Saturday, January 24, 2009

Early adopter

I got a Kindle for my 40th birthday. Her name is Sophia.

I admit I was skeptical at first. Reluctant. Shy.  (OK – I looked at Luca and wailed “Why? Why? Why did you buy me this? How could you do this to me?”)

Since that brief, myopic moment, I’ve discovered Kindle is not a gadget for gadget lovers – it’s a gadget for book lovers. It’s sleek and light, yet sweetly unassuming. The screen is sharp, high-resolution electronic paper (so, technically, not a screen but a surface.)

It’s very easy to use. You don’t need cables or a computer. There is no need to do any synching.

If you’re reading a book and come across a word you don’t know the meaning of, you can look it up. This has prompted me to look up words even when I do know what they mean, because it’s so quick and easy I can satisfy my curiosity about, say, their etymology.

My favorite part: If I’m holding Sophia and you recommend a good book, I can find it, download it and start reading it in less than a minute. Although it claims to use cell phone technology I think it’s a combination of pixie dust and telepathy. It’s not that I don’t understand how it works. It’s that it feels like nothing less than magic to see the book you want in your possession in less time than it would take you to find your car keys.

I can receive the New York Times (or any mayor international newspaper, magazine or blog) every morning before it even is available in print.

Kindle saves paper (there is nothing to print), and if yours breaks and you send it back to them they recycle it. It isn’t cheap, but hard cover books cost around $25, and the same book in the kindle version is $9.99. Books that aren’t the latest bestsellers can be yours (in under a minute) for less than that. For example, after running into a great quote (“it's a poor sort of memory that only works backward”), I decided I needed to re-read Alice in Wonderland and paid $2 for it. President Obama’s inaugural address is mine to read whenever I want, I don’t have to carry the newspaper clipping with me, and it was less than half a dollar.

On Kindle, you can not only read, download free samples (roughly the first chapter) of almost every book you’d like to check out, acquire books at the speed of light and carry 200 books in a device that’s less than half the size of a small laptop, you can also take notes, “clip” pages and archive them (in order), and listen to music. You can also use the “search” feature to find anything online. (What are the Seven Wonders of the Modern World? Give me a minute!)

To all you naysayers who insist you must hold a book, turn its smooth pages and smell that clean, new paper smell, I say to you: I understand. Why would such a convenient device and a book be mutually exclusive? Use Kindle for travel, and read books at home.




Nicole said...

Oooh, I want one! They were sold out last time I checked...
You know what's funny about your story - I call the talking navigation system in cars Sophia too. ;o)

Dushka said...

Ha ha! Maybe they're friends.

Miguel Cane said...

Me too! Alas, I'll wait for it to be affordable. Maybe I'll go extravagant on my 35th birthday. I don't know.

So! Book suggestions!

Oh, Dushka, you must read some Peter Straub! He is WONDERFUL. He is MARVELOUS.

I highly recommend "The Throat", "Koko", "Ghost Story" and my all-time favorite: "Floating Dragon".

Some of them are "genre" novels... but they are SO MUCH more than that.

Oh, Dush! I am envious, and excited and I wish I could recommend a TON of books.

Much love to both!

MC + Audrey

Dushka said...

You CAN recommend a ton of books!
So much to read. So little time.

IZ said...

Mmmm... no sé qué tanto me convence leer de una máquina. Disfruto leer en papel, doblarlo, escribir sobre las hojas, guardar el libro y regresar a él con el menos pretexto.

En fin, ya conoceré a sofía... ¡¡tres semanas para vernos!! :O)

Dushka said...

Iz, piensa esto: Sofia no toma el lugar de un libro. Hace cosas que el libro no hace. Puedes tener las dos cosas.



Anonymous said...

After holding out on computers until I was irretrievably hooked (as I always knew I would be, there's nothing compulsive about ME) I can say in advance that I'm sold on Kindle.
Where do I get one?

Dushka said...

The only place to get it is but you'll have to wait. They are sold out.