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Kindle Brings a Fire for Reading

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By ANNE DONNELL

This isn’t exactly about what you usually write about, but I read an article last week about Amazon’s new electronic reader. What do you think about all that – good for reading or bad? Should we all start buying them?    -Still Reading the Old-Fashioned Way Wow – what timing, QP of T (Question Person of Today).  On February 24, exactly as advertised, my husband and I received our new Kindle 2 readers from Amazon.com. 

BUT FIRST – ONLINE DEPARTMENT.  (Thanks, MW)  •Follow your dreams!  Except the one where you’re in your underwear in church. • I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it.  • Suicidal twin kills sister by mistake • My short-term memory’s not as sharp as it used to be.  Also, my short-term memory’s not as sharp as it used to be. • In just two days from now, tomorrow will be yesterday.  • A bartender is just a pharmacist with a limited inventory • The  following statement is true.  The preceding statement is false • I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other. • I am a nobody.  Nobody is perfect.  Therefore I am perfect.  • Dyslexics have more nuf. • Don’t sweat the petty things; don’t pet the sweaty things.  • With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, the man who wrote “The Hokey Pokey.” The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin.  They put his left leg in.  And then the trouble started. • When you work here, you can name your own salary. I named mine, “Fred.” • Money isn’t everything, but it sure keeps the kids in touch. • He is having an out-of-money experience. • I want to die peacefully in my sleep like the old man down the street, not screaming in terror like all his passengers.

BACK TO BUSINESS.  The New York Times, December 24, 2008, has an excellent article readily available online.  In a sidebar there’s a listing of electronic books on the market or coming soon: Eslick Reader ($260, Foxit Software); I Phone ($300, Apple) needs software like “Stanza” or “eReader” to be used for reading books; Jetbook ($350, Ectaco) comes loaded with Fodor’s Travel Guide; Kindle 2 ($359, Amazon); Reader ($400, Sony) now claims to have eliminated flickering in earlier versions; Iliad ($700, iRex Technologies) features wireless connectivity – like the Kindle.  Sony has been selling these since 2006 with 300,000 sold; Amazon, which doesn’t release its sales figures, entered the market later and is now selling its second version.

I own and have used both Amazon versions and really like them. The new one is better than ever, even easier to use than the older version, the one endorsed last fall by Oprah Winfrey.  240,000 book titles are available (102 on New York Times bestseller list), sent to you wirelessly (that’s free – no monthly fees) in a minute or so, and costing usually $9.99.  A few cost more, some older titles less, and some are free.  Newspapers, magazines, blogs are available.  You can e-mail documents to your secure Kindle e-mail address, and Amazon will send these to your Kindle for a fee.  Because there’s a keyboard, you can edit your documents. 

Type size is adjustable with several choices.

A brand new feature is that Kindle 2 will read aloud to you, automatically turning pages.  Your choice of a male or female voice, read fast or slowly.

You can highlight or make notes, and there is a built in dictionary (The New Oxford American) very easy to use. There is a search feature that takes you online to “Wikipedia.”

You can shop for books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs online at Amazon.com, or you can shop on your Kindle.  Payment is set up with a credit card at Amazon.com.  More than one Kindle can share an account.  This means that books purchased can be shared at no cost with other Kindles on the same account, but not with a Kindle not on the same account. Other kinds of electronic books allow open sharing.

Browsing the information about a book could leave you undecided; Amazon will send you a free sample.  You can also place the book on a list for future consideration.

The new Kindles hold up to 1,500 books, but you can store books at Amazon, retrieving them at will.

Black and white pictures can be zoomed to examine more closely.

These are well thought out products; I love the lightness and the ease on the hands (I have some arthritis as do most other living folk born in 1940).  I love the portability; the battery lasts a long time and is easily charged.  (You “put the book to sleep” between uses to save the battery.  The Kindle can be used during the charging process.)  I like keeping several books going on at once; this is ideal for that, and I never lose my place.

At our house we like them so well that our initial effort at sharing one soon turned into having one apiece. 

I have an allergy to pine products and to dust.  I don’t miss the touch and smell of a “real book.”  I like the touch and feel of Kindle 2 in its snappy cover (you have several choices, but I went with Amazon’s product).  But, happy reading to all – whatever your literary conveyance!

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