It’s official. I’m in love with my Kindle.

This is not a paid endorsement or advertisement. It’s just something I feel like I need to say publicly, since I was so adamant about how little respect/interest I had in the things. I told everyone who mentioned how great they were that I needed the cover, the weight of a book in my hand, the pages to thumb through… the FEEL of a book was just as necessary as the story. I wasn’t going to get that from some little tablet computer thingamajigger.

A large step toward changing my mind was when I started doing book reviews for Geek Speak Magazine. The books they send are ebooks (naturally), so I was spending days reading them on the computer instead of writing. The first book I read, I was interrupted by a storm and had to get offline. My friend mentioned that if I had an e-reader, I wouldn’t have to stop reading. The seed was planted, but it took a couple more books before I realized, “You know what? She’s right!” I would save myself a lot of time and energy if I just went to that place immediately with this particular friend.

So the idea ruminated for a while, I did some shopping, asked some people what they thought of the Nook or the Kindle, and finally I decided it was time to stop hedging and get off the fence. I bought a Kindle Keyboard (or 3rd Generation, or whatever you want to call it). It was like those days when you’re not very hungry, but you decide to go make something for dinner just because it’s time, and as soon as it starts cooking you get ravenous. I couldn’t wait to have my Kindle. I spent the time it took shipping (an ENDLESS… three days…) considering what to name it and what books I should get to stock its little shelves.

When it arrived, I was reading a paperback book (“The Invention of Everything Else” by Samantha Hunt, a love letter to Nikola Tesla, which everyone SHOULD READ) so I couldn’t leap right in, as much as I wanted to. I held off and then I set off on the grand experiment to see what it was like to read on the Kindle.

Most nights, I try to read 100 pages of a book. That first night, when I finally put the device down, I was on Page 200. The next night, 220 and I finished the book I was reading. I was blown away. Two hundred pages in one night? Who knew I was wasting so much time flipping pages? But it’s not just that. With the Kindle, it’s so accessible to get back into the book that there’s no sense of starting over. With a regular book, if you stop reading for a minute or two, you have to pick up the book, thumb to the bookmark, find your spot, and start where you left off. With the Kindle you just push a button and voila, there’s your spot. The Kindle is always close at hand, so during slow moments of the day, I’ll stop and read a chapter before I continue on with what I’m doing.

The Kindle just makes it easy to read. Isn’t that what we all want? I love to read, and I have a habit of grabbing books to make a surplus. I’ll get my library books two or three at a time, and I’ll buy books just to stack them on the edge of the table so I can pick one at my leisure when I finish whatever I’m currently reading. With the Kindle, I don’t have to. I don’t have to worry about “Well, when will I get back to the store?” or “You know, if I buy this now, with the shipping, it’ll get here in a week or two when I’ll probably need something new to read” or “Well, I’ll just buy it so it’ll be available.”

With the Kindle Store, you can finish Book 1 in a series, jump online, buy the second book and voila. No unnecessary purchases ahead of time, no waiting for the USPS or UPS to deliver it, just… instant gratification. It’s like living in the bookstore without the crick in your neck that you get from trying to read the sideways spines of the books. There is still the appeal of holding a book in my hands, to being able to thumb ahead and see how much of the chapter is left, but the only change to the actual reading is that I’m able to read more books faster than I ever could before. I got a 320 page book yesterday morning from Oklahoma’s Virtual Library (which, oh my GOD. It may not have the best selection, but still! It’s a library! Free books!) and I’m currently on Page 220. I’ll be finishing it tonight. Finishing a decent-sized book in 48 hours isn’t exactly new to me, but reading four books in a single week is quite a feat no matter who you are.

So yes, I am a convert.

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As mentioned in the last post (hey, I’m updating enough to rememebr the last post! Awesome!), I broke down and bought a Kindle. Yes, I went with Kindle instead of Nook because I do 90% of my book buying through Amazon, and it seemed odd to get something that would be parallel to that instead of just hooking myself right up to the Matrix.

It arrived yesterday, and I spent a good four hours just playing with it. I set up collections (which my friend assures me turned me into an Advanced Kindle User automatically), I figured out how to work with PDFs that have print too tiny to see (turn it sideways and the print is legible), and I listened to an automated woman’s voice read Underdogs to me (very, very, very bizarre. I was spontaneously laughing my tuches off).

So yes. I have caved and become one of the minions. But am I? A minion? Or am I still a minority? To be honest, I haven’t seen a whole lot of these things around in real life. Maybe that’s just because I never go out. It still seems like using a Kindle in public will open you up to all kinds of “advertisement” conversations.

RYAN: “Hey, Col, what’s that wacky thing you have there?”

COLIN: “This is a Kindle! From Amazon!”

RYAN: “I heard those things are complicated. And expensive!”

COLIN: “Not at all! And they hold thousands of books!”

RYAN: “Thousands? Tell me more, including features and perks and where I can purchase one of my very own.”

After years of refusing to jump into the water, I have waded in. Then I reached an underwater cliff and fell into the deep. It’s an amazing little device, and it’s like magic for a reader. All these books (I have around 40 stored on it right now, and that’s just PDFs and files I had lying around) at the touch of a button. Not only that, it is far too easy to just jump on Amazon’s Kindle store and buy more.

Last night, my experiment was buying a Lee Child short story (Kindle exclusive, so I couldn’t read it before) and reading it start to finish. The page turns were simple, the story was easy to follow, the observable delay was no worse than flipping a page or moving your eye from the bottom of one page to the top of the next. I don’t particularly like the flashing between pages, which sometimes looks like the entire thing is about to seize and die, but I can get used to that.

Another experiment I played with was during a repeat of Conan. His guest was Steve Martin, and he was there to promote a book. While they were talking about it, I got to the Kindle store, found the book, downloaded a sample, and started reading it as they were talking. Conan was showing tidbits, and I was scrolling through the actual thing. It’s like living in a bookstore, only without the walking around and the crick in your neck you get from turning your head sideways to read spines.

I went with the Kindle Keyboard, by the way. It ended up being a much cheaper option, and the side-keys that turn pages are extremely convenient to the way I’ve ended up holding the device when I read. I can turn a page just by tensing my thumb a little. I can read one-handed, freeing the other for juggling and writing quantum physics equations.

So I have a brand new toy, and it’s full of books. How did I resist this long?

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