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Are Kindles worth the hype?

Updated on May 17, 2010

If you haven't already given in to the Kindle craze taking readers everywhere, than you might be wondering if this is even for you. I was once in your shoes.

A commercial here, an advertisement there, I didn't really have a lot to go on when I was considering whether a Kindle was worth my hard-earned money. Even when I received one as a gift I was still unsure if I would get the "money's worth" or if I should sell it for something I'd use more. This led me on a quest to know more and from that moment on I've been sold.

Here were my list of concerns and what I found to counter them:

#1. Would I be able to get all of my favorites on the Kindle?

I am a lover of the classics and hardly grace the covers of modern day books. Surely, I would be hard-pressed to find my Sherlock Holmes along with my other well-read favorites. Much to my surprise and obvious joy, Amazon has a massive list (well over a million) of out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books for you to download. Did I mention they were free?

#2. What would I be shelling out to enjoy my Kindle?

If you read my previous point than you probably already gathered that I have hardly spent any money on books. Since I prefer the older style writing, I downloaded hundreds of books from their "free" selections. Amazon also has limited-time promotional offers where they showcase a few titles for a free download.

Amazon has over half a million titles to choose from and they range from $.99 cents to $9.99 and sometimes higher. The way I figured it is, you are paying less than you would be if you were to buy an actual copy.

#3. How easy is it to build my library?

I love this feature! I read a title I wanted, clicked the "buy now" button and voila! within seconds I had the full text on my Kindle ready to read and enjoy! I should also mention my 6" Kindle holds 1,500 titles, plus I can store more in my Amazon account where I can retrieve more titles anytime I want. The Kindle also comes in an 8" version which holds 3,500 titles. Did I mention the 3G Wireless feature that allows me to do this from the comfort of my couch? I can go to Amazon without having to plug into a computer and access all the other titles I have archived. I can also buy more books from my Kindle and use search engines like Wikipedia. That sold me right there.

#4. Would I prefer my regular books over this slim, new technology?

If you are an avid reader than you know there is something to be said about holding a book in your hands and becoming enraptured with the written words between the covers. Would I lose that in a Kindle? I will testify there is no love lost since I have been reading my new Kindle. In fact, I have read more in the last few weeks with my Kindle than I have in the last year. The ease of "carrying your library with you" has been indescribable. Kindle was apparently made by an avid reader as they resembled the Kindle so closely to an actual book. By using electronic-ink display technology they are able to make their screen resemble a page from a book. You just might have to see it to believe it.

#5. Am I going to get tired reading all day on my Kindle?

Since Kindles do not come with a backlight as a computer screen does, you have no glare and no strain on your eyes. I will say this, since the Kindle does not have a backlight, you will need a light to read at night, just as you would an actual book. Amazon has clip-on lights for the Kindle you can choose from.

Did I mention the battery life is amazing? No? Well, the Kindle lasts up to a week on a single charge and a week longer if you turn the wireless off. I'd say that's pretty impressive.

If you are still not sold on the idea of a Kindle entering your world, allow me to try to sweeten the deal.

  • You can hold the Kindle in either hand and turn the page for numerous reading positions.
  • You can carry your personal PDF files with you. A plus for someone who likes to write. (That would be me.)
  • Aside from books you can also download magazines, newspapers and blogs.
  • You can download sample chapters from books before deciding to purchase them.
  • You can charge your Kindle using a regular outlet or by using your computer.
  • For those who like their audio books, you may also download those to your Kindle.
  • Kindle has a text-to-speech feature for when you need your eyes elsewhere.
  • There are no wireless fees and no wireless hook-ups.
  • Need your books in large print? No worries, Kindle allows you to adjust the font size to your specifications.
  • You can rotate the screen from portrait to landscape.
  • Are you ready for this one? You can even download MP3 files so you can listen to music while you read.

I think it's safe to say the Kindle can do everything but take out the trash. If you were not sure before, I hope I have given you enough information to make an informed decision. I love my Kindle and all I can say is, the Kindle is definitely worth the hype!


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