What is Kindle
The question of “What is Kindle?” sounds like asking “What is water?” nowadays. But, if you really don’t know, a kindle is a hand held electronic device developed by Amazon that can be connected to the internet. Users can download books, magazines, newspapers, movies, and apps. Once downloaded, users can watch downloaded movies, read downloaded books, magazines, or newspapers at any time: even when internet is not available. Many apps can also be played or used when internet is not available to the user. When connected to the internet Kindle users can send or receive instant messages to friends, family, and co-workers if a texting app is installed. A Kindle is even capable of browsing the World Wide Web when an internet connection has been established! Kindles are 100% portable, lightweight, and thin for easy transport.
- Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch thick. As thin as most magazines.
- Lightweight: Only 10.2 ounces. Lighter than a typical paperback.
- Wireless: 3G wireless uses cell phone networks so you can download new books anytime and anywhere a cell phone can be used. No monthly fees or hunting for a wi-fi spot!
- Fast Downloads: Download a new book in under 60 seconds, no computer required.
- Long Battery Life: Read for days without recharging.
- Read to Me Feature: You can set the kindle to read to you when you get tired of reading. It even has a headphone jack.
Is Kindle better than mobile apps?
A kindle has a larger screen or viewable area than traditional mobile devices or cellular
telephones. This makes reading, watching movies, and using apps an easier and more
pleasurable experience for users. The price of a kindle is comparable to that of a smart phone, and the only services that are available on a cellular telephone and not on a Kindle are those of text messages and sending or receiving calls.
So far I really like my Kindle, and it has quickly become one of my favorite gadgets. But I’d still like to see the technology improve, especially the overall speed of the device.
The Kindle reminds me of the pads from Star Trek: The Next Generation. When I use the thing, I feel like Wesley Crusher reviewing engineering schematics in Ten Forward. I mean that in a good way. I know this tech is still evolving, but I already get the sense that we’re on the cusp of a major transformation. I feel I’m witnessing the future of reading when I use my Kindle. As I sit in my office right now, I’m staring at hundreds of print books on my bookshelves and thinking, your days are numbered. And that includes my own book (which by the way does have a Kindle version and is currently in the top 1% of Kindle books by sales rank).
By far my favorite aspect of using the Kindle is the shareware marketing element coupled with the instant gratification. When I go to a bookstore, I like to browse books on the shelf. I’ll often read a chapter right there in the store to decide whether the book is worth my time and money. But many times they don’t carry the book I want, or they have a weak selection on the topic that interests me. And then I may have to wait in line to buy, especially during the holiday season. When I shop online, I get a bigger selection and better prices, but I have to wait days for my order to arrive. Even with the Amazon Prime program, which gives me free two-day shipping on every order for $79 per year, I still have to wait two days or pay extra for overnight shipping. That’s too long if I find a book I want on a Saturday morning and would like to read the whole book that weekend. I’m used to finishing books within a day or two after I buy them.
With my Kindle I get the best of both worlds. I can shop online with a vast selection since almost 300,000 books are now available on Kindle. When I find a book I like, I can instantly download a free sample chapter and start reading immediately. Then if I like it, I can buy the full book right away, usually for $9.99 or less. This whole process is superb. It’s not perfect — I still love to be able to thumb through the entire book like I can in a bookstore — but it’s a huge step in the right direction.
The Kindle also eliminates the hassle of shelving print books in my home. Erin and I own hundreds of books, and they take up a lot of space. I can donate the ones I don’t need to keep, but I still want many of them available for reference. The Kindle makes this very easy because it can hold up to 1500 books on the device itself.
I think it would be especially cool if Amazon gave you the Kindle version when you bought the physical version of a book too. It would also be nice to get Kindle versions of the print books I’ve already bought from Amazon over the years. They certainly have that info in their database. I understand if they can’t do this for free, but maybe they could offer a deep discount on the Kindle price for books they can verify that you already own, like 99 cents or so. If I could instantly Kindle-ize all the Amazon books I’ve bought over the years for 99 cents each, I’d very likely do it. But $10 each is a bit too much. This problem of digital rights management isn’t specific to Kindle — you see it with music, movies, and software too — but I think Amazon is in a good position to offer better solutions so you don’t have to keep buying the same content in different media forms.
For someone like me who buys dozens of books each year (despite being sent so many for free), the Kindle is likely to save me money in the long run, even with the $359 price tag. Most Kindle books are $9.99. For the types of books I frequently buy, I probably save about $5 per book on average, so with 72 books I recoup my Kindle investment. The money isn’t a big deal to me, but I point this out because I know that some people would consider this a pricey gadget. The price may be offset partially or completely if you buy a lot of books.