Yes, I own a Kindle. One of those e-book readers that everyone is talking about. I had seen one a few weeks before Christmas and was interested but skeptical, so had been hesitant to purchase one myself. However, my husband had noticed my interest and bought it for me for Christmas. I’ve been using it for a few months now and learned a lot more about what you can and cannot do with a Kindle. For the most part, it has more than exceeded my expectations. It isn’t perfect and new improvements keep coming, but the following is a review of the positive and negatives I found in my use of the Kindle.
The number one positive is, of course, being able to carry a whole library of books and something the size of a paperback book. My Kindle library contains several reference type books. The Kindle comes with a dictionary installed already, but I have added a rhyming dictionary and the Wordweb thesaurus which I already had on my laptop. I have one of my favorite Bible versions loaded on it as well. The built in dictionary is one of the features that can make reading a book on your Kindle a better experience than reading a typical book. With the built in dictionary, you can pull up the definition of any word you read with a click of a button without leaving your page in the book. This is something I use often to assist my limited vocabulary as I read.
Another great feature in the Kindle, that I was especially happy to find there, is the ability to underline, mark pages and even write notes as you are reading. Again it is as simple as a click and drag to highlight items you want to underline. If you want to write a note on a page, just start typing and a note screen automatically opens up for you. The bonus to this feature, that you don’t have in a traditional book, is that the Kindle collects all your highlights, notes and bookmarks for each book in one place and attaches them to the book. When you’re done with the book you can go to one spot to scroll through all the pieces you found the most significant.The Kindle also saves your spot in all your books so that the next time you open a book it automatically takes you to the place you left off the last time you were reading. No more lost place markers.
Another feature on the Kindle that I’ve used a lot is the audio reader. If you can’t sit down and read, the Kindle can read to you. A click of the switch and you can have the Kindle read to you as you drive, work in the kitchen or walk on your treadmill. You can load audio books (and music files) on your Kindle but it will also read your regular books to you. This is where I do have to put in a ‘negative’ note. When you choose to have the Kindle read text to you, the reader is a computerized monotone voice. I’ve gotten used to it but it definitely isn’t the optimal way to hear a book read.
The number of books available for the Kindle grows everyday and an amazing number of those selections are actually free. A lower price for your books is another positive for the Kindle. Your price for a Kindle book is a fraction of what it would cost you to buy it in print, plus, you can download them instantly at anytime, anywhere, with Kindle’s free online access to Amazon (and the rest of the web). You can even load your own documents or other documents in pdf format into your Kindle.
Let’s see, what haven’t I mentioned? Oh, yeah, the backup. All the items on your Kindle are always also saved for you in your Amazon account. If you should need to reload them onto your Kindle or a new Kindle, they are kept safely and available. Also, the screen on the Kindle isn’t a backlit screen like your computer, so you can read it easily sitting out in bright sunlight but you will need a book light to read it in the dark.
I’ve given lots of positives in this review, because there are, but there are a couple of negatives too. I didn’t like the fact that the pages in the Kindle don’t show you what chapter you are reading in. You see the change in the chapter when you enter a new chapter but it doesn’t continue to show that to you on the page as you read. I’m hoping that this is one of the upcoming improvements. One obvious negative is the fact that you can’t ‘share’ your book with someone else when you’re done reading it, but then that is part of the reason for the lower price.
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As you can see, the positives far out number the negatives. And that is true even without going into accessories and magazine subscriptions available. Definitely a worthwhile investment for the avid reader.