Thursday, September 02, 2010
into the books
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.