25 October 2010

A lover of print books gets an Amazon Kindle.

This chap, Roger C Parker has summed it up beautifully.  The conflicting feelings I experienced when I first saw my birthday present in its sleek leather case... just waiting to seduce me.

I'll let you hear it through the words of a bestselling author, as he's covered it beautifully for anyone who might be tempted to purchase one of these in future :)

Bookie Bird. 

Initial impressions: A lover of print books gets an Amazon Kindle

Posted September 19th @ 6:51 pm by Roger C. Parker |  Email | Print
kindle-two-5I’ve been reading and (too often) buying printed books all my life. I try to thin my collection, but it never works. I can always find a reason to keep one of my books dating back to high school and college on the off-chance I may return to my original dream of becoming a history professor.
Accordingly, I consider myself a confirmed print book lover. I love the pleasure of holding a well-produced, well-written book that’s “engineered” to fit well in the hand, like books by Harry Beckwith, Bob Burg, or Malcolm Gladwell…books that will remain in my shelves long after their 3, 4, or 5th reading.

Then, in anticipation of an upcoming birthday…

….my family presented me with an Amazon Kindle.
At first, I had mixed feelings about it. I felt sort of guilty about “switching” sides in the print versus e-book debate. Accordingly, I was polite, yet reserved.

But, that was yesterday

On the way home, I started to play with the Kindle, (Luckily, Betsy, my wife, was driving.) And, needless to say, I didn’t stop to read the instructions, and just played it by ear.
Wow! I quickly became hooked…but, hooked in a different way than I expected. I ended up spending quite a bit of time with it yesterday afternoon and this evening.
Here, for the record, are my initial impressions. I plan to return in future posts to see if my initial impressions remain as important as they at Hour 37 of my Kindle ownership.

Initial Kindle impressions

Here are a few of my positive initial impressions of the Amazon Kindle:
  1. Readability. I had worried that I wouldn’t enjoy reading on the Kindle, if the Kindle would be “transparent” after I started reading, i.e., would I be “aware” that I was reading off a 6-inch screen, and would I quickly tire of reading. By the time I got home, having downloaded several sample chapters of my favorite books–Robert Parker’s Early Autumn, in particular  (no relation)–I completely forgot I was reading off a screen in a moving car. The Kindle’s default combination of type size, type design, and line length provided a sharp and easy-to-view reading environment.
  2. Ergonomics. As someone who has had a love-hate, often violent, relationship with every cell phone I’ve ever owned, I wondered how comfortable the Kindle would feel in my hand, and whether or not I’d have trouble using it. Would there be an endless series of menus and control keys? Would I accidentally turn the pages forward or backwards while reading? Would I have to ask for help or, gasp!, read the instructions? No, No, and No. Best of all, was was light and easy to read in bed.
  3. Sample chapters. One of my most important favorable impressions was the joy of being able to instantly download and begin reading sample chapters from books that I might be interested in. The lack of commitment, i.e., no need to visit the author’s website and share my e-mail signature in order to obtain a sample chapter, encouraged me to download books I wouldn’t otherwise have considered purchasing. And, accordingly, my Wish List has grown. Obviously, as an author, the Kindle’s free sample downloads won’t help me build my mailing list. But, on balance, I’m comfortable with the trade off of a slight drop in website traffic in exchange for exposure to additional new prospects.
  4. Blogs. The big surprise was how quickly I was able to use the Kindle to subscribe to many of the blogs published by my favorite authors, and the number of new blogs that I discovered in the Blog area of the Kindle Bookstore. I’m not an RSS-type, so I sometimes fail to check the latest posts from many of my favorite authors and marketing voices. Within a few hours, I had signed-up for the free trials of a couple of dozen blogs, and I’ve enjoyed getting caught up using the Kindle in between projects or while reading in bed. (After 14-day free trials, charges 99 cents or $1.99 a month for subscriptions to most blogs.)
My only initial concern was a slight disappointment with the search capability of the Kindle Bookstore. Having come to depend on the robustness of the online search, with its endless inventory and in-depth suggestions and revelations about  titles, I didn’t experience the same serendipity with the Kindle’s search feature. But, in the context of what it can do, this is more a quibble than a complaint.

What about you?

Are you also a print book lover newly-exposed to the Amazon Kindle? What do you like most about it? Are you using the Kindle to complement print books that you continue to purchase, or are you purchasing Kindle books in place of print books? Even better, have you found yourself buying the print version of a book you especially like after you’ve purchased the Kindle version? Are you as pleased with the ability to receive and read your favorite blogs on the Kindle as I am? Am I overlooking any Kindle features I should be paying attention to? Share your experiences and impressions as comments, below!


ChickieChirps said...

It sounds (and looks) amazing! I want one! Imagine being able to find and download the next book in the series you are reading straight away instead of reading the sample chapter provided in the previous book, wanting to get it, and then forgetting all about it next time you are in a book store!!!


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