The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 20, 2008

 

The Kindle: new technology sparks summer reading

 

The Kindle displays its menu.(Photo by Anne Marie Brako)

When it comes to reading, I’m rarely an “early adopter.” I tend to wait for positive reviews from the leading sources and book awards, and only read new releases from established authors. There’s just too little time to waste. If you’ve spotted me in the new books area of the Gleason Library, it’s only because of its convenient location near the copier.

I’m changing my ways this summer, however, because of last week’s astonishing birthday present from my family: a Kindle from Amazon! The wireless device has a sharp, high-resolution screen that can store up to 200 books at a time. With a flick of a button, you can connect to the Internet, purchase one of the 130,000 titles available, and download it to your Kindle in less than a minute. You can access top international newspapers and a few hundred blogs. I do find it encouraging that 3,137 reviewers of the product have rated it four out of five stars.

My initial reactions

• Love - portability; only 10.3 ounces, and I’m already carrying three books around

• Hate - flimsy leather book cover (hoping Gucci upgrade available soon)

• Love - ability to highlight text and annotate while reading (confession -- I mark up books -- in pen!)

• Hate - puny keyboard (would prefer a stylus)

• Love - accessing Wikipedia and dictionary for immediate searches

• Hate - Internet on/off button inconveniently on back of device

• Love - ability to increase/decrease type size from keyboard

• Hate - necessity to read manual because features are not transparent

• Love - high-resolution graphics

• Hate - first book cover only contained title (library version has graphics)

More than anything, I was not thrilled to discover that the reading list does not include the longer tomes that one actually has the time to read during the summer. I was hoping to save my husband from lugging The Bartimaeus Trilogy to Belgium this summer.

But I do see War and Peace listed for $2.80. On further perusal I see six Kindle versions of the classic by Leo Tolstoy, priced from $.99 all the way up to $3.19. Three have illustrated covers. Do those six versions each count in the 130,000 total? And what are the differences between them? Does the $.99 version include typos? What makes the $3.19 version better? I’ll have to do some comparison reading -- but I promise you I will not read six versions of War and Peace this summer.

Instead, I’ll have to find and read my first blog discussion.∆


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