Last month, I wrote about “Readability for Easier Reading” and mentioned that I often use Readability in conjunction with my Kindle. I thought my Love for my Kindle might be of interest to some tiny portion of the world and make for a good Blog topic. Let’s see.
First, let’s start with the basics: what is a Kindle? A Kindle is Amazon’s version (so just one of many) “E-Readers”, which are devices that are basically engineered specifically for reading electronic documents (usually books). They vary in size a little bit, but they are typically the size of a very thin paperback novel. Not surprisingly, the Internet has all sorts of information if you want to know more about the basics.
Why? You might wonder why not just use a computer and in particular a laptop for the task of reading electronic documents. After all, Amazon will gladly sell me my next book in electronic format, regardless of whether or not I own a Kindle. I can install Kindle software on my laptop and save myself the cost of this extra device. Why bother?
I’ll jump to the meat of my reasoning by using an analogous question: do you have both a kitchen table and an office desk in your house? Why not simply use the kitchen table for the things you use your desk for (or vice versa)? Both essentially do the same thing: use a flat surface and four legs to hold stuff up off the ground. Why bother with both? The same logic applies to why I have a Kindle. Just because something can have multiple uses, doesn’t mean it should. A Kindle is meant for reading. Reading a book is a much different activity than responding to email or surfing the web.
More specifically, while a laptop is portable and convenient, it isn’t nearly as portable as my Kindle. I can more easily pack my Kindle on a plane or sit it on my bedside table. I can tuck my kindle in to a small space in my work bag. I can use the Kindle while simultaneously using my elliptical. To add to the convenience factor, I can fire up my Kindle in seconds while my laptop takes 5 to 10 times as long. These might seem trivial, but all these things are significant in my world.
Probably the biggest difference for me between my Kindle and a computer is the ease of reading. How many people out there still print electronic documents to avoid the eye strain of having to read them from their computer? The Kindle uses a technology that produces a reading experience for the eyes that is near identical as reading from paper. The Kindle does not have backlight like a computer has. This offers the added benefit of being able to read a Kindle in bright sunlight (but the disadvantage of not being able to read it without a light source).
Bonus Kindle Benefit for me: I have a self-admitted and self-diagnosed addiction to books. So, having the ability to carry around hundreds of books in one hand is right up my alley. I can also organize my library electronically. Of course, there are also the advantages of electronic media: easy and fast search, bookmarking, highlighting and sharing.
I love my Kindle, HOWEVER, I think the old school book as we’ve known until now still has a long useful life in our society. I kind of liken “real book”s to an expensive cup of coffee. We don’t need to buy expensive coffee, but Starbucks proves we still will. A business colleague just gave me a real book and I have to admit that it was a nice change to hold a real book again. And maybe I’m old fashion, but I love the look of a bookshelf full of books. Books are wonderful in any form.