Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kindle a Great Idea for Full Time RV Folk!

Amazon's Kindle 3
After looking at my "mobile" library, I began to despair at the weighty knowledge that some of my good friends would not be traveling with me. The idea of leaving behind my leather bound classics such as Homer's "Odyssey" and Shakespeare's Plays left me limp and sweaty.

Yes, I am a Bibliophile. I have read thousands of books and most of them the great classics over and over, as well has any historical books I can lay my hands to. More than just reading them I hoard them. I stalk the book auctions like a hawk, looking for leather bindings and old linen pages. At one time I had thousands of books but found good homes for them with other Bibliophiles who share my love of the printed page and musty bound book covers when we embarked on our on the road lifestyle.

I had a hundred or so titles left, mostly reference books on my particular area of study, (Native American History, American History), and a few of my beloved classics I could not part with. As we were in the final phase of letting go of any vestiges of a "normal life" I had to come to terms with the weight of my love and I could not entertain the idea of carrying so many tiles around any longer.

I began to investigate electronic readers and found a satisfactory result in the Amazon Kindle Reader (link is to cnn review site, good info here). It fits nicely in the hand and has a solid feel to it. It does remind one of the printed page and my reservations about it being less than a tactile experience were soon quelled by it's readability, compact size and sleek feel. It is not a book but, like a book, one is hard pressed to put it down. (The battery replacement concerns listed in the above cnn article have been handled nicely by third party vendors who sell batteries and explain how to change them, Amazon has advised the batteries will long outlast the usefulness of the device, boondockers will also be pleased with the Kindle's battery life, up to three weeks of intense reading pleasure can pass between recharges).

Another selling point for me was the 65,000 some free titles being offered by Amazon as well as several other sites such as Project Gutenberg.  All of the classics are here, copy write free since they have passed the age of concern, namely the death of the Author plus 75 years. In one evening I downloaded over 200 titles in my area of interest alone. Many others are available for 99 cents or less and the occasional title can be attained for less than ten bucks, (thankfully my interest is in obscure, less read titles).

One additional feature is the kindle will read to you using an electronic voice, it's very entertaining to read Moby Dick, or, the whale with an electronic voice! "Moby Dick" is one of the thousands of free books on Amazon.

Also, using your 3g network you can actually browse the internet, it's black and white, you have to scroll around and zoom on most pages, but heck! It's Free Internet!

The deal cincher for me was that Amazon offers a program for your computer that allows you to not only keep your titles directly downloaded to your Kindle, it also downloads them to a handy reader on your computer. You can read on your computer, your phone, (although the small screen would annoy me to no end), or any other portable device you may have laying around. Amazon also archives them on their site for you in case you need to download them again.

There have been some concerns that Kindle does not offer the ability to use other bookseller formats, namely Barnes and Noble, as well as library ebooks, but if one looks around the net one can find file converters that work well.

In conclusion, we Road Warriors cannot justify several hundred pounds of books, they are hard to store safely on board and become worse for wear in our travels. Don't get me wrong, my beloved leather bound volumes will follow me everywhere and my obscure history books that have not been made available in electronic form will still be with me, but I have reduced the pile to a manageable dozen or so.

I heartily recommend the Kindle reader, I have the Kindle 3 with 3G as well as wifi as I want my books and I want them now, I refuse to wait for wifi to be available when I need to read something new. I also found a great bargain on a reasonable cover and accessory set, don't let those $60.00 covers keep you from protecting your investment, there are alternatives that keep your purchase reasonable and do the job quite nicely.

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2 comments:

Gypsy Jane said...

"You can read...on your phone or any other portable device you have ..." Really? I have Kindle desktop on my pc but would love to be able to read kindle format books on my Treo. I didn't think it was possible. Research time.

Doyle and Terri Johnson said...

The kindle page at Amazon lists the phones that they support, the gutenburg project also has formats such as PDF that can be read on phones, but one has to scroll around.

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