The books I have at home are wearing a little thin on interest – most have been read on multiple occasions – and I just cannot face parting with the amount of money they charge for new books these days. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the fact that it is the authors livelihood and all that but some of the prices are just silly. If I read at least 2 to 3 books a month it would soon add up to quite a lot. I mean, seriously, £20 for something I’m not supposed to judge by its cover?
So I started looking at the Amazon Kindle. The reviews and videos all seemed great. There a lot of free books, and the ones you have to pay for start at just pence. When you compare the prices of the hardback, paperback and Kindle versions of the same book it is generally at least half the price. Yes, you need to pay for the actual device first but even if I read just the free books it would have paid for itself in 6-7 months compared to buying a load of books each month.
As my birthday was coming up, I asked for Amazon vouchers so I could get a Kindle. My birthday was last Wednesday and on Friday afternoon I placed my order. I was pleasantly surprised when the offer of a free trial of Amazon Prime meant that I could get it delivered by 1pm the next day – a Saturday even! – for just £4-odd. Amazon Prime activated, order placed, Kindle received at 7.30 am on the Saturday, Amazon Prime account turned off again so the auto-renew doesn’t cost me for the year. Win!
Now, for the actual product.
The Kindle comes in its own special easy-open Amazon packaging. No fuss, just pull the tab and open the lid. Inside there is, again, no fuss. The kindle comes with a quick-start guide, USB cable and power adapter. The welcome message on the screen of the Kindle (it doesn’t turn off, it just sleeps) looks like it is an insert or screen cover. On closer inspection you realise it is the actual display. Simply turn it on and you are away. As it came through my Amazon account it is already set up and registered to my account. A welcome document and a user guide are displayed (skip to the end) and the main menu is there. Setting up the wifi is very easy.
Now for some books.
First up on my list to read is The Portrait of Dorian Gray, one of the free classics through Amazon. Turning on One-Click purchasing means that you simply look at the book on the amazon website, press the purchase button (it is already set to send to my Kindle) and by the time the web page had taken me to Other Recommendations my Kindle had flickered next to me and the book was available – now that is good service!
I tweaked the settings for display, preferring a smaller serif font with a little tweak to the column size and line spacing and it feels just like a book when reading. And by that I mean it feels like you are reading a book. After a few “pages” you forget you are reading something on a screen and you are lost in the words, just like when you are reading a normal paper-based book. It is difficult to imagine until you actually sit and try it.
One thing I was unsure about was the fact that when you change page, or generally whenever the screen changes, it flickers I had never seen mention of this in any of the reviews or trailers I had seen but knew it happened from seeing it in action. Thankfully, there is no issue here. By the time your eyes have flicked from the bottom line to the top of the next page the screen has flickered at about the same time. It actually helps your mind think that you have changed page.
Currently the only downside I have found is that the store isn’t particularly great when browsing on the Kindle. It is quite clunky to navigate, the prices are not shown in results – you have to view each item to see the price – and it often just goes back to the start page. Use the proper Amazon website instead as it is much easier.
So far, a very good experience and I am very happy with my decision. I would highly recommend the Kindle to anybody that likes to read.