Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Kindle and I...................

Two years ago at Christmas, my adult daughter asked for a Kindle (more precisely, she asked for gift certificates to get a Kindle). With some trepidation, I ordered a second Kindle for myself, not even sure that I would use the darned thing.  Since then, my Kindle and I have had a sometimes uneasy, sometimes exploratory relationship. Lately, we seem to be getting more comfortable with each other, but it's taken awhile to get there.

When I first got my Kindle I opened it and explored all the options. I could see the attraction, but I rarely, if ever used the thing. You see, I didn't buy fiction books-ever.  I did for many years, and had vowed not to do that again-Amazon had gotten too much money from me already. That's one of the prices of living in a foreign country with no English Library to speak of.  Now that I was back in the states, I figured that's what the library is for, after all.  By looking at Amazon or another site and checking out their pre-orders, one can reserve books at the library, often without a waiting period. I was reading as many as five books a week fromt he library-at no cost to me. I purchased piles of non fiction/reference books, but only after checking them out from the library.  I usually purchased those books used through Amazon, sometimes for a penny.

The first time my Kindle and I became more aquainted was on my first long road trip. I wanted to be able to read in the hotels in the evening, or at restaurants while having dinner (depending on the location and other patrons).  Books were bulkier (even though I was driving).  I ordered a group of books on my Kindle and I hit the road. It was freeing to have something as thin as the Kindle in my bag-it didn't hamper my long walks in the evening but was still available if I wanted to eat and read once I had found the restaurant of choice.  All and all, I appreciated the kindle-although I did not appreciate the costs. The Kindle may have been designed to deliver books at a cheaper price, but the cost is often equal to a discounted hard back book. That was not-and is not-in my budget.  So there it was, my double edged sword.

I put the Kindle aside, thinking I would simply save it for those three or four times a year when I hit the road. Then I began looking for free books on Amazon, as well as discounted fiction.  While my current fiction was not available on the free list, there were earlier books from authors I had not read. I bought a couple reasonable priced non fiction books-on on selling and displaying quilts. I found out that one of my thick as a brick texbooks WAS available on Kindle, and I certainly took advantage of that.  My use was irregluar and I still had a take it or leave it attitutde.

Then disaster entered my home, in the form of a one year old rescued puppy. Leaving the puppy locked in the main part of the house, off I went to get a crate for the little darling (what can I say, my other dogs were fourteen years old each!).  Returning home an hour later, said puppy had chewed four electrical wires,  destroyed two dog pillows, assaulted numerous other items-and eaten my Kindle!  He had also peed on the carpet post electrical shock. Welcome to puppyhood, and what was I thinking!!!

Not sure what to do, I set the Kindle aside and let it be. I was not even sure it was worth my while to reorder the thing. In the end, I finally realized I was wrong (it happens-not often, but it happens). I read alot. I read in the bathtub, while sitting on the steps in the pool. I read in bed, with my frozen shoulder propped on two pillows. These were often places where I felt uncomfortable taking my paper books due to my grace and coordination (my Kindle has a plastic cover).  My good library is seven to eight miles away from my home. It used to be on my "errand route" but as I have adjusted my life, it is no longer. It requires a special trip, usually in crazy Saturday shopping traffic. Sometimes, to be honest, I just wanted to pick a book (or newspaper or magazine) to read then and there. When it comes to reading, I am not good at delayed gratification.  So I ordered a new Kindle.

Technology being what it is, my new Kindle was cheaper than my old Kindle-even though it was a new model.  This model has a touch screen instead of buttons. As well as making me happier, it was a reminder to myself that I probably should not get technology as soon as it appears.

The end result is that I have been using my Kindle more and more. I still love paper books-and would be distraught to see them disappear. I still get concerned with costs, and as a frugal gal on a fixed income have to double check myself and ask what will give each time I push that I Click button. There are many books (especially non fiction reference) that are really not appropriate for wireless delivery. I ordered this do it yourself book about how to make and set up your own rain barrell  and do other self sufficient homeowner things. Although it has pictures in Kindle, I ended up getting the book itself.

On the other hand, I can view my Kindle books on my laptop (as I did when I studied my textbooks) and even on my smart phone. My friend Sandy from Germany sent me a link to a site called Pixel of Ink. I encourage you kindle owners to check it out. It links to six or so free books, three times a day. I could (and do)  search the free library at Amazon itself for various choices.  However, as I said before,  I tend to read current detective fiction or non fiction books related to my business or hobbies and these were few and far between. Pixel of Ink lists books that are temporarily free (if you don't download them on the day listed, they may return to their normal price).  This option has given me more free reading choices. I have just started the first book in the Dana Stabenow detective series and am looking forward to reading more.

I'll never use just my Kindle for reading, and I don't have a Kindle that acesses the internet. I figure a smart phone and a laptop do those well enough. But for now, I'm happy with my Kindle. Who would have thought it.

And now I'll go back  to my reading-in this case, the newest James Patterson, and see if I can finish my book in a day. 

Do you have a Kindle? Have you thought about getting one? 


  1. I have had a Barnes and Noble Nook for a couple of years and LOVE it. I weighed the Kindle against the Nook and the Nook won out for me.

    Check out for free and cheap ebooks. I have found a lot of great free ones there. I also check out ebooks from my library to read on my Nook. I have a few hundred books on it and have only paid for a few of them.

  2. Does your library offer downloadable books? Most libraries do now.

  3. Anon, yes they do have some downloadable books. Frankly, more nook compatible than ebook. I use them on occasion.

  4. Frances I do know other people who like the Nook as well. Yes, the library is a great resource and there are other sites too that I have to still explore.

  5. One nice thing I've enjoyed about my Kindle is the ability to download books written 50+ years ago, and therefore in the public domain, for free. One of my book clubs is hooked on classics, and most of them can be obtained through Amazon for $0. I also appreciate being able to share the books I do end up purchasing (few and far between these days) with my spouse, who's Kindle account is linked to mine.

    What I don't like is that you can't pass books onto friends or family to read . . . or donate them to a good cause. Both reasons why I buy ebooks judiciously.

  6. I love my kindle. I even have the app on my iPad. I just finished reading Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain. It was free. In fact many older books are free on amazon. Classics never go out of style.

    Be well.


  7. I have Nook, Kindle and Sony - lately I've been using the Kindle more since I have books on it since it was the one chargd up fully! all of mine were refurbs and under $100 - think around $80 or so. my library's overdrive system has added a lot of kindle compatible ebooks though all the ebook selections seriously lag. I still prefer a 'real' book but I have to admit to less clutter with an ereader. I also have a lot of free ebooks on my kindle for pc taht someone posts links to frequently on a fitness forum I frequent - recipes, vitamins and various other stuff. I forgot the site she wades through for the information.

  8. Tamara -I agree that its lovely to get classic and older books for free and I do that. Unfortunately much of my reading is current detective fiction and that I have to pay for. In my book group we altnernate a classic something current and its nice to get those books for free.

  9. Susanna-wow you have multiple readers huh? I was so surprised that when I bought my new kindle touch it was only 100 bucks since when I bought the original a year and a half ago it was 175. LIke you I still ike the feel of a real book, so I pay attention carefully to my kindle purchases.

  10. I love my Kindle. Mostly because I live three hours from the nearest bookstores. Our local library rarely carries any really new books. Recently they had Gone With the Wind on the new books shelf. Unfortunately, Amazon or the publishers are raising the prices. This morning I browsed an e-mail from Amazon about new books coming out and found some listed at $19.99. I will not be purchasing those. I've also found that with popular fiction (I also like mysteries), I can buy them at Costco for a dollar or two more than the Kindle price. I'd rather get the hardbacks in that case and share them with friends.

  11. I will admit to being blessed with three libraries within 4 miles (we live at the apex of 3 cities), which is why I rarely buy books anymore. Most of my book clubs (I belong to three) pick their selections several months in advance, which allows me plenty of time to request them from one of my local libraries.

    One of my book clubs is actually sponsored and held at one of my local libraries. They pull the books from the shelves in advance, and have them waiting for us to check out, which is brilliant!

  12. I have a Nook that I love to use when we travel but I can't seem to give up my love for the real thing!!

  13. I have an original kindle -- no touch screen -- and I like it a lot. As you say, it's great for traveling (don't have to carry all those heavy books.) And it's great for getting books when there's a long waiting list at the library. I recently downloaded "Gone Girl" on my kindle, b/c when I placed a hold at the library, I was number 326!

    Kindle . . . doesn't replace books, it supplements them.

  14. I love actual books. I love holding them, the varying textures of font to paper type and size, that sort of thing. Unhappily, however, my rheumatoid arthritis is weakening my hands and making it painful to hold books. I have a flip-over cover for my Kindle that can be propped in front of me, even in the bathtub. I'm reading more and more books on my Kindle for that reason. However, even as I type this, the book beside me is an actual book, loaned to me by a daughter. Now I'm grateful that I have both, actual books and digital books available via the Kindle. As a writer with several books published in the 90's, I wonder what the future will bring, however, and feel saddened by some of the changes brought about by digital publishing.


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