Kindle: Day 5
This is going to sound like way-over-the-top fanboy stuff, but I would consider my Kindle nearly life-changing. Wait, wait, wait, let me explain. There are a couple of aspects of this.
You see, I'm a terrible book hoarder. If I see a book I want, I buy it. Even if I know I won't get to it for months and months, years even. I do that because I like to have a library. I don't want to think of a book, then go online or to the store and search for it. And when I feel like a new read, I don't like to have to wait until my next trip to the nearest good bookstore (literaly 65 miles+ away.) I like to browse through my own stacks and pick one out.
I also am always reading anywhere from three to five books at a time. Even if I'm just driving across town, I'll usually take two books, just in case my mood changes. When I travel I keep one or two books in hand, then pack up three to five more to take along.
The benefits of the Kindle are obvious here. It will hold around 200 books. Add to that I've ordered an SD chip that will hold roughly 12,000 more and, well, set for life! Instead of having to pick three or five books to take along, I'll be able to take along a good chunk of my library anywhere.
A slightly less obvious benefit is in the assembly of a library. In order to have this large selection of 1500+ books to choose from, I had to buy them and put them in my home. No longer. Because my Kindle operates on the same network as cellular phones, I can get a book downloaded anywhere, anytime. So if I feel like finding a read, I can browse on the Kindle by genre, author, whatever, and pick one. If I see a few others I want for the future, I can save them for later. I can have my big library available, but I don't have to actually pay for the book until I'm ready to read it.
To take it a step further here at home, I'm going through my library. Any book that is available in Kindle format is going into a box, where it will soon be sold to the local used bookstore where peeps who are still on paper can enjoy it instead. That book goes on a wish list and, when I'm ready for it, it'll be downloaded.
Of course, none of this really addresses the obvious question of how it fares in day-today use. I'll tell you, it's surprisingly good. After ten minutes or so of adjusting to it, it's as easy, and in some ways easier, as reading a paper book. The screen is spot on, having the same look and reflective properties as a paper page. I can read for an hour or two with none of the fatigue you might expect staring at a screen. It is very easy to simply hold it with one hand and turn pages with your thumb. This might not seem like a big deal, but to me it is. Because I travel so much, I often dine alone, with a book for company. Dining does not always lend itself to clean hands. Not wanting to sully a perfectly good book, turning pages by hand can be a pain. Problem solved.
It would not be a stretch to say that Kindle is the best thing to happen to my reading life since I, well, since I learned to read. As Joe mentioned, Sci Fi authors for years have hinted at a future of paperless books. I'd venture to say the the future is here.