E-book Readers: An Introduction to Amazon Kindle and Amazon Kindle DX
The Amazon Kindle and, more recently, the Amazon Kindle DX have taken the digital world by storm…and managed to convert thousands of avid readers of print books into digital e-book reader junkies. Until very recently, the extremely popular Kindle was only available within the United States, but was released to the rest of the world as books become available in various languages and formats, the Kindle unit itself has been adapted for charging in other countries (by virtue of its ability to charge via a USB cord off of a computer), and Amazon’s wireless network for the Kindle has acquired a much larger coverage area. While many have at least heard about the Kindle and Kindle DX or seen some of the advertisements proliferating the internet, a large percentage don’t see how the Kindle is any different than travelling with a laptop or one of the many mobile devices that allow digital downloads.
Why Choose the Kindle or Kindle DX?
At first the price may throw people off -- $190 for a Kindle or $360 for a Kindle DX – but the kind of value it brings to the avid book buyer makes it worth another look. Let’s start with the basics. The Amazon Kindle got its start with mainly traveling professionals because of its size, easy portability, and viewing and loading capabilities. Each Kindle approximates the size of a magazine, from the Reader’s Digest sized Kindle with a 6” screen to the full-sized magazine size of the Kindle DX with a screen just shy of 10”. These sizes make the Kindle feel comfortable and natural for bouts of prolonged reading.
Possibly one of the most popular feature the Kindle and Kindle DX boast is a “digital paper” screen. In other words, it’s a screen without glare that’s made to be just as easy on the eyes as looking at paper, and easy to see even in full sunlight, unlike the average laptop screen. Next is the battery life. How many of you have ever been on a long bus or airplane ride or a prolonged business trip, only to have your stash of laptop batteries depleted before the hallway point of your journey? If all you’re doing is reading, then the Kindle can save money on all those extra batteries and a lot of frustration. On average, a Kindle battery will only need to be recharged once a week, or once every two weeks if it’s not connected to the wireless network. Whenever it does need recharged, it only takes about four hours to do it.
What Can I Do With the Kindle or Kindle DX?
Amazon’s original Kindle has a holding capacity of about 1,500 books, so unless you’re keeping your entire reference library, pleasure reading, and then some on hand it’s not likely to fill up any time soon. The Kindle DX, on the other hand, does cater to anyone that might possibly need more space, having enough room for up to 3,500 books to be stored on it. Along with reducing the frustrations of running out of battery, the Kindle also ensures that you won’t run out of books either…it does not need to be hooked to a computer to reload, but instead works off of its own internal wireless network connection to pull Kindle e-books right off of Amazon almost anywhere you happen to be.
That’s great, but with such a specialized format the number of books you can read doesn’t really matter if there’s nothing available that’s of interest to you, right? To date, Amazon’s Kindle library boasts close to 1 million books, and more are being added all the time. In addition, the Kindle is also a PDF reader, allowing people to download their own files and books onto the unit, including close to 2 million free public domain e-books. The books available for download include bestsellers, classics, every imaginable genre, and even textbooks. In addition, books intended for Kindle and Kindle DX can also be read on other devices including a PC or Mac, iPad, or most smart phones…and each unit can be set to sync to keep you on the exact page you left off on, regardless of which device you use to access that book.
Getting tired of reading altogether, get carsick or airsick from focusing on print, or have poor near vision? Kindle and Kindle DX are equipped with text-to-speech capabilities that will work with most books and documents that can be loaded on to the units. For those who are traveling or otherwise wish to keep their books to themselves, there are many different types of earphones available on the market that work with the Kindle.
How are Kindle E-books Any Better than Print Books?
Price and availability – on average, the Kindle e-book costs about half the price of the same book in print, with the added bonus that there’s no shipping fees and no wait times. From the time a book is purchased, it takes about a minute to load onto a Kindle or Kindle DX unit and be ready for viewing. Many books are available for as little as $1.00, while most ring in at or below $10.00. Add to this the fact that the Kindle library now has about 31,000 textbooks and required reading books for college students, and it’s easy to see why so many people have gotten excellent value out of their Kindle units despite the initial purchase price.
Space saver – every bibliophile knows the scene…their well-kept den with a nice, well-ordered bookshelf that, over time, simply gets overwhelmed by the products of many years of avid reading. In many cases these are books that the owner intends to read again, or uses periodically for reference purposes, but eventually those books end up spilling over to side tables, dressers, extra bookshelves, and more. These print books have to be kept in order, kept clean, and are at high risk of damage from the many different elements in an average household. On the other hand, a digital e-reader such as the Kindle can hold the same number of books as a dozen floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and there’s no maintenance required to keep the books well-organized and reading-ready.
Environmentally friendly – the Kindle and Kindle DX are designed to require a minimal amount of power in order to operate, and throughout its lifetime is likely to use much less energy than is required to produce and transport a single print book. In addition, when you’re done reading the book there’s nothing extra to get in the way and eventually wind up in the dumpster.
New Kindle and Kindle DX DevelopmentsWith Kindle’s recent release to the rest of the world outside of the US, Amazon now strives to continue to expand their wireless network to ensure that there are very few places where you can’t load your Kindle or Kindle DX. In addition, Amazon’s vast catalog of millions of books are all potential targets for future formatting into e-books, and the company is obtaining permission for more of them every day. Kindle is also being expanded to include more books in languages other than English, and are now categorized not only according to genre, but also other categories of interest such as New York Bestsellers, Oprah’s Book Club, Award Winners and more. Also, if you’re the kind of reader who loves to share your experiences and choice quotes with friends, the Kindle and Kindle DX are set up to allow you to post passages that you’re reading directly to some social networking sites.