Sunday, October 18, 2009

Amazon Kindle is not paying me anything to write this:)

Do you like to read? Then you may really like e-book reader from called Kindle.  I got this device couple of weeks back. Amount of reading I have gotten done in these two weeks is probably more than what I would  read in 2-3 months. Easily. It's a different matter about the usefulness of all that I read. But, still :) I have been reading so much on Kindle that reading has taken priority over blogging. I would probably need a few weeks to write, even briefly, about all the books I read and reading.

For me Kindle is really useful for several reasons. First, Text-To-Speech feature. Most the e-Books have this and Kindle makes use of it. When reading paper books, I get bored after a 30 minutes or so. Mind wanders. Needs a break. It is difficult to keep going. With Kindle, just ask it to read it for you. When your interest comes back, you can stop that and read it yourself. Text-To-Speech feature is well developed in Kindle. It does not sound like some Robot reading. Pretty neat.

Secondly, the regular 6" Kindle I have is excellent for speed reading. In speed reading, we are taught to scan as opposed to reading word by word. Scanning and reading in whole as opposed to reading word by word works best when your area of coverage is small. Kindle screen is best suited for it. With large fonts, there are like 10-15 short lines that fit into the screen. Very easy to scan and speed read. You can skip easily when there is not much substance.

OK, e-Books cost money. Although there are several thousand free e-Books available, if you want to read latest books, you will have to pay. Good thing is a lot of books on are $10 or less. This is like more than 50% saving over paper book price. On top of it, you will get the book instantly using free wireless connectivity that is part of the Kindle's price. itself has several old books, that are free. You can Google and you will find several sites with free e-books.

You can convert most of your standard word, PDF etc. documents to Kindle format using several free tools available. Mobipocket Creator is the tool that I use. OK, these converted documents may not be as slick as professionally crafted e-Books with features like jump to page, scanning for words etc. But, you can read them easily and comfortably. This is a great advantage if you have access to online libraries like Safari.Com. My employer provides full access to Safari.Com. My membership allows limited number of full downloads. So, I can download latest books, in full, as a PDF from, convert the PDF and transfer it to Kindle. This way, I have avoided buying some books. Connection to computer is through USB and works without any problem.

All in all a great gadget especially if you like to read. There is absolutely nothing not to like about Kindle. If you like to read a lot, get one for yourself. Of course, if you want to study seriously, then nothing beats paper book. But, if you want to read broadly for knowledge and/or entertainment, then reading on Kindle will get you more reading done in less time.

Kindle is still quite pricey. Price has come down quite a bit over last one year. Also, make sure you search for refurbished Kindles. itself sells refurbished Kindles. You can get them for like 30% less than brand new Kindle.  Refurbished ones are as good as new ones as long as they are sold by itself.  Be careful if you are planning to buy a second-hand one from a third party.

Cheers and happy reading!

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