My Thoughts on the Kindle, One Month In

A little over a month ago, I bought a Kindle. These are my thoughts so far:

What I Got

After thinking hard about getting the Kindle Fire, I bought a Kindle Touch. The versatility of the Fire really appealed to me: I loved the idea of being able to read books and check my email and browse the web. But the internet can be a huge distraction for me, so I decided that I’d get more reading done if I stuck to a regular Kindle.

Also, I love to read in bed at night, and screen time close to bedtime can interfere with sleep. Reading on the Fire counts as screen time (because it’s back-lit), but reading on a regular Kindle doesn’t interfere with sleep.

Why I Finally Got a Kindle

I never thought I’d want an e-reader. I like holding actual books in my hand, I didn’t want the ongoing expense of loading it, and for goodness’ sake, I live next door to a library!

The convenience factor won me over. I read a lot, and the sheer volume of books I’m always toting around was becoming overwhelming–to me and to our coffee table. I loved the idea of being able to carry multiple books around on one device.

I also hoped the Kindle would help me minimize my time at the computer. I’ve been reading a lot of ebooks this past year–on-screen. I wanted to load those ebooks and PDFs to a Kindle instead. I hate to be on the computer when my kids are around, but I don’t mind a bit to sit on the couch and read while they’re playing. The Kindle could make that possible.

What I Love

It’s so easy to use–it’s a cinch to load books on it.  (I did have to read up a little bit to make sure I was properly transferring my PDFs to the Kindle, but once I had that figured out, it was a breeze.) Reading multiple books at once (something I do often) is easy. The device keeps your place in each one.

I’ve been pleased at how many free books are available for the Kindle. So far, I have paid actual money for exactly 2 Kindle books, even though I’ve read more like 20. Amazon has many classics available for free, and runs frequent specials where newer releases will be available for free for a day or two (or even just a few hours). I picked up a Kindle version of Organized Simplicity this way!

I love being able to sample books I’m interested in. I love being able to highlight the text and make my own notes, and I really love being able to read all of my highlights (“clippings”) in one place.

And I love how easy it is to read. Reading the Touch is a lot different from reading a computer screen, and my eyes appreciate it!

What I Hate

There’s not much I don’t like about my Kindle Touch. I wish I could loan out each Kindle book more than once. I wish PDFs were easier to highlight. I wish I could read The Hunger Games for free. That’s about it.

What’s Surprised Me

I’ve borrowed a few Kindle books from my public library, and I was floored at how simple it was. I love this service, and I expect to use it a ton in the future.  (If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you have access to their extensive Kindle Lending Library.)

My 23-month old grabbed my Kindle for two minutes while I went to the bathroom one day, and when I came back he had purchased Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. That surprised me a lot! Also a surprise: Amazon lets you return Kindle book purchases. (I chose not to return 7, and I’m so glad. You can read my review of it here.)

The Verdict

I am really loving my Kindle Touch so far. We’re still thinking about adding a Fire in the future, but it would be in addition to the Touch, not instead of it. If we take the plunge, I’ll let you know!

Do you have an e-reader? Share thoughts in comments!

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Comments

  1. says

    I’ve had one of the previous model Kindles (one of the ones with the keyboard) for about a year and a half. I love the convenience of being able to have so many books with me in such a lightweight form, especially when travelling. Having moved in or out of a dorm room 10 times in the last four years it is also very very nice to now have less boxes of printed books to take with me as a result of buying many on kindle!

    I also like how the Kindle has increased the quantity and variety of the books I read. Because the books are cheaper, I can afford to get more. Not factoring free books into the math, I worked out over the last few hundred I’ve brought, the average cost was around $2.50. I’ve also got a heap of great books for free. There has been a few particularly good Christian free books lately. As for variety, the Kindle store allows me to find books I never would have come across in a local store or that would have been too expensive in print for me to take a chance on them.

    If you haven’t found it yet, you need to check out http://www.ereaderiq.com/. It lists the new free books and will send you an email when Kindle books you want go on sale.

  2. says

    Ugg…I’ve looked at them and I know the hubby would be a lot more prone to read from a Kindle, but I.Just.Can’t. give up my paper books…yet. The way I look at it is that I’m working my way into a Kindle – I actually started downloading and reading books on my Kindle-for-PC and I’m adjusting to the idea of reading a book on a screen instead of turning a page. What I DO know is that if we ever started traveling overseas again (or moved back overseas) I would for sure give in and purchase a Kindle. I like reading BOOK LOVERS reviews of the Kindle because it makes me think that one day I can take the plunge. :-)

  3. says

    I’m starting to wish I had a Kindle Touch! I couldn’t stand the thought of not owning real books that I paid for, but we got one for my college son for Christmas and it’s the best present he ever got in his life! I’d love it for all the reasons you mention.

  4. says

    I am a paper-book and brick-and-mortar library addict, but after trying out the Kindle App on my Droid phone, and sort of liking it, I finally jumped in and got my own Kindle Touch this past Christmas. I have a lot of doctor’s appointments and do a lot of traveling, so I needed a way to bring a variety of genres with me. I never know what I’ll feel like reading when I get there, and I’m usually in the middle of about 5 different books, and the Kindle is a perfect remedy for that! I can bring my whole library wherever I go!!

    But I’m still addicted to real hardcopy books. I just use a blend. I love the convenience of the Kindle, but there’s times I still want the feel of a real book in my hands. I love the screen, the e-ink stuff. I have insomnia and have to be super careful what I do at night, but reading a Kindle hasn’t had any negative effects on my sleep. In fact, sometimes it makes me sleepier more quickly!

    And I love ALL the HUNDREDS of freebies! I have not paid for a book yet! Amazon actually has a list of sites that offer free ebooks, plus there’s the public libraries (although I wish they had a bigger selection of ebooks), plus there’s the random publicity sales that offer titles free for a limited time.

    Yep. Agree with your review 100%. And now I’ll give the comments back to you :)

    • Anne says

      Elizabeth, I am right there with you–I love being able to slip my Kindle into my purse so I don’t have to decide which of my current hardcovers-in-progress to take with me!

      I also still get a ton of hardbacks from the library, because I can still borrow so many good books from the branch for free.

      I’m so glad to hear that reading at night on your Kindle works for you, too!

  5. Jennifer Haddow says

    I also thought I’d never give up my paper books and my library (you may live next to a branch, but I worked in one for my first job, so it’s MINE lol). My mother bought a Kindle (with the keyboard) last year for an international flight and 2 week cruise, so she didn’t have to lug a bunch of paperbacks in her luggage. I borrowed it for a shorter trip/flight, and got hooked (plus I was reading all the books she bought, for free!). Sadly, I had to give it back, but she gave me oen (the $79 version) for Christmas. I am having so much fun reading the free offerings. One free book was part one of a trilogy, so I did buy Part 2 for $3.99.

    But I haven’t given up my library books – I read those at home and carry the Kindle to read in carpool line, waiting rooms, etc, so I too, usually have multiple books going at the same time.

    BTW, S loves Grid Detective, a free logic puzzle game – you should check it out for J.

    • Anne says

      I did NOT know your first job was at the library!!! I’d like to hear more about that, please :)

      I’ll have to check out Grid Detective. I’m guessing J would be into that!

  6. says

    I’ve wanted a Kindle for a little while now. I’ve been doing some research because I want to make a good decision! Kindle or Nook? Kindle Fire with Internet capabilities or Kindle Touch for less money? Could my Kindle Fire act instead of my laptop in some instances? Or is it better to buy a cheaper and simpler Kindle and just save for a new laptop? If you have opinions on any of those subjects, I’d love to hear them, especially if you have thoughts on Kindle vs. Nook. :-) But either way, I’m definitely headed in the direction of an e-reader!

    • Anne says

      Hillary, I went around and around and around those very questions. I’m a maximizer, and had a really hard time deciding which one was the “best” choice.

      I decided to go with the Kindle Touch because my first priority was to read, and I thought the internet capabilities would be a distraction for me instead of a help. If it helps, I’ve heard that the Fire is great for consuming content, but clunky for creating it. So if you’re using it to READ blogs, it’s perfect. If you want to use it to WRITE blog posts, then maybe you’d better just stick to your laptop.

      The reason I felt confident to go ahead and buy the Touch is that this was our household’s first Kindle purchase. We thought we’d try it, see how we liked it, and then maybe buy a Fire down the road–different device, different purposes. We have a family of 6, and we think we’d likely get tons of use out of both the Touch and the Fire if we ended up buying both eventually.

      I will definitely tell you all about the Fire if we get one!

  7. says

    I’ve had my plain Kindle about a year and I adore it. Since there are so many free books available so easily I have read books from genres I don’t ordinarily read, and found new authors to love. I still buy a few books in hardback, mainly ones I know every member of the family will want to read, but everything else goes on the Kindle. And yes, the library’s ebook lending program is AWESOME! One less errand to run – two if you count returning it :) I bought both my sons Kindle Fires for Christmas because my eldest can put many of his college textbooks on it and my youngest can put his high school textbooks on it when the time comes. (He’s in 7th grade and the high school he’s chosen will begin offering all texts on Kindle next year.) Also, neither of them has a smartphone, so this way they can access the internet anywhere there is wifi with no monthly fee – way frugal!!

    • Anne says

      Textbooks on the Fire? Incredible.

      I don’t have a smartphone either, so that’s another reason I thought hard about the Fire.

  8. says

    For Christmas this year, my husband and I put our Christmas money towards an ereader. We had a really hard time deciding what to go for, and for us the Kobo ended up making the most sense (we’re in Canada). It’s amazing, cheap, and there is so much more availability in books than Kindles or other ereaders. I also love the library service. I was thrilled when I found out about that. My husband has also started reading a lot more and enjoying it more since we got the Kobo. I still enjoy and read books as well, the Kobo has definitely simplified my life. I love it!

    • Anne says

      I love how easy it is to turn pages on my Kindle while holding a baby :)

      I only have one single on my to-read list, it’s Ann Patchett’s Getaway Car. I’d love to hear your favorites!

      • says

        My newborn tapped her toe on my Kindle touch screen last night while I was listening to an Audible book. It skipped from chap. 3 to chap. 23. I didn’t notice it for ten minutes! The book was just not making sense!

        Now that I have a Kindle, I can’t imagine life without it. Still love my paper books too though. It’s like the old Girl Scout campfire song:

        Make new friends,
        But keep the old.
        One is silver and
        The other gold.

  9. says

    I LOVE my Kindle (though not a Touch…I got mine about 2 months before they reduced the prices and came out with all the new kinds…so frustrating! :) )

    One other thing I love about it is that it saved our precious bookshelf space. My husband and I are both book nerds, on top of being in grad school and having a bajillion resource books and children’s books and photo albums and class binders…we are OUT of space on our bookshelves, even after combing through all the books that we don’t want or need anymore. I even went ahead and gave away some of the paperback classics that were free on Kindle just to free up some space.

    • Anne says

      Oh, Aubry, we are in the same boat! Two book nerds are under our roof, as well. And I’ve been thinking the same thing about our enormous Penguin Classics collection :)

  10. says

    I’ve had my Nook Tablet for about a month now and I really like it. Like you, I was slow to warm to e-readers but I’ve been inundated with e-books lately and I was tired of reading on my laptop. I read much faster on the Nook than I do on my laptop. I’ve had trouble figuring out how to highlight sentences but that’s just me not being tech-savvy. I chose the Tablet because I don’t always want to bring my laptop to work but wanted to be able to use the Internet on a larger surface than my Blackberry. The touch typing has taken some getting used to but I’ve adjusted well. I like being able to make things larger or smaller by swiping my finger, as well as turning pages that way. Very easy to use. I haven’t purchased books for my Nook yet as I still prefer the physical book but I’m not opposed to it either, especially as I consider traveling for vacations. I wish that the Kindle and Nook were not mutually exclusive but it is what it is.

  11. says

    My parents got me the Fire for Christmas and I love it!!! I agree, though, I don’t read it at night in bed. I’m okay with that because I do still enjoy holding a real book so I save those for the night time reading. It’s so much easier to throw in my bag and take to read in waiting rooms, etc…

    I’m a big reader, so I definitely use it!

  12. says

    I LOVE real books and have a ton of them. I never thought I would ever like an ereader. Then I was given one. It isn’t a Kindle, but I can download books. I am really enjoying it! Since most of the most I want to read are 100+ years old, I haven’t paid for a book since. Gutenberg Project is so great! Plus, it is a lot easier to carry in my bag that the brick books I was usually carrying around. I won’t get rid of my real books, but this is fun!!

  13. says

    I don’t have an eReader yet. If I ever decide to purchase one, I”m really interested in the Nook…but I’d take a look at the Kindle Fire, too :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  14. Betty says

    My husband bought me a kindle last year. I tried to act happy. I wasn’t.
    I love the feel of books.

    I do use my kindle. I can’t say I love it.

    When I purchase books I always hesitate, asking myself if I should just order
    the hard copy; but, I don’t because the kindle books are cheaper.

    I do get a kick out of how fast I have the book in my hands. That is the
    only part I love. :) I do like that it saves your place. It is nice to have all
    your current reads with you in one light device.

    However, I miss having and, holding books. There was a kind of romance to it.
    The kindle just doesn’t have the same appeal.

  15. says

    My husband travels a lot for work, so I got him the Kindle Fire for Christmas. He loves it. He said it’s been such a great thing to have while in airports, on planes & waiting for meetings. I got the Fire because I knew he would want to be able to watch movies, listen to music & surf the web in addition to reading books. I have to admit, I’ve used it a few times and I’m not wild about it, but it may be because I haven’t taken the time to really figure out to use it to its full potential. The first two books I tried to load on it wouldn’t load properly, so I got frustrated and gave up :/

  16. Karen, aka mom and Yaya says

    Thanks for your post about the Kindle.

    About a month ago we returned from a week in Cancun with 3 other couples, and I was the only woman who didn’t have a Kindle! I was one of the only people reading a book, the old fashioned way, while lounging by the pool !!

    To my surprise, my wonderful husband got me the Kindle Touch for Valentine’s Day. As much as I have always loved reading books, as well as the feel of the printed pages etc…, I have come to realize that the Kindle is wonderful when traveling, especially if you finish your book early and you are limited for space when packing (as when cruising! or flying anywhere!). Plus, my girlfriends “raved” about the Kindle.

    Once I got mine, I thought maybe I’d like the Kindle Fire. So I did a bit of online research and read the comparisons of the different Kindles on Amazon. I decided to stick with the Kindle Touch because it has a longer lasting battery than the Fire, and it is not backlit like the Fire or the iPad or laptops. My laptop is better for watching movies or tv shows anyway!!

    My Kindle has the special offers and screensavers from Amazon, but they only appear on the front when the Kindle is off and a small banner on the bottom of the Home page. They don’t appear while reading any book. In my researching I found that if I get tired of the special offers I can pay the upgrade fee of $30, at any time in the future, and they will be taken off the Kindle I have.

    Can’t wait to take my Kindle with me on our next trip!! I’ll still probably read an occasional “real book” and “real magazines”!!

    • Anne says

      That’s great to know about the special offers upgrade. I did get the one with the special offers screen, but it’s nice to know I can ditch it later if I want to.

      The Kindle IS nice for travel–and so far I’ve only “traveled” to doctor’s offices with it! But I’m still reading “real” books too–and I’m sure I’ll be toting my paper mags down to the beach on my next vacation!

  17. Heather says

    Hi Anne! I enjoy your blog. So fun to see you using your gifts this way. I enjoy my Kindle. I’ve had one for about 3 yrs. – well, I’m on my second as my youngest sat on the last one and broke the screen. :( Yes, it’s great for travel and for living overseas. We just don’t have room or weight allowance for so many books. I do still miss the feel of books in my hands.

    My oldest is 12 now and has a Kindle. It’s great for Joe and Caleb as they’re avid readers and we don’t have much of a library here at their international school. Then there’s Eric who has a Kindle and reads his textbooks for his on-line classes on it. So versatile.

    • Anne says

      Oh No!! So sorry about the Kindle screen–I hope you’ve gotten enough use out of it to make up for it! I’m glad you’re able to keep up with reading without eating up the weight limit.

      I’m glad the Kindle is letting you all continue to read–and study. It’s so great to hear from you here!

  18. says

    I recently got my Kindle as well. The only thing I don’t like about it is that there are no parental controls…so when you are searching for books in the Kindle store, there are some yucky (even pornographic) things that may cross your path. I hope this is addressed in the future because it is an amazing device. I absolutely love it.

    • Anne says

      Yikes! Thanks for the warning, that hasn’t happened to me yet. Maybe that’s because I tend to do most of my browsing from my computer and not from the Kindle itself? In any event, I definitely won’t let my kids do any browsing!

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