Kindle

Well the stars have aligned, Mars has come into cojunction with Venus and I am suddenly and unexpectedly in possession of some money.

I won a quiz about Bioshock Infinite on the Escapist Magazine, the prize was $100 dollar gift voucher for Amazon.com. My internet service provider, for reasons that I’m not going to question, has decided that I only owe them €30, not €100, and i received a long awaited tax refund.

So what to do with this newfound wealth? Pay rent? Buy groceries? God no, nothing so mundane and practical.

I bought an Amazon Kindle. I think I’m in love with it.

First things first, if you’re buying from Ireland you have to buy off amazon.com, NOT amazon.co.uk. A minor thing but I think it could do with being clearer on the website. I’d also recommend buying a cover. This one is ridiculously overpriced but I like that it has a little light in it, it means I can read late at night without annoying my boyfriend. It’s also a little bit bulky but the kindle can easily be removed and even with the cover it’s still lighter and smaller than a lot of paperbacks.

The screen is probably my favourite bit so far. I can read for hours and because of the e-ink my eyes never get tired. I also regularly read it at the beach over the summer, I could read it in direct sunlight and sand and knocks and bumps don’t seem to damage it at all considering how often I’ve dropped it when I’ve fallen asleep reading.

I’ve downloaded the kindle programme for my computer as well, I love whispersync. Whatever page I’ve read to or whatever new books I’ve bought on the kindle automatically link to any other devices you’ve downloaded kindle to. I also love being able to buy a book through the kindle and have it within minutes. No need for a computer or organising programme like iTunes.

Getting the first chapter of books free is a great idea, I’d normally read them in the bookshop before I buy but this is just more convenient. I read the fist chapter of The City and the City by China Mieville, decided I didn’t like it enough to spend money on it and that way I got to try it without actually spending anything (I have shelves of books I’ve started but got bored of).

I like that you can highlight passages and write your own notes in it. I’ve downloaded a few books for college and research as well as plenty of pdfs so this really helps. The feature where you can link passages to facebook and twitter seems good, as do the audiobooks, but I haven’t used either.

Books overall are cheaper on it. A Song of Ice and Fire was selling in my local Easons for €11 a book (which would make €55 considering book three was published in two parts). I got the whole thing on kindle for $20, which is €13. Anything out of copyright is also free so I’ve been working my way through the Sherlock Holmes books without spending a cent. Give me a few more months and the kindle will have virtually paid for itself.

Considering how big e-publishing is now I reckon and e-reader is a must for any author.

However, one of the best bits for me, possibly even better than the screen, is the weight. I have permanent back damage from carrying an insanely heavy school bag in and out to school, by 6th year it averaged at two stone a day. As a result I now have several disks in my back damaged irreparably, one technically has to be removed but the operation is too risky and complicated because my ribcage is in the way. So to be able to carry 1,000’s of books in my bag and still have it weigh only a few ounces is brilliant.

The cons (Because there’s always cons)

Some books I’ve downloaded seem to have formatting errors. In the Game of Thrones series long passages will be justified then it will suddenly switch and be left-aligned for awhile. In Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things there are large gaps between every paragraph, just blank spaces. And I’ve noticed quite a few spelling errors across different books. Hopefully this will improve as editors take e-books more seriously and they get more popular.

Another problem is not every book is available on kindle. I was looking for the left hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin and Amazon didn’t have it. This happened with some of my more obscure college books as well. I had to download LeGuin off a different site and reformat it using Calibre. It was only a minor inconvenience though, one or two extra steps and the programme is free. To balance it out a lot of people are only publishing e-books now, so there’s plenty of books on kindle that you can’t get in bookshops.

Overall I thoroughly recommend it, 5 stars.

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