Kindle review

17 November 2011

I’m in love.

It has been a source of much embarrassment for a while that although I am an enthusiastic writer of books for Kindle, I myself have failed to buy one due to um being an impoverished writer of Kindle books who has yet to actually be paid by Amazon (I’ve asked them to hold on to my ever increasing loot until I’ve sorted out my US tax). I’ve actually felt guilty about this at times though as I hector people to buy my novels for their Kindles without having one of my own.

Well, no more. Thanks to the lovely people at Idealo, I now have a Kindle all of my very own! It was incredible actually as I had one in my hands within 24 hours of their offering me one which is quite remarkably swift service, I think. I say this, however, as one who writes historical fiction and spends far too much time squinting at Google Maps and trying to calculate how long it would have taken a letter to get from Paris to London in 1786.

I wasn’t, to be honest, too sure how I would get on with the Kindle though. I mean, I love and adore books, so how would it feel to not actually buy them any more? Well, a look at my double stacked bookcases suggests that perhaps not buying so many books may not be so bad a thing plus Kindle books ARE books, they’re just more compact, that’s all.

My husband has had a Kindle for a while now and absolutely loves it. Like me he is a busy person with lots going on and not much actual time to sit down and read, which is something that we both very much regret. I suspect this is true for a lot of people at our stage in life though – the will to read books is very strong but the actual opportunity to do so is reduced to bedtime and odd moments when waiting in queues or sitting on public transport. It’s not really satisfactory and the unwieldily nature of many books (I’m thinking of hefty tomes like Wolf Hall here) makes this even less enticing a prospect. This is where Kindle really comes into its own – it’s immensely portable and saves your place for you so you can dip in and out whenever you like.

Before he bought his Kindle my husband used to complain rather a lot about not reading as much as he used to (one of the things that made me fall for him was the fact that he turned up for his second date with some of his all time favourite books for me to read and asked for a swap with some of mine) – now though he reads pretty much all the time (in between playing online poker, ahem) and credits Kindle with having made it so much easier for him to enjoy books as much as he formerly did in his carefree days before getting a Proper Job and having children and a mortgage and stuff.

I wasn’t sure how this would pan out for me as I excitedly opened the box that came in the post yesterday afternoon and switched on my Kindle for the first time. Now though I can understand exactly what he means as I’ve had it by my side constantly in the last 24 hours and already can’t imagine life without it. I just wish that I’d got my hands on one sooner – it would have been amazing when both my boys were babies and I spent many long hours trapped on sofas beneath snoozing, feeding infants but with only one hand free to hold a book.

Nowadays, besides writing books, I also work from home as an online researcher which means that I am glued pretty much constantly to my MacBook and find it a bit difficult to read books. Now though I can just put my Kindle down beside me and read from the stack of new books that I have loaded onto it whenever I like without any fiddling around or fuss. It’s brilliant.

I thought it was going to be all artificial and lit up and headache inducing to use, but no it’s actually pretty much the same as reading a book, only it isn’t. It’s actually really comfortable and pleasant, even at bedtime when the lighting is dim and eyes are weary. I also thought it would take a lot of getting used to but no, I got the hang of it pretty quickly and am now happily reading Sophia’s Secret by Susanna Kearsley, which I am enjoying very much!

In summary, I love my Kindle and think it’s amazing. I can already see that it’s going to make it much easier for me to fit book reading in around my lifestyle as well as cutting back on the ever increasing mountains of books within my house. I’ll still be buying art and history books as I always did, but from now on all fiction purchases will be made via Kindle. I’d definitely recommend this to expectant mothers for those long feeding sessions when it feels like all you can do with your own poor spare hand is press the remote control in a dispirited manner (I discovered Gilmore Girls when Oscar was a baby though so it’s not all bad!). Now though you can read books instead! Hurray!

Many MANY thanks to Idealo for sending me the new love of my life. Although it has made Christmas present buying a tad more difficult for my husband as he was secretly planning to get me one!