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A Love/Hate Relationship - My Kindle

Back in April, I was considering getting a Nook. Okay, let me back up and preface that statement with the fact that a little New Year's resolution I made to myself was to not buy any new books (except for Book Club books, when needed). I made that promise because I do have an addiction to buying books (shoot, that was a fact I could have included in the New 100 Things About Me ... I digress ...). I don't necessarily have an addiction to reading books, just to the buying. I love going into book stores, browsing, see what strikes my fancy and buying the book. Then I get them home and usually, the book sits, and sits, and sits some more. I even get books for gifts, that sit, and sit and sit some more.

Cluttered bookcase
Cluttered bookcase

You see for work, I'm in front of a computer all day, and I read a lot (articles, trip reports, etc.); it just seems by the end of the day, I don't feel like reading too much and in the past few years, my piles of sitting books has grown exponentially. So in addition to the "no buying" resolution I also resolved to read more (yes, I know my resolutions are really hard on me).

And I was doing well with these resolutions. I renewed my library card (did you know that they expire after three years in my town?), I was reading a book every couple of weeks or so, and I was reading books that had been sitting in my house for a while.

Then I went to Spain and then Becky was planning on traveling all summer and then I thought, hmm... maybe these e-readers (of which the Nook is one) would be good for my increased travel because it's so much less weight and room than taking several books with me. And I further thought, I could be a nice mother and let Becky use my Nook (or maybe she would split the cost with me), when she travels to Israel because she loves to read and it it's so much less weight and room than taking several books with her.

I focused in on the Nook because I have an Aunt who buys me Barnes and Noble gift cards for my birthday and for Chanukah and I had a bunch lying around and because I have a friend who works for Barnes and Noble, and loves her Nook and I like to support the companies for which my friends work (yes, I have a friend who has a sister at Amazon who I am also friendly with but that's like one degree further - if you know what I mean).

So here I was now, beginning of May contemplating the Nook and contemplating talking to Becky about pooling our B&N gift cards to buy it (after all, it's not like buying a book) when Mother's Day arrived. And what did Chris get me?

Yep, a Kindle.


My Kindle

Now let me note a few things here. 1) I bought Chris a Kindle as a combination birthday/father's day gift the previous year. 2) Chris loves, loves, loves his Kindle. 3) The Kindle is way more money than we normally spend on Mother's Day gifts so I didn't expect it at all (or I would have dropped Nook hints). 4) I hadn't researched it (i.e., knew very little about the Kindle).

So I don't think I was 100% thrilled when I opened my present. I know that seems ungrateful but I'm being honest here.

But I gave it a try. I loaded my summer book club book, The Help, (as I'd already read May's book), and I started to read. So now follows a series of observations regarding my Kindle and my love/hate relationship with it.

1. Hate: A week after having my Kindle. It broke. The screen froze. I did my research and found there have been many complaints with regard to the durability of the device. Considering it cost between my iPhone and my netbook, I'd hoped it would be as durable as either.

2. Love: much to Amazon's credit, when Chris called them, they sent a replacement out immediately.

3. Hate: I had to wait three days to continue reading my book (that wouldn't happen with a real book). Same things happens if you lose charge (but with the wireless off, the charge lasts weeks).

4. Love: There are many free classic books (e.g., Sherlock Homes, Pride and Prejudice) that you can download and read (note: the Nook does this too).

5. Ambivalent: There are many free new release books you can download too. However, while Chris says he's read some good ones, I have yet to see anything other than bodice rippers and fictional books with conservative Christian bents (and of course I see conspiracy theory in that) available.

6. Hate: You cannot share/loan books (sort of). When I asked Chris to give me a book he downloaded, he couldn't. You see you're not allowed to share/loan books to people (you currently can with Nook). Amazon's justification, technically, you're not buying the book, you're buying a license to use/read the book. I like being able to share books I love with people and to me this is a big turn-off.

On the other hand though, after speaking with Amazon, apparently, if Chris and I put both our Kindles on the same Amazon account, we can then purchase the "licenses" once and download it to either Kindle (on at a time). We each have our own accounts though for gift buying purchases. But once I finish the last paid for book on my Kindle (hopefully today or tomorrow), I'll deactivate my Kindle on my account, which will make me lose all the books (aka licenses) I already bought, and add my Kindle to Chris's account (he's paid for more books - so it makes sense to use his account going forward. I'll lose about five books - and yes, as you can see that resolution about not buying books went out the window - well, technically I guess it didn't because I wasn't buying books, I was buying licenses!)

7. Hate - the Licenses - another reason. While this did not happen to me, apparently, last summer there was a big issue with Kindle users. They had downloaded books (and yes in some cases paid for them). Then Amazon got into a dispute with some book publishers, and Amazon, pulled those books from those people's Kindles! Poof! They were gone! No refunds given (I guess there is no requirement that the licenses have to last a certain amount of time). The irony ... one of the books that disappeared was 1984! Chris says that Amazon no longer does that, but I never found any articles/information to support that assumption.

8. Hate: Availability of Books - there were many complaints because of the aforementioned disputes with publishers, that newly published books were not available for download. Although people pre-ordered them with delivery dates of the release dates of the book, no books ever appeared (and multi-month long waits were reported). I do not know if these people were charged for the "books" they never received or not. Nor have I experienced this myself, so I'm taking this one with a grain of salt.

9. Love: font sizes. Ask anyone who knows me, I often forget my reading glasses. I love that I can make the font size larger so as not to strain my eyes.

10. Love: Yes, the portability is amazing. Even with the cover on that I bought (see durability issue - highly recommend a cover), it fits nicely in my bag and weighs less than most books (especially hard covers) and can hold more books than I can read in a year!

11. Love: I browse books on line, purchase and poof, I own them (well, at least the license to them), and can read immediately. I love this feature, especially considering my recent addiction to the Sookie Stackhouse series of books.

12. Hate: Still need real books because I wouldn't dare bring this to the beach - afraid the sand would trash it.

13. Love: The sleep mode pictures. I know, I'm crazy but I love seeing the different sleep mode pictures on the screen. I find them appealing in a lazy, rainy, Sunday afternoon sort of way.

So there you have it, my love hate relationship with my Kindle.

Oh, and can someone tell Aunt Shelia to get me Amazon gift cards now instead. Thanks.

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Other Thinks (12)

Deb Jacobs:

Thanks for that info Kim~pretty much managed to get all the pros and cons on one page.
I love the look of the iPad..but can't see spending the bucks.
I do love my books, and one of the joys in Rome for me is to visit the Almost Corner Bookstore in Trastevere. Anita, who works part time there, has recommended some great books and their selection, while small, is better than a big book store.
I always come home with a half dozen "bought in Rome" books (which make them even better!).
So no kindle/nook/iPad for me!

Lisa:

Are you sure when you de-activate your account that the books will disappear? I ask this, because as you know my Kindle is a hand me down, and on it were about 50 books that my brother's family had purchased (licensed).

sheri:

Kim, two of my friends bring their Kindles to the Beach in a Zip Lock Baggie (both have those plastic face protectors as well).They have no trouble reading thru the Baggie. Joe loves his Kindle. I think that I want one too!

Kim [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Sheri, I'll try the ziploc bag idea next week - thanks.

Lisa, that's what the Amazon guys told me. I'm assuming you de-registered it from your brother's account and registered it to yours?

Kim [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Oh, and I'll let you know for sure when I do it tomorrow or Wednesday (as soon as Guido is threw with me).

Kim [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Ah, from Amazon site:

Giving a Used Kindle as Gift

If your Kindle is registered to your account, deregister the Kindle before giving it as a gift. Deregistering ensures that your Kindle cannot be used to make purchases on your account. Also, once the Kindle is deregistered, any books, subscriptions, or other content you've purchased from the Kindle Store will no longer be delivered to the device.

Remove all purchased material from the Kindle device. Purchased Kindle content cannot be given as a gift according to the License Agreement and Terms of Use of the Amazon Kindle.
====================
So perhaps they're not doing the big brother thing anymore and automatically removing the items from the Kindle but just telling you to do it. We'll see...

Marty:

Marci and I are on the same account; that works very well. However, think about calling Amazon and asking them to transfer your books to Chris's account. Can't hurt to ask.

Great information! Thanks for sharing.

Who is the friend that works for B&N? :evil grin:

My daughter bought a Kindle before the Nook came out. She loves her Kindle. Doesn't hurt my feelings. She does wish they had the LendMe feature.

Also, you may check into the Google Books project. Google volunteers are very busy scanning hundreds of thousands of public domain titles in libraries around the country.

Although they partner with B&N, making the download process for all of these free books to a NOOK seamlessly easy, I THINK...may be wrong here... that after you go through the slightly clunky process of converting the file to one the Kindle can read, you can also download them.

I have more than 200 books on my NOOK and only paid for about 6 of them. The rest are all Google Books free books.

PS- about 150 of those 200 books are antique and rare cookbooks and travel books.

Joseph:

Very useful information. I do love to read, and this little gadget would be useful (at least my Mom would not roll her eyes that I bought another box of books)...not to mention that I love traveling and I've heard that it is perfect for such activities!
Thanks again!

Kim [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Deborah, how do you know which books on Google Books are free and which ones aren't?

Did you get the Kindle 2 or 3? As the kindle 3 can hold battery for 2 weeks according to amazon rather than the week you stated.

Good points about the kindle - and the most annoying issue is still the liscense issue but i can't see how amazon can get past that problem. If they totally open the drm then books will be pirated in an even worse way than music is. You could fill your kindle in less than an hour.

Btw you did not mention a case - maybe a waterproof case could let you bring
your kindle to the beach?

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