Pros: reasonable price, wireless connectivity, light, long battery life
Cons: have to buy books, limited library availability
I read books literally every single day, so people have been suggesting that I get a Kindle since like the first day that the original model was released. I can go through a basic paperback in just one day, though, if it is the summer or weekend so I gave up spending money on books and got myself a membership to the county library system. I never seriously considered buying a Kindle or Nook to read books on because, despite the fact that I'm not "cheap" or thrifty in general, I simply refuse to spend $7-20 on something that I am going to read in one or just a handful of days. I even had the opportunity to read a book on an iPad. I loved the iPad but I still wasn't sold on the idea of paying for digital books...
...Then I received the Amazon Kindle Touch e-Reader as a Christmas present from my in-laws last month. I no longer had to think about and internally debate the pros and cons of buying and reading an electronic book reader. I've been using mine for the past month and I have to say that I really do like it.
About This Product
The Kindle Touch is one of Amazon's newer e-readers. It does not have a keypad so all functions are controlled by utilizing the device's touch screen, hence the name. This product has 4 gigabytes of memory which the company claims is enough to hold 3,000 books. It also has the capability to connect to open wireless networks and download entire books in less than 60 seconds. There is an included cable that allows you to connect this device to your computer's internet connection and also to charge it at the same time. Amazon sells the Kindle Touch for $99 through their web site.
This device has many features that I will likely never use: the ability to add bookmarks and annotations to the margins of the story as if you were writing in a hard copy, the ability to have the text read out loud for you, the ability to share certain quotes or passages via Facebook or Twitter, the ability to connect to the internet, and the ability to share your books for 2 weeks with other Kindle owners. The one feature that I do plan to use is the ability to download books for free from the local library system.
I was excited to receive my Kindle and wanted to start playing around with it right away on Christmas Eve when I received it, but I had guests, a fancy dinner to get onto the table, and my husband giving me the stink-eye... so I had to wait until after the holiday rush to really check it out.
My in-laws said that they had heard of my hesitation to get a Kindle and the whole buying books thing, but they were assured by the local library that members could borrow digital books for free for their e-readers. That is what convinced them to buy it for me. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered after browsing around for a few minutes that you don't have access to ALL of the library's holdings nor do you have access to all of the newer/newest releases which are totally available digitally. I found The Twilight Series available (but you have to wait in line just like for the hard copies if it is out and there are many requests for it) but The Hunger Games and Millenium (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) trilogies were not. I couldn't even find cheesy Nora Robers romance novels to "borrow" so I've kind of given up on the idea of getting digital books through the library for now.
After my disappointing libary experience, I turned my eye to Amazon's selection of digital books, specifically the ones that were available for free. What I learned was that the free books are either very old ones who have lost their copyright or some kind of dirty erotica stories that I can only assume are self-published. I loaded up my new Kindle Touch with Jane Austen's stories, Jane Eyre, Little Women, The Jungle, etc. I happen to like classic stories like that and decided that I should re-read them all.
I have now read two books on my Amazon Kindle Touch: The Jungle and Little Women. I was a bit worried about the small size of the Kindle's screen as compared to the iPad that I had used just the week before, but I quickly adjusted and it was fine. I had more difficulty figuring out the touch controls because 1) after 4 years of having iPhone I am used to those and 2) I am too cool to read the instruction manual. Once I spent some time with it, though, I worked it out and found reading books on this device to be an easy affair. The battery life of this e-reader impressive as it only has to be charged once every 2 weeks or so even with regular use of 30 minutes to an hour each day.
There are a couple of downsides to reading a book digitally, though. Sometimes I tend to get really interested in a story and read/skim things in order to find out how a particular scene will end. I miss some of the details this way and usually have to go back to find out what I missed. When you are reading a digital book, there is no frame of reference (1st half of the book, 1st quarter of the book, etc) and no easy way to back up and find it. Also, despite the fact that you get the percentage read (aka book countdown), if a book has many footnotes, afterwords, or previews for upcoming books, you might find that you've finished a book when the e-reader says you have only read 97% of it which can be unsettling. Also, the Kindle Touch does not have back-lighting for the screen so you can only read it when you are in either outdoor or indoor light. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can't sleep, you aren't going to be able to read a book on this thing unless you turn on a bedside lamp. That was disappointing to me because the iPhone and iPad lights up when you use it, but beggars can't be choosers.
I do really enjoy reading books on my Amazon Kindle Touch despite my own personal issues. Reading them is an easy process and the device is small enough that it can easily fit in a purse or briefcase so you can always have it with you. If only I had an unlimited Amazon gift card, my experience with this e-reader would be complete.