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To Kindle or to devour a book?

07 June 2011 by Nicky

Having just finished my first e-book on a Kindle device, many are asking me the same question.. So? What's it like? Indeed, I'm still trying to work out for myself if it's as great as it's cracked out to be. It's certainly wonderfully light, superbly thin and slips into the outside pocket of a brief case or in a handbag. Maybe in a decade or so, reading a piece like this will seem hopelessly outdated A bit lit reading a piece about the first mobile phones. But, dear reader (as the cliché goes) I digress.. Apologies.

One of the Kindle's greatest features is the ability to download a "free sample". They send you just enough for you for you to get hooked enough to want to read more -  very clever since you can download in seconds, and bingo! You've bought the book.

On the downside of this however was just HOW easy it is to make a purchase.  Maybe a little too easy. That may seem a contradiction but when searching for a specific title (in my case - Africa Junction by Ginny Baily) to my horror I'd discovered that I'd bought Continental Evolution: The Geology of Morocco: Structure, Stratigraphy, and Tectonics of the Africa-Atlantic-Mediterranean Triple Junction for £77.80 !

Until you are quite familiar with the layout, it is more than simple to hit the "buy" button inadvertently. Fortunately Amazon is mustard keen to bring this product into mainstream reading that they've made it just as simple to cancel, even if you do need to go online to do so.  But not before I needed a stiff drink to recover.  You definitely get slight "big brother" feeling since unlikely just about every other customer service department, Amazon is white hot onto your case to please.

But you certainly slip through the book, turning pages is remarkably quick and it's useful to be able to decide on the font size. What I did miss though was (and this is going to sound quite daft) a sense of identity of the book. No front cover! No image of the writer! Half way through I couldn't remember the title!! Certainly if you download (as I did) on a whim) you may easily forget. Seeing people reading Kindles in public, I certainly miss nosing at the title.

It does have speakers and hopefully within a very short period of time, they'll want some high-class interviews with writers. But as for book v. Kindle? Well I'd say for the moment the book ain't threatened but being able to download a whole library of books, it wonderful for reading on the move. Pity I can't afford two copies of each book - now that would be my ideal.

Do you use a Kindle? What do you think? Do let us know - drop us a quick line!

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