Although I’ll always be a fan of real books, I love my new Kindle 3. Thank you, Henry, for the best Christmas gift! I’ll be using my Kindle for travel, for review galleys and to have in my handbag when I’m out of the house. I’ll still buy plenty of real books from independent bookstores to read at home and to give as gifts.
Why I chose a Kindle 3
I chose the Kindle over the Nook and iPad because of the larger number of titles (including free classics) available for Kindles and because the backlit screens on the other 2 devices are harder on the eyes. The Kindle screen looks just like regular paper. It did take a while to configure the settings to download ebooks from Amazon, but now it’s one click easy, taking only one minute.
The new Kindle has all the features I’ve been waiting for: visibility in bright sunlight (for beach reading), smaller and lighter (8.7 oz), and an ability to lend books (for 2 weeks.) The cost has come down too. My husband got me the 3G version ($189) so that I can download books anywhere and get newspapers daily while traveling. The cheaper version ($139) requires proximity to a Wifi network for downloads, but you don't need to be connected while reading.
Tip: to save batteries, disconnect from the WiFi when you’re not downloading books. Then the charge should last for a month.
Review of Kindle 3 Cases
Kindle Lighted Leather Cover, Duragadget Case with Adjustable Stand, Timbuk2 Envelope Sleeve
Choosing a Kindle was easy, but finding the right case was difficult. I tried out several cases, but none was perfect. The Kindle Lighted Leather Cover ($34.99, 15 oz, above left) has the best reading light. I like the colorful outside paired with a dark grey interior and secure Kindle clips. Unfortunately, the case is bulky, heavy and has a rough pebble grain in the leather. It would only be worth getting if you read in dim lighting or crave a hardcover book feel. This cover negates the advantage of a lightweight Kindle over a book.
The Timbuk2 Envelope Sleeve ($25, 4.2 oz, above right) and Flapjacket ($40, 6.4 oz, not shown) are both lightweight, durable nylon and stylish, but the Envelope adds bulk plus noisy velcro and the Flapjacket is expensive. Neither one has a stand nor a light.
Of my sampling, Duragadget makes the most utilitarian and least expensive Kindle 3 case ($18.99, 10.6 oz, above center). This slim leather cover has an integral stand for hands-free reading. The red case is prettier but black was less distracting while reading. The stand was sturdy enough to rest on my lap or armchair. The stabilizer flips up to become a protective cover with a magnetic closure. The picture frame style stands from other companies (viewed online) looked like they wouldn’t balance as well on my lap. I wish the Duragadget had a reading light and a more attractive exterior, but it's still the best option. Thank you, dovegreyreader, for the recommendation.
Options Beyond These Cases: Skins/Decals, including one from Van Gogh, look cool but don’t protect the Kindle screen. At Wired I read about the cheapest case option: an ordinary 6X9 padded mailing envelope! Since the Kindle 3 is so new, there are bound to be more options later. Let me know in a comment if you find a better case.
Digital Galleys for Book Bloggers
As a book blogger, the main draw of a Kindle will be digital galleys. Advanced Reader Copies (also called galleys) are sent free to reviewers like me at high cost to the publishers (more than a finished hardcover book.) ARCs are full of typos and formatting errors so are not worth saving or passing onto others. Frequently publishers run out of popular ARCs and leftovers can’t be sold. It makes a lot of sense to switch ARCs to digital galley format. Go to Netgalley to request free digital galleys from publishers for review purposes.
Useful Links for Kindle Users
The Story Siren, a hub for YA book bloggers, asked her readers to share useful links for Kindle users:
The Social Frog gave the link to Kindle Boards
Catherine gave the link to The Kindle Lending Club on Facebook
Gaby shared the link to a similar lending club at Goodreads
Elizabeth checks eReader IQ daily for posts on free ebooks, price drops and new titles
Anna recommended Books on The Knob for free ebooks
Thank you, Story Siren and commenters!
Do you have more tips or helpful links? Please comment below and I'll add a link here:
David Cranmer commented with a link to Project Gutenberg with 33,000 free ebooks for all ereaders.
What I’m reading and not yet noting on my Kindle:
Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, both the novel (1989) and the movie (1993). Unfortunately my local independent bookstore was sold out of Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005) which is now a movie too. I didn’t want to order the latest paperback edition because I dislike movie tie-in covers so I downloaded the ebook for $5 after sampling the first chapter for free.
It’s perfect reading a futuristic story like Never Let Me Go on a new age ereader. I don’t know what page I’m on, but the Kindle remembers my place. It shows my location by line and percent (25%) of book. Just a few chapters in, I’m very much enjoying my first ebook.
Still, I prefer the feel of a real book and the ease of scribbling notes in the margins. The Kindle allows you to highlight, bookmark and type margin notes, but I haven't figured that out yet. I'm not sure why someone else's highlights are appearing automatically in the text. Very distracting. I know, RTFM. There is a manual pre-installed on my Kindle only I need to read it first before I can skip to the relavent section. Sigh. Good project for a snowy day.
Reviewer’s Disclaimer: I was not paid to review any of the above products. The Kindle was a gift from my husband, and I bought the ebook and cases to sample. I kept the Duragadget case and returned the others.
Storm Watch: a blizzard is due later today with up to a foot of snow predicted. We're thrilled because Maine has had less snow than usual and we're well set up to deal with it. The storms have all gone south and wrecked havoc. My son's first two Nordic ski races were cancelled due to lack of cover, even up north in the mountains. Ironically his race was cancelled today due to the storm. We'll be skiing out back in the woods. I love a snow day as long as we don't lose power.