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Me and My Kindle

posted April 13, 2009

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in technology

While I do like gadgets, I don’t consider myself to be a fanatic, and when the Amazon Kindle e-book reader first came out, I was not one of the clamoring fans. I did warm to the idea of the Kindle, though, mostly when I realized I could eat with both hands and read at the same time. I preordered a Kindle and was fortunate enough with the timing to qualify for the second generation Kindle (the Kindle 2).

Here’s another confession: I did very little research on the Kindle before ordering it. I had just heard it was great, that many felt they read more since buying one, that sort of thing. Now, another main reason I bought a Kindle was because I assumed it had a backlight that would allow me to read in bed or in dark rooms. Imagine my surprise when the Kindle arrived, and it had no light! Later I learned this was intentional: the Kindle is supposed to mimic actual paper as closely as possible, plus a backlit screen can cause eye strain. Still, it would be nice to have the option.

My initial impression of the Kindle was, I must admit, a bit more negative than positive. There were some little things I didn’t particularly love about it: the lack of a backlight, the small size of the screen (you can adjust the size of the text, which does help, but it seemed I was turning pages every few seconds), and the inability to adjust the contrast or grayness of the screen (the screen is a wee bit dark for my eyes). It’s a bit of a challenge to buy something sight unseen!

Despite my first reaction, I have grown to appreciate and enjoy my Kindle. I have now read about five books on the device and am fully comfortable with it. I won’t give up actual physical books, but it’s very handy to have the Kindle. The price of $359 is still quite steep, though, and makes it inaccessible to most people. Plus you should really get a case, which will run you an additional $30, but I suppose that is better than dropping the thin sliver of a Kindle and breaking it. If prices come down to around $200, I think we’ll see a lot more Kindle owners.

What do you think about the phenomenon of the Amazon Kindle or of e-book readers in general? Do you have a Kindle? How do you like it?

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