I thought I had been having a love/hate relationship with Kindles and all other e-readers for quite some time. I love the convenience that an e-reader can offer and the ability to have an entire bookshelf all in one small rectangle. However, there is something about holding a book and physically turning the pages that I thought I would never be able to let go of. My other issue with e-readers is the sheer price of the downloads. It does not make sense to me to purchase a book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble that I could easily check out for free at one of my main local libraries. So I was hard-core, anti-e-readers, completely, for some time.
But then some of my friends and coworkers got a Kindle Fire and I was the only one without one. So of course I had to be cool, succumb to peer pressure, and fit in.
Lucky for me, my amazing boyfriend bought me one for Valentine’s Day this year! I think it was just so that he could stop hearing me whine about the cool toys that other people around me had and how badly I wanted one. But nonetheless he generously forked over the $199 at Best Buy and bought me my new obsession.
To put it simply, I am now in love with my Kindle Fire. The romantic notion of missing the feel of a page of ink between my fingers was lost at my first finger swipe across the glistening HD screen. The convenience of downloading nearly any book you could possibly desire along with the immediate access beats the hell out of spending hours searching for a book in the library card catalog and driving to three different locations to find one that it not checked out. And one of the best things that I found out through my research is that reading on a Kindle can be FREE! Many libraries now have a program where as long as you have a valid library card, you can virtually “check out” book downloads. You still only have the regular check-out period to read the books before them being “due” back. The downside is that only a certain number of people can have a particular book “checked-out” at one time, so this drastically cuts back on the options of immediate downloads without having to put yourself on the wait-list. I must admit I have already become a sucker for the Amazon store and have purchased and downloaded at least ten novels. With a list price of about $9.99 per book it adds up quickly, but is still significantly cheaper than what one would pay even for a paperback at a physical bookstore.
My Kindle Fire has been great for reading. You can bookmark your pages, highlight and make notes on certain sections and text, look up a word you don’t know the meaning of, and even search for that word on the internet. I love that the Kindle will tell you how much of the book you have completed, so you do not have to grab sections of pages and guestimate, or, worse yet, try to do reverse math (subtraction, algebra, fractions….ahh!) of what page you are on, versus how many pages are in the book.
There are plenty of features outside of the e-reader function that make the Kindle Fire worth the $199 price. You can browse the internet, download apps and games,
stalk browse friends on Facebook, and even watch YouTube videos and play music, anywhere you have wireless internet. Which, let’s be real, is practically anywhere these days.
Two negatives that I have found on the Kindle Fire:
1. Short battery life. If I’ve been reading a significant amount throughout the day or just playing way too many rounds of Fruit Ninja, I have to charge my Kindle for several hours. If you do not shut the device down completely when you are not using it, it burns through battery very quickly. And internet usage can make it die even faster.
2. Difficulty seeing outside. The Kindle Fire uses an HD color screen that is incredibly clear and great for graphics and reading indoors. But take it outside, and you can’t see a thing. Even with the backlight turned all the way up (the backlight is a great benefit–no more disturbing anyone when you want to read in bed!) it is impossible to read in the sunlight. I have heard that you can purchase an anti-glare screen to get rid of this problem, but I have yet to try it out. I went to the Bahamas a few weeks ago and made sure to pack some paperbacks with me because I knew my KF would be useless while laying in the sun (and yes, I had to put this part in about the Bahamas just to make you jealous and think that I am some exotic world traveller.)
My boyfriend has an Asus Transformer Prime tablet that is incredible, and the iPad is excellent as well. But if you aren’t looking to spend a ton of money and don’t mind something that is smaller (perfect size to throw in your purse and travel) then the Kindle Fire is a great investment. I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for the good ol’ days of paper, ink and binding, but let’s be serious–I’m a Generation Y-er…and my KF has me hooked.