Amazon Kindle – don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it

When the Amazon Kindle first came out I was very dubious about the whole concept.  I was one of those people who said I never wanted one and I was able to come up with many reasons as to why t

When the Amazon Kindle first came out I was very dubious about the whole concept.  I was one of those people who said I never wanted one and I was able to come up with many reasons as to why this was.  ‘I like holding a book’, ‘I hate reading off screens’, ‘The books are more expensive because of VAT’, ‘It’ll run out of battery half way through reading something’ – these were but a few of my excuses.

Imagine my surprise then, when I picked up my last gift on Christmas day, carefully opened the paper and low and behold, a shiny new Kindle just for me!  Of course I did the dutiful thing and thanked my parents profusely telling them it was great and that I couldn’t wait to play with it, while at the back of my mind I was thinking ‘Oh dear I’m not going to like this’.

The first thing I have to say about the Kindle is what great packaging it had; a small, slimline cardboard box that I didn’t have to fight with to get into like you do with most packaging these days.  Even the cover that my parents had got me to go with the Kindle had fuss-free packaging – just a thin paper sleeve.  I very much liked the ethical packaging, not only is it saving the environment, but it saved me from the hassle of having to find the scissors which, as usual, had been lost under the mountains of discarded wrapping paper.

When I turned the Kindle on I obediently read the user’s guide that it directed me to and this made me realise how surprisingly simple operating a Kindle is.  I quickly had it hooked up to the wireless and was browsing through the books on the Amazon website.  As for my earlier excuse of the books being more expensive due to VAT, well this is partially true.  A lot of the newer releases and big hits are more expensive on the Kindle as electronic books are not exempt from VAT laws, however I soon realised that the vast catalogue of books that aren’t brand new would be more than enough to keep me amused.  For example any book that has gone out of copyright is completely 100% free!  Yes you heard me right.  The entire Jane Austen collection, Rudyard Kipling books, Emily Brontë, Charles Dickens to name but a few of the ones I have downloaded.  If you are not into classics do not fear there is plenty for you as well.  Some of the newer titles I have downloaded include:  Alan Sugar’s The Tiny Fork Diet, Mark Stevens’ Broadmoor Revealed: Victorian Crime and the Lunatic Asylum and I have even got my hands upon a guide to weight loss.  Amazon doesn’t even make these free books difficult to find. Go to the Kindle section of the website pick a genre be it literary fiction, humour or food and drink and you will be given two lists, one of books you can buy and the other of books you can download for free.

My next excuse of it running out of battery all the time was completely unfounded.  I have used my Kindle pretty much every day since Christmas and I have charged it three times, that is just about once a month. Apparently the Kindle only uses battery when you turn the page, this is because of the special kind of ‘ink-screen’ that has been developed and this brings me to my excuse of not wanting to read off screens. 

The Kindle screen is not like any screen I have seen before.  For a start I got very confused when I turned off my bedside light and was unable to see it.  The Kindle, unlike all screens that I have been subjected to in my life, has no backlight.  This makes it extremely easy on the eye and to be honest, I can’t really tell the difference from reading off it and reading off a book.

My final excuse:  ‘I like holding a book’ – this has not been a problem for me.  My parents got me a lovely pink leather case to go with my Kindle.  This gives it the sturdy feel of holding a hardback book and none of the annoying habits of actually holding a book.  I can hold my Kindle at whatever angle I want and not have to worry about the page closing.  The wind does not blow the pages of my Kindle shut and, most importantly, my Kindle remembers what page I am on and opens my book at the right place for me; no more irritating moments trying to find my page after my bookmark has made a break for it out of my book.

All in all I love my Kindle.  I am a true and utter convert to the world of Kindle.  I have gone from being one of the most sceptical people there was, to someone who will defend the Kindle with ferocity should it ever be questioned.  To anyone out there who enjoys reading, or even just wants to save some money on university books as I have done, I would urge you to get a Kindle and, most importantly, don’t do what I did: don’t knock it until you have tried it!