First off, let me say that my wife bought a new Kindle 3G wireless for me just before Christmas & I am absolutely thrilled with it. For some time now, I have been attempting to reduce my “hard” volume library by obtaining digital volumes or pdf versions. This is especially helpful with storage space, however, being an old school reader, I have always enjoyed the feel of holding a book in my hand & have never quite transitioned to computer pleasure reading. That is, until now. The Kindle allows me the flexibility & benefits of digital documents, including word search capacity, with the feel of holding a book.
This purchase was prompted by me geeking out over the Kindle as a gift option for our son. We had discussed this as an option, and my son had even hinted toward this, but when I came home with the results of my research on the reader, well, let’s just say I was pretty hyper and she decided to get one for me as well. The downside was that I had mine a few weeks before Christmas, but had to hide it when my son came home for Christmas break from JBC. Since he works with me on a part time basis during the school year, he was in and out of the office during his break and I couldn’t risk getting my Kindle out to read for fear that he would figure out his gift. So… no Kindle for about 2 weeks… it was a long time to go having been bitten by the Kindle bug.
Anyway, following the gift exchange & my son ~finally~ opening his Kindle, I could get mine out & settle in for some serious pleasure reading. Shortly after getting my Kindle I purchased a couple historic novels by Newt Gingrich on the life of George Washington. The 1st was entitled “To Try Men’s Souls” and the 2nd was “Valley Forge”. I was dreading having to break my reading up, but managed to get by rather well and definitely enjoyed getting back into the books post Christmas. I would easily recommend these books to anyone interested in this era of American History, or in the character of George Washington. I’ve always admired the American soldier, but, these novels have interwoven history so well that I have a renewed respect of the sacrifices made in battle.
Now, let me share a few observations about the Kindle, its uses and some helpful software to enhance your digital reader experience.
First, Kindle plays well with pdf documents, which worked well for me since, as I stated earlier, I’ve been working on enlarging my digital library in an attempt to relieve the space necessary to accommodate my ever increasing library. The downside is that the pdf documents to not retain their links functionality because they are imported in as an image format. (There is a simple solution to this that I’ll address in a moment.)
Second, the form, function & flexibility of the Kindle makes reading so very pleasant. It keeps you posted with a percentage of the document read which I find compels me to read more/longer than I would typically. The page turning function is well thought out & reflects excellent research and design. Not being backlit is a great feature for those of us who live in front of a PC for a huge number of days and the “page” design is very pleasant and easy on the eyes. The ability to create categories within your library is very intuitive and simple. I’m not entirely sure that I understand the technology employed with the “ink” text display, but I like it & find myself thinking that it could be employed with PC use as well since the display is very crisp. Overall… the only feature that feels awkward to me is the navigation while in web browsing mode, however, I was not attracted to Kindle by its web browsing prowess, so internet browsing is a bonus to me.
Thirdly, the ability to easily add or remove volumes makes the Kindle a very flexible tool to me. Let me explain a little of my thinking here and why it’s a bonus feature to add & remove so easily. I put a lot of time in study & research. Often, since by nature of my career, my days are filled with interaction with people and less productive office study time, my evening and nights are packed with reading and research. This means that I stay in my office until late in the night (or early morning) or, pack large volumes of books and a laptop to come home with me. Now, I can create documents in my preferred software (Adobe inDesign CS4) and with a little help from a conversion software add them to my Kindle in a fully functional mobi format. This allows me to be in my sweats, on the couch at home with my wife, rather than sitting in my office alone. 🙂 I can keep documents in pdf if necessary, or I can also convert them into mobi format for Kindle.
Now, here is another little bonus that my son discovered & shared with me. I’ll share it with you now because that’s the kind of guy I am. Calibre is a wonderful, free software service which will allow you to convert any document into your preferred digital reader format. I have friends who have chosen other reader types, and Calibre can handle their format as well. Basically, Calibre feels a lot like iTunes in that it has a great GUI interface which allows drag & drop function to create a library of any document type, then convert it to the format of choice. After conversion, it also helps you to upload your library (or remove books as necessary) to your reader. The interface is very intuitive and this is a great find for me… thank you Calibre.