My mom, who is very technosavvy, gave my father a Kindle for Christmas. For those who haven’t encountered one yet, a Kindle is a wireless reading device developed by Amazon. They took 3 years to work out the kinks and get just what they wanted, and it’s really slick. But my dad is not as much of a techie as Mom is, and she got annoyed with it, too, so they ended up giving it to me as an early birthday present.
I am a happy camper, being something of a geekette at heart. And the Kindle was on my Amazon Wishlist as soon as it was announced, though I never expected anyone who actually give me one. As a librarian, I’ve been following developments with e-book readers which parallels the famous VHS/BetaMax or BlueRay/HD DVD battles in other technology arenas.
This little Kindle is a winner in my book. The non-glare screen is clear and easy to read, with adjustable font size, logical navigation buttons, and a tiny little keyboard at the bottom. There’s also this kind of funky navigation wheel and an option to search for text, add highlights and comments, and look words up in a stored dictionary.
There’s a built in wireless feature that lets the Kindle connect to a network without a computer, special accounts or monthly billing. Using this wireless connection, the Kindle can download new books (up to 180! – that will last a nice long trip) or access subscription newspapers such as the NY Times or Washington Post.
Right now I have only managed to read the instruction manual. But hey, it’s a good place to start. My parents loaded two books, including the very long Pillars of the Earth, and today I downloaded a sample of something else to see how that downloading worked. Fast, very fast.
We’re talking in my work place about a switch from focus on format to focus on content. Really, what matters here is what I’m reading and ultimately I don’t really care if it’s in a book with a cover or an e-book with screen and buttons. As long as it’s easy to hold and navigate, it sure is a lot more convenient to have one little device hold everything I might want to read for a while all in one place. I can take it with me on a plane or to the beach, read (and synch) it on the train or sitting in a hotel room, giving me content at my fingertips.
I like it. The future is charging up in my living room. Pillars of the Earth awaits.