January 25, 2012

The Case of the Two Kindles

"Literally Literary" is a feature in which I write about books, reading and more books. Why am I going to such bother? My hope is the post title will provide a subtle hint that I am posting about BOOKS. For those of you where the topic of books results in narcoleptic fits thereby causing you to faceplant onto your keyboard, this will allow you to just click away from the horror that is the written word. Also, I simply adore the word "literally", it is literally my favorite adverb. Bonus points if pronounced with a Rob Lowe/Parks n' Recreation affectation.

Special Note: All posts contain non-affiliate links - I do not have an Amazonian Fancy Pants Affiliate Thingie.


Note: I have several posts lingering in draft mode and I'm working on cleaning them up for publication - this is one of those posts that I wrote about a month ago. I hesitated on this post to include Susan's (aka Whymommy) post in light of the fact that she is not doing well right now.  Then, I realized what better way to honor Susan than to point to a well-written post that had absolutely nothing to with her cancer?  After all, Susan is so much more than the cancer.)

This post was not sponsored.  Also, if you want a well-written review of the Kindle Fire that is spot-on, check out Susan of WhyMommy - she wrote an excellent, informative review of the Kindle Fire!

When the Kindle Fire was released, we jumped on the chance to get one and called it a "family Christmas present".  I have to confess, it was SO much fun Early Adopting a gadget, we have not Early Adopted a gadget in years because these days, our Budget puts us on the Naughty Step if we Early Adopt.  Also, if I were the Guilty Sort, I would feel bad that I have ended up as the primary user of the Fire.  However, I think we have long established that I am not the Guilty Sort, but rather the Greedy, Selfish Sort.  Who downloaded Fruit Ninja for her precious progeny to enjoy because Greedy as she is, she still has a soul.

Admittedly, I primarily use the Fire to surf the web and to play Words with Friends.  While it is nice to have my books on it, I still prefer to read via my regular Kindle (which is apparently now called the Kindle Keyboard, because Amazon just loves to fuck with us.)  The e-ink technology on the Kindle Keyboard is the bomb and I also like that I can organize my books on it.  For some reason, the Kindle Fire does not have any way to organize books via shelves or collections and it drives me insane to sift through every single goddamned book I own to get to something I haven't read.  Ugh.  The other complaint about reading on the Kindle Fire is that it is pretty heavy and you are limited to one side of the device for turning pages.  For example, the Kindle Keyboard has buttons on BOTH sides of the device for turning pages left or right.  When I snuggle in with a book for an hour or so, I found that my hand went numb from holding the Fire in the same position for so long because it simply does not have that same flexibility for turning pages.

Still, I do love the Fire as a mini-luxury.  It is convenient as an "all-in-one" and I will most certainly not be complaining about it the next time I go on a trip. Unless I am traveling for work, I do not travel with a laptop if possible.

My favorite Kindle Fire story is this:
When it arrived, I stood in our kitchen, pulled it out of the packaging and plugged it in to charge -- thinking I would need to wait for awhile before using it.  However, the Fire immediately sprang to life, searched for WiFi and asked for a password.  I entered our WiFi password and boom!  My entire Kindle library was automatically available.  I was using the damned thing instantly.  Just like the commercial.  I still smile remembering that.

I remember when the Kindle was first released and I sniffed haughtily at the thought of reading electronically.  I would never give up my books, I promised myself.  "Paper forever!", I declared. And yet, here I am with not one, but two e-readers.  And I love them.

Sometimes, it is awesome being wrong.

Have you jumped on the e-reader bandwagon?  Do you swear by your iPad?  While I admit it is far more robust than the Kindle Fire, we simply could not justify the extra $300.  I am curious what that extra $300 really buys. 


Melanie said...

I don't have an ereader yet, but hoping to get on board soon... my biggest complaint is that I don't buy books (sadly when I quit working that was a luxury I simply could no longer afford) so the library became my BFF, and for a long time our local Mid-Continent libraries did not offer ebook, but thankfully they do now. My Aunt got the kindle keyboard for her birthday in August, and I set out to teach her how to use it and I do find it cumbersome to get the library books actually ON her kindle (she has the 3G/wifi version but doesn't have access to wifi at home, so while you can PURCHASE a book with 3G and have it magically appear on your kindle you cannot BORROW one through amazon and have it show up--- you actually have to plug it in to your computer--and maybe its the MAC user in me, but I didn't find it terribly easy to actually get it on the kindle using the cord, it took many tries.... thankfully her desktop has USB ports on the front of the tower, because it would be VERY cumbersome for her if that wasn't the case. The other issue right now is that the market is flooded with Ereaders but the library isn't exactly flooded with ebooks yet. I had a heck of a time finding available books for my Aunt and I to practice borrowing while I was at her house (that she would actually be interested in reading). I am hoping that more ebooks and copies will be available soon.

My niece got the iPad for Christmas, one of the first things she did was get the kindle app and look for books at the library, right now there is only something like 500 juvenile ebooks available, which sounds like a lot, but we didn't find anything like Diary of a Wimpy kid, or the other titles she asked me to find, but if you are a magic treehouse fan you are in luck! Lol (she outgrew that series years ago)... we found it pretty disappointing.... she loves to read and its often hard to keep books available to her when she needs them, and it would have been awesome if she could borrow more for her iPad.

Christine said...

We picked a Nook Color because I wanted to be able to put kid's books on it. And it's been great for that. And we use it for Angry Birds and Paul plays suduku on it. We really do love the thing. But now that we've had it for a while, I sort of wish I had a just plain Kindle for reading, because I use the Nook for reading...when I can get my hands on it, which is less often than I would like. I want my own.

Paul's still pissy about the sustainability, thing, though.

Amanda said...

Melanie--I don't know where you're at, but I'm on the library board of our local library. The Kansas State Library is currently in negotiations with a new company to have library access to ebooks. So, at the state level, there are very few ebooks available due to a lot of contract stuff that went down last year. I know our library director is anxiously awaiting this feature to come on line, but, like all new things techy, they don't have all the bugs worked out of the system. Hope this helps.

I have a second-generation Kindle that I love. However, I've found that organizing is cumbersome and really doesn't work that well for my stuff, so I just end up scrolling through everything. I also find myself using my phone with the kindle app a lot. The text is smaller, but the screens on the touch phones have come light years and don't hurt my eyes anymore, despite the small size and backlight.

Fruit Ninjas totally rock. I got my shadow blade yesterday.

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

It is my understanding that Kansas City MO does have Kindle lending in place. Are you going through them?

Sustainability? Huh? I am curious what his concerns are.

Olathe/Johnson Co seems to moving forward with the Kindle lending, but I have to admit I haven't really checked it out. That's interesting that you can't organize your books. I haven't had any problems with creating new collections and moving them around as I finish them.

Moderndayhermit said...

I've had a second generation kindle for years and also purchased the Fire. I love both.

I miss going to bookstores and buying books, though. I buy them here and there, but it's not the same. I typically browse and take a picture so I remember them later.

I do have a concern about all the purchases I have made over the years, how they will carry over as technology changes etc. Or, if there is the zombie apocolypse: how will I read my books? Assuming I survive.

Christine said...

Paul's research area is cradle-to-grave analysis and running the numbers, books are better than e-readers. Sigh.

Melanie said...

Yes we can borrow kindle books now at the mid-continent (in KC) it just seems like the supply isn't keeping up with the demand

Marilyn said...

I'm admittedly new to the ereader world. But the hubs and I jumped at the opportunity to get Kindle Fires when they came out (we'd already been discussing getting regular Kindles). He's thrilled with his but I was definitely frustrated with mine. I've apparently been turned to the Apple side and missed functionality on the Fire like I had with my iPhone. So I found a gently used iPad on eBay for a great price and bought that. But now I have both an iPad and a Fire and feel rather silly. I wonder if I should sell the Fire and get a regular Kindle for books? Or just use the iPad to read books? Ugh.

Unknown said...

I received a Kindle last year for Christmas and I really like it, despite my initial response. I don't like paying more than $5 for a book though, so I have to limit myself. But I like the screen a lot and the ease of being able to turn pages on both sides.

Chris got a Kindle Fire for Christmas and it's great for playing games but I have yet to read on it! He takes it to work with him, since he sits in an ambulance for 12 hours a day.

I still want an iPad, but mostly so I can replace my dying laptop without plunking down a grand for a new one. But it does seem silly to have a Kindle, Kindle Fire, Macbook, and an iPad...

Olivia said...

I bought a 1st generation Nook last spring and I LOVE it so much. It's a little heavier than the Kindle, I think, but not enough to make my hand sore. And so far, I've found enough books for $3 or less from B&N I haven't even explored borrowing from the library yet (I'm not a very discerning reader, and I bought all of Thomas Hardy's works for $.99, 5,000 pages, so that's been keeping me busy).

I'll probably hold off on buying a tablet of some sort until my daughter is a little older and she starts reading. I really only want something I can read on, and e-ink is the only way to go for that.*

*My Nook has a back lit, touch screen menu and when that comes on at night it is sooo bright!

Sara said...

We were moderately early adopters of the original iPad. My laptop battery wasn't worth a hoot, and I was toying with the idea of an external monitor, so we thought an iPad would serve as a portable computer and a monitor. It didn't do very well at either (good for light text editing and web surfing, not grad student level research). We also were inspired to buy a Kindle because of it...and loved the size/weight and e-ink experience more than reading on the iPad.

We still used to swear by our iPad as a great way to consume media, especially together...until the screen broke. I still have no idea what happened to it, because we didn't drop it or put something heavy on it, and the Apple store agreed it didn't look damaged. We've been discussing whether to fix/replace it, but we really haven't missed it. Sure, there's been times it would've been handy to have it, and I've told him that he can replace it or try another device if he really wants, but I don't think I'll be in a hurry to replace it. I'd be much more likely to get the netbook-sized Macbook Air, but that's because everything in my life needs a dang computer.