally easily on a plane, on the beach, in the doctor's office or in a hotel lobby.

I still have shelves full of books in my life and I still like the comforable familiarity of turning printed pages before falling asleep at night. There are some books I prefer to own in paper format (art and photography books for example and some travel books) and, of course, you can't exactly get an author to autograph a Kindle copy of his book for you. But Kindle has opened a door and added a new dimension to my world. It has taken nothing away. It has expanded my knowledge base and taught me new skills.

It has made me smarter and changed my life for sure.

The Future Is Now

I've been reading via Amazon Kindle for about two years now and my excitement continues to grow. Every day there are hundreds of new books published for the Kindle and a bevy of blogs reviewing them. In fact, there is a whole new category of " ebooks" which in the past would have been considered booklets, or articles or short fiction. They are 35 to 50 pages and tend to sell for around a dollar. Many are even free. They are a lot of fun and open up a whole new world of opinion, how to, promotion and short fiction to the avid reader.

In addition there are free sites where you can get all the classics that are in public domain and read them, or re-read them on your Kindle for free. Amazon and a few other sites offer Kindle freebees-- books you can download for free for a limited time. Below is a guide to some of my favorite Kindle sites and blogs. It goes without saying, that the most important resource is Amazon.com itself where you will find not only the Kindle Store, but also extensive tutorials, forums, bulletin boards, support and a whole vibrant Kindle community.

e-Books Are the Future

In 2011, electronic books outsold the traditional printed ones for the first time ever. 2012 was another banner year for ebooks.The trajectory for this is up up up. We are all part of a brave new world that has much to offer. Never fear, Luddites and traditionalists. Nobody will take away your printed books just because you buy a Kindle and just as radio did not disappear with the advent of TV,there will always be a place for the printed page.

Today the dedicated e-reader is becoming passe. Just as the desktop computer was basically replaced by the laptop and the laptop is fast being overtaken in popularity by tablets and smartphones as a source for

Life is about change. Hang on to your hat, fasten your seat belt and enjoy the ride.


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Comments 33 comments

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 4 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

I love my Kindle too. I have a 2nd generation one that still works great. I'm not interested in the Kindle Fire since I have an iPad. I still have 3 bookcases filled with books.

It is so convenient and I am reading at least 4 or 5 books a week since I got it. 90% of my books I have gotten for free.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Me too, Susan-- I am actually reading more now and it is so efficient and cheap cheap cheaap:-)

My three year old Kindle recently died and I did not move up to Kindle Fire, just Kindle Touch. I want a dedicated e reader as I have an iPhone and am practically attached to my laptop.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

Hi, robie....You've really explained away a lot of reservations about the Kindle to this old curmudgeonly holdout. I like the concept that the Kindles isn't an "either/or" proposition. Also, the fact that the font can be enlarged is a plus. Thanks for a great article. Perhaps I'll finally give Kindle a try.

Jaye


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 4 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Haha great video choice. Yes, change is hard to take for certain things, and it sometimes takes just that one word or phrase to get through it. Kindles really are fabulous and handy in more ways than people think. They do open up a new world for readers, and the screen of the Kindle is very easy on the eyes. I love that you can change the font size as well (can't do that with a book). Plus they really are so easy and convenient and take up such little space. Great topic


Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 4 years ago

Hey you young WHIPPER-SNAPPERS above, Take it from this ole 80 year old that wasn't afraid of change and loved trying NEW things. I bought my first Kindle 3G way back when they first came out and have read more books this way than I could ever have read any other way.

I simply buy Amazon Gift cards and down load them from there. I two have written many articles on this great resource that lays at our fingertips.

You forgot to mention that the Kindle can read ALOUD to you if you wish, just think how many doors this has opened for the visual impaired or when your eyes are tired.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Wow! You said it all. It's tough for some of us to make a change, but, one thing's for sure, change will happen. We can accept it or not, deal with it or not. You're coming to this as an older person, as I am. We face change together. Can't wait for the X-Y-Z gens to deal with change. If I'm not alive for that, I do want to be witnessing it from another plane.

Super hub.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi everybody and thanks for stopping by.

Hello Jaye-- the Kindle is very cool. Not only can you adjust the font, you can also adjust the background lighting and indeed, you can have the Kindle read to you while you peel potatoes as I mention in the Hub. There are all kinds of amazing, time saving things the Kindle can do that you don't know about until you own one.

Good to see you Frieda. Isn't that video a hoot? I love the fact that you can so easily copy quotes and make notes on the Kindle and I think it was you who told me that you can even share the notes with others or on Facebook-- perfect for a book club, or study group.

Hi Ginn-- good to see you too and I love being considered a young whippersnapper by somebody :-))))) thanks. The close to $400 price tag of the first generation Kindle put me off along with my fear, but when my son gave me one for Christmas in 2010, I was off to the races and have not looked back. Like you, I've read way more books than I could have any other way. I have yet to write an ebook or articcle, but I'm going to try my hand at it soon.

Hi ST--well, I think we all, in every generation deal with change-- it's the only thing that is constant from the day we get up on two legs and walk instead of crawling to the day we let go of life itself-- life is about change and the joy is in the journey-- but it is only human to want things to remain as they are and that's true too-- so as you say, we can accept it or not, but whatever we do, change will happen. Thanks for stopping by and for a great comment as always.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

Great article. I was thrilled when I bought my Kindle. I love the convenience of it and it is easy to carry in my purse and weighs less than books, even paperbacks. I love that you can change the font sizes too. I haven't given up books completely either, but my Kindle is usually the first thing I pick up! Thanks for an informative article.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi Suzette, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I suspect that within five years there will be very few traditional books published at all and e-books will have taken over completely. Kindle has not only changed us readers, but is totally changing the publishing world too. It's all very exciting, I think.


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I really want a Kindle now that I know more about it. It does seem like a way to remain engaged as reader but not have the same struggles as reading a conventional book. One friend I knew who had one said that it was easier on the eyes as well. So as soon as I can afford one, I will definitely invest in one. Great hub!


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

You won't be sorry, Alecia. It really opens up a whole new world and though the original investment is $79.00, once you own a Kindle, downloading newspapers alone is much cheaper than buying the paper variety and you can borrow Kindle books from your local library, Amazon's lending llibrary and there are tons of really good free Kindle books to be had too, so it really isn't expensive in the long run. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 4 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

I never knew I wanted a Kindle until Wonderful Husband gave me one. I think, like you, I thought that I didn't want one because it represented change.

How I use it when I am travelling, and also to read large/long books that I find uncomfortable to hold . I know that sounds pathetic - but one of my little niggles about getting less young is that my hands are often sore.

I still buy and borrow conventional books, but the Kindle offers something extra.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi 2Pats-- yup there are some times when only turning the pages of a paper book will do-- but for the most part, I have turned ito a total Kindle aficionado( well I guess technically I am an aficionada, but never mind) I am loving the Kindle-- thanks for stopping by. Always good to see you.


whowas 4 years ago

Can you believe I still don't have one? But it is on my list of must-haves. But the decision has once again been delayed by the new Kindle Fire models coming out - and just as I was nearly decided which I should swap my money for!

In any case, this was a great and insightful hub and a fun read, to boot. I am in complete agreement with your point of view on this. Written with your usual style, verve and panache.

Thank you!


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hello whowas-- thanks so much for your comment and the kind words. You are good for my writer's ego:-) and I would definitely have guessed that you too liked the feel of paper pages and books lined up on a shelf.

As for the Kindle Fire, I looked at them and they are interesting and a good alternative to the iPad, but they have an LED screen and that is not as easy on the eyes as the classic Kindle "e-ink" screen and since I really do use my Kindle just for reading books and newspapers, I think I'll pass on the Fire for the moment..... but I am keeping my eyes open as tablet technology gets better and better. Who knows what this Christmas will bring:-)


whowas 4 years ago

You are quite right that I love books. I have some rare first editions in my library as well as dog-eared paperbacks and something on just about everything, I think.

I think I am unlikely to make use of all the additional capacities that the Fire has to offer and an electronic screen that can easily be read in sunlight has huge practical appeal.

I hope you have kindled plenty of interest in this technology with this hub (how could I resist such a pun?) as I do think the leather-bound book and the state-of-the-art eReader can and must happily co-exist in the future.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

thanks whowas--I am happy to see you " re- KIndled" when it comes to interest in an e-reader. You are really going to enjoy your Kindle-- I just know it and am looking forward to your Hub on the subject.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

My kids gave me a Kindle for Mother's Day, assuming I would become an instant fan. It has taken me... truth be told I am still acclimating. I have become a reading fanatic, as I write book reviews for examiner.com. But I cannot transition to Kindle. I love Playaway audio books and check them out by the bundle from our local library. Currently I am shredding bundles of taxes with joy, as I listen to Paulo Coelho's Aleph.

I read this hub to inspire me again. I am flying to Minneapolis next week and promise to download (or is it upload) plenty of books on my Kindle and not to take a single book. This will force me to use what is truly a most thoughtful gift!!! Thank you so much!!!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

I felt like you just looked inside my brain and wrote exactly how I was feeling. I revolted against the kindle for awhile as well. In fact, I said the same thing - I prefer a real book! However, just recently I wanted to read a book from a fellow writer and it was an ebook - without having the kindle - I couldn't read it. So, I downloaded the kindle app to my phone. Now I have a kindle on my phone however it kills my battery and because my phone is big - for a phone - I would prefer the size of the regular kindle. I guess I am adding one to my Christmas list now as well! And my husband ones one too. We are jumping on the bus!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

It's so true that buying a Kindle doesn't mean giving up books. For me, the Kindle has been a god-send. Living in S. America means we don't have access to much reading material in English, so owning one has opened up a whole new world to me. It's also so easy to use while traveling. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.


robie2 profile image

robie2 3 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

and thank you for leaving such an interesting comment, vespawoolf. I hadn't thought about how useful a Kindle could be fore obtaining things to read in English while abroad...... another good selling point for the Kindle:-)


Vanderleelie profile image

Vanderleelie 3 years ago from New Brunswick, Canada

A good look at the intimidation factor that comes with the introduction of new technology. I think the Kindle provides affordable easy access to literature and offers a user-friendly reading experience. I particularly like the built-in dictionary feature that can be used at the moment you encounter an unfamiliar word, without the need for an additional reference book. It's not the same tactile experience one has when reading a paper and ink book, but the Kindle is a great invention with many positive aspects. Voted up and useful!


starstream profile image

starstream 3 years ago from Northern California

This is a very informative article. Can you write/self publish an e-book using a Kindle?


bridalletter profile image

bridalletter 3 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

I like my older Kindle too. There are educational, business and blogging books I purchase on it and fun reads. I buy my cookbooks, craftbooks and other picture filled books in physical form. I would like to get the newer version, just the book one, not the fire. It is so worthwhile, I take it on every trip I take and to every doctor's office of course. Thank you for sharing your personal experience with it.


robie2 profile image

robie2 3 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks for the comment, Vanderleelie. You and I are totally on the same page as far as the Kindle is concerned...... thanks for adding the bit about the dictionary too.

starstream-- you can indeed self publish on the Kindle-- go on over to Amazon.com and check out Kindle Direct publishing https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin

Hi bridalletter-- yes I really like having a plain old Kindle that is simply a dedicated e reader -- I do want a tablet but I'm not sure which http://hubpages.com/technology/How-Owning-an-Amazo... so I'll wait a bit and meanwhile just read books on my Kindle.


miscellanea profile image

miscellanea 3 years ago from Morocco

Very interesting :) great hub, thumbs up! I would consider buying a kindle fire so soon, and i'll refer people to your hub on my site :)


robie2 profile image

robie2 3 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

thank you so much miscellanea and I'm glad you enjoyed this one:-)


miscellanea profile image

miscellanea 3 years ago from Morocco

:) You're Welcome!


Olde Cashmere profile image

Olde Cashmere 3 years ago from Michigan, United States

I really enjoyed this article. I've been the same way with the Kindle as you were at first. Brilliant how you look at it now as an addition rather than a subtraction. Voting up, sharing, and rating useful and interesting :)


robie2 profile image

robie2 3 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks Cashmere--glad you liked this. It totally changed my life when I figured out that owning a Kindle did NOT mean I had to give up books. What a concept LOL


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

So very interesting and useful ;thanks for sharing and have a great day.

Eddy.


robie2 profile image

robie2 3 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks Eddy-- glad you enjoyed and found this useful:-)


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Great hub and so well thought of sounds a good experience.

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