To Kindle or not to Kindle? That is the Question*
Kindle Keyboard 3G
*(Other reading tablets are available)
I quite fancy having a Kindle. The convenience of something small and light to slip into my bag that can hold thousands of books sounds great to me, but will I miss holding an actual book? Each time I mention to friends and family that I want a Kindle I get shot down straight away “don’t do it! You’ll really miss the feel of real PAPER!” I don’t know why exactly I listen and allow myself to be talked out of it when none of them have even tried a Kindle and have no experience to base this advice on! Are they scared that books will become obsolete and eventually just fuel for fires (physically not metaphorically) and all that will remain will be a virtual library which could be lost at the push of a button? To be honest it is these conversations that have stopped me from buying one, although I do keep adding it to my Amazon wish list and my birthday is coming up so maybe I’ll get lucky.
But how much do I really want one?
I am completely addicted to my iPhone and would love to have an iPad. Hubby already has the iPad 2 and we can’t really justify having two in one household when I already have my own PC laptop to write on and my iPhone for internet browsing and game playing, so what do I really need an iPad for?
It’s pretty and does loads of stuff. I heart iPad’s. I want one just because….
Nope even though I love them I can’t justify having one and I even try to stay away from Hubby’s and let it be his alone, it was a birthday gift from me to him and not for us and if I were to get used to it I know it would "fall" into my handbag a lot.
So maybe a Kindle is a great idea for me, add to the fact that I am horrendously clumsy and it would hurt my pocket less if I were to ruin it or lose it. Let’s face it, the average hard back puts some serious weight in your handbag. But can a tablet seriously replace the look, feel and smell of a good old book? Then there’s the cost consideration, a basic kindle now costs £89 in the UK and a book can set you back anywhere between £5 and £12.99. I am an avid reader and even with the Waterstones 3 for 2 deals I can still spend a fortune every year on books. I have shelves full of books, most of which I will never read again, but I do try and lend them out to friends and family and a bundle of books have found new homes through a car boot sales. An eBookon Amazon can cost anything from a few pence (or some are free, mostly out of copyright classics) to £8 for a new release. I have a few favourite authors and like to buy their books as soon as they hit the shelves with little in the way of a discount and so the savings of a Kindle for someone like me are negligible.
Cost and Technical
The basic Kindle is affordable, but I want more than the basic. If I’m going to buy a Kindle I might as well get something a little higher up the range. The new Kindle Fire boasts a full colour screen using similar technology to the iPad and has a touch screen, full web browsing, video, music and email capabilities so it is much more flexible than the earlier models, but why have something that’s like an iPad when you can have an iPad? At $199 it is much cheaper than an iPad but doesn’t seem to offer the same bang for your buck, especially as you can now pick up a first generation iPad at a comparable price. BUT whilst you can get the Kindle software for iPad and of course read books, newspapers and magazines on the iPad using iBooks the screen is not designed for reading alone and so cannot boast that you can read a book comfortably in bright sunlight (but neither can the Fire!).
Then there’s the problem that in the UK we only have the choice of the All New Kindle and the Kindle Keyboard 3G but in the USA you can have a choice between Kindle, Kindle Touch, Kindle Touch 3G, Kindle Keyboard 3G, Kindle DX and the Kindle Fire. It is my understanding that the Kindle Fire will not be coming to the UK anytime soon as it relies on the Amazon Cloud which is currently only available in the USA. I have been reading a forum on Amazon UK about the Kindle Fire and it becomes apparent how little information there is available. Amazon has not officially explained if or when the Fire will come to the UK and the information in the forum seems to be speculation plus an odd reliable source thrown in here and there. One forum commentator wrote that he expects the iPad2 will crash in price in response to the Kindle Fire’s release as Apple will want to protect its market, but I don’t see why Apple has to worry. The iPad’s market seems secure enough and with the Kindle Fire only being available in the USA leaves the rest of the world open to the mercy of Apple and the iPad.
Flexibility and convenience
If I buy a Kindle it doesn’t mean that I am going to forgo books completely. I will still buy books and will always be delighted to receive them as gifts, but there is no doubt in my mind that the flexibility and convenience of a Kindle would do my back a great service travelling to and from work every day.
Ultimately I have to work out exactly what I want for my money and what exactly do I want to use it for and then make a decision. The Kindle so far is winning as I want something to read books on, but I would like the advantage of a colour screen and all the bells and whistles that come with the Fire but as it looks like Amazon won’t be bringing the good stuff to the UK any time soon I might stick to good old fashioned paper for a little bit longer.
Amazon Kindle Fire UK forum discussion
- Amazon.co.uk: Customer Discussions: Kindle Fire UK
A discussion in the kindle forum