(Here's a reprint of my column from Crucial Pop this week)
All of my life, I've loved books…everything about books.
Preserving the spines while I read (I hate cracked spines!).
The smell of old books - I will literally stuff my nose into a book and inhale the scent of old paper and ink (much the amusement and horror of patrons and coworkers!).
The rasp of turning page after page.
So I was, let's say, incredibly curious to try out reading a novel on a Kindle a couple of weekends ago.
A couple of months ago, we bought my father a Kindle for his *cough* 70th birthday. An avid reader - and Amazon shopper - we thought this would make an ideal gift for him, and indeed, he was thrilled.
And this weekend, I was able to wrest it out of his hands long enough to download a book of my own to read (Stephanie Laurens' A Fine Passion, if anyone is interested...a novel of the Bastion Club series, set in Regency England).
Within 60 seconds of purchasing the novel ($5.59 on Amazon), it was on the Kindle and ready for reading! I like the ease of the Kindle - simply labeled buttons with "next page" available on either the left or right side of the device, as well as “previous page”, menu and home buttons. It's easy to hold and lightweight, though my father did go ahead and purchase a leather cover for it (a wise investment to protect the Kindle). You can easily adjust the font size to your liking, and when you hit "next page", poof! The next page appears in the blink of an eye.
Most amazing to me is the readability of the device - no matter if you tilt it, twist it away from you, tip it down, you can still see the words with perfect clarity - unlike some computer or electronics screens where you have to be directly in front of it. And there is no eye strain, like I normally get from reading online too long. I noticed no strain at all, despite reading pages and pages in one sitting!
Most dangerous for me - in addition to the ease of downloading books for a small price! - is the small counter at the bottom that tells you precisely how far you've read in the novel. As of this writing, I'm 81% through the novel, but I simply COULD NOT put it down last night until I reached 75%. Why? I don't know, but I could see this counter turning in a competitive reading sport for me, if I were to buy a Kindle of my own - or to lead to several late nights of reading!
Overall, I really did enjoy my experience with the Kindle, though the price is still too prohibitive for me to make the leap myself, especially when I work in a public library with thousands of free books to choose from every day…
I can't wait to see how the evolution of e-book readers continues, but this seems like a heck of a leap forward!