Thursday, September 02, 2010

into the books

Big news.

My Kindle arrived yesterday.  I ordered it when Amazon cut the prices on its latest generation of electronic readers.  Back in late July.

Every new product has a certain marketing point -- when enough buyers are willing to buy it.  Most consumers are conservative.  They take a Missouri attitude until the product sells enough copies to become part of the landscape.

I was one of the waiters on Kindles.  Usually, I buy each new electronic contraption when it hits the market.  But when the Kindle came out, I was heading to Mexico, and the last thing I needed was another expensive electronic device that would simply corrode in the tropical humidity.

The lack of a good book source in my village convinced me the Kindle would be perfect for me.

But there was the price.  At $400 (USD), it was a bit expensive to simply use for the year I anticipated it would last in the Mexican weather.

That changed in July.  Amazon issued  new generation of readers -- and reduced the price to under $200.  It was now worth the risk.

Apparently, a lot of other people thought the same thing.  Amazon ran out of its supply in a matter of days.  And it still has not caught up with the backlog of orders.

I decided to buy the Kindle rather than an iPad for two reasons.  The first is rational.  I wanted the best reader I could find.  The iPad screen is backlit, and cannot easily be read in the sunlight.  The Kindle can.  And we have a bit of sunshine in Mexico.  The Kindle easily won that competition.

The second reason is more personal.  My niece threatened to kill me if I bought an iPad.  She is not fond of Apple products.

There are a lot of books that can be loaded onto the Kindle free.  I started with Anna Karenina (because I stole a quote from Tolstoy in my post about my family) and Alice in Wonderland (simply because I like Carroll's word play -- something that was sorely missing from Tim Burton's recent film).  They were a joy to read.

Wednesday night I purchased two newer books.  A novel (Freedom) by Jonathan Franzen (that received a very good review in the current edition of The Economist) and a widely-praised biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas).  I will attempt to leave both unread until I get south -- even though it is tempting to start reading them now.

But there will be other books.  Even though I can buy additional books while I am in Mexico (and have them delivered to my Kindle while I walk the streets of Melaque), I would like to buy more volumes (it is going to be hard to come up with new words for electronic books) before I head south.

I had no doubt I could use a Kindle.  Now that I have it, I intend to use it to its full advantage.  I can even get The Economist delivered directly to my reader on the day it is printed.  That will be worth the price of the reader itself.  No more three week old magazines to read.  Well, at least not that magazine.

So, there it is.  I told you it was big news.  Not as big as getting married or something like that.

But, for a book-deprived reader in Mexico, it will be a great tool.

I can hear a hammock calling me now.


Tancho said...

I love my kindle, reading outside in bright sun is great and laying in bed in low light also. You will like it. And you can swap files with other people!

Steve Cotton said...

Tancho -- I just wish it had a better search and link function. But, I am starting to lust afer an iPad, instead. My laptop can take care of all that. (By the way, I am using the Kindle reader for PC program on my laptop. Best of both worlds.)

Calypso said...

"By the way, I am using the Kindle reader for PC program on my laptop. Best of both worlds"

Steve - I am vague on what this means? Are you saying you can use the kindle as a monitor of sorts fed from your laptop?

I had my hands on a Kindle (1st gen. I think) on Sunday and I REALLY want one. Unfortunately I will have to save for one - but it is in my future. The screen is amazing. I look forward to reading in bed '-) (Must be an old people thing huh ;-)

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

Sunshine in Mexico?!?! jaja. I have seen those Kindle things and think they are very cool. Although I do love reading traditional books- the lack of availability in Mexico is hard. Congrats on your new relationship with your kindle. (do not cheat on her with an ipad.) :)

PS- I love Anna Karenina! Such a great book.

Anonymous said...

I recently bought an first Apple product...and I have to say that I am really liking it. I am currently in the US and find an open wireless signal frequently... at the the park...and it is so lightweight that I can easily carry it along.

I have not yet purchased any books because I am willing to only read what I find for free, but have tried reading a couple of free ones and been far the free games have occupied a lot of time in addition to reading the news and getting my stock info daily.

Because I am mostly in Mexico I opted not to spend the extra $200 for the 3G capability...Kathe

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- Amazon has a free application that allows me to read my books either on my laptop or my Kindle. There are times, when I am sitting at my computer, I simply open the book I was reading and start leafing through. For some reason, though, backlit screens fatigue my eyes far faster than the non-lit Kindle screen. Save up those pesos and buy one. They are well worth the current price. And take a look at the Bonhoeffer. I know you will enjoy it.

Rosas Clan -- If I had not moved to Mexico (or, more accurately, if I did not plan on returning), I doubt I would have bought a Kindle. Like you, I enjoy the feel of a book in my hands. But the Kindle solves the availability issue for me. For that, I can sacrifice a pleasure or two.

Kathe -- The iPad is truly sexy. I thought of using it to compose my blog in Mexico. But its keyboard is too limited for that amount of typing. (I need a standard keyboard with my laptop when I am at the house.) But it is not an adequate reader for my purposes. After about an hour of reading backlit screens, my eyes start to fade. So far, I have not found the limit on Kindle reading. But I am happy you are enjoying your iPad. Under different circumstances, I think I could, as well. I hope my niece doesn't see this. ;}

Judi said...

Steve, I use my iPod Touch with its free Kindle app as my reader. It's pocketsize, so it goes with me everywhere. I can store podcasts, music and videos, as well. It has become my most indispensable electronic gadget.

Nita said...

A couple of days late in commenting on the video on Mexico. All of the places shown brought back many great happy memories. No wonder you are impatient to get back.

Jackie said...

I am on the backlog list waiting for my Kindle that still has no estimated ship date.I too debated the pro and cons of iPad vs Kindle and the won.

Calypso said...

Steve - I am quite familiar with Dietrich Bonhoeffer - excellent books and tragic early end to a brilliant life.

Nancy said...

Steve, Congrats, I love my Kindle and love having a world of books available to me easily. But there are still some authors that aren't available on Kindle - MFK Fisher and Redmond O'Hanlon are two. I know I read more just because it is easy to obtain good books now.

I was going to make a comment about it being more environmentally friendly to use an e-reader and started doing a bit of research. It seems to be a very difficult thing to figure out. If you are interested here is an aggregation of some articles.

Leslie Harris de Limon said...

Yay!!! I am so happy for you! I love my Kindle. It's the smartest buy I've ever made.

KittyK9 said...

I applaud you on your wise decision. :)
- Your Niece

Felipe said...

Lucky sod. Mine still has not arrived. But it will.

jennifer rose said...

Put that Kindle down. Now.

People who use Kindles are selfish, mean, liberals in sheep's clothing, and really not your kind of people. Using a Kindle leads to an irresistible urge to vote for Al Gore. Just don't go there, Steve.

You won't be able to share what you read on a Kindle with the Kindle-free population. You will have nothing to donate to used book sales, and the animal kingdom will go un-neutered. Children will starve. Do you want that on your conscience? I think not. When there is no electricity and your battery has run down, you will have nothing but a cheap piece of plastic which will soon overflow the landfills, just like 8-track tapes. At least I'll still have my library of dead tree books which I can read by candlelight. And you'll be sorry.

Steve Cotton said...

Judi - I had a PDA that I used as a reader, but the screen was simply too small for me. The Kindle is just right.

Nita -- And I soon will be back.

Jackie -- You will love it when it arrives. I have been using mine even though I have hard copy books around here to read. In Mexico, it will be a great library.

Calypso -- I knew you would know him. But this new biography is very good.

Nancy -- When it comes to green concerns, it is always hard to know which choices are best. But for pure joy, the Kindle is great. I am glad you were such a good advocate.

Lelie -- I thought Jiggs was my smartest buy. But I never really owned him. My Kindle I do, and, like you, I love it.

KittyK9 -- I know how to avoid parricide.

Felipe -- And joy will fill the land when it arrives.

Jennifer -- Toss that sabot elsewhere, young lady.