Dangerously Convenient

I have had a Kindle 2 in my hands now for a little more than a week and I have two words for it: Dangerously convenient.

I’m hitting the road tomorrow for what looks to be a fascinating blogger confab at Intel. And the Kindle is proving to be a very helpful travel companion. Not only did I wirelessly download an entire stack of books to read on the plane but I’ve been using it instead of a file folder and printer for all those travel documents you want to have at the ready – hotel confirmation, rental car receipt – and documents I’d like to be able to read when I get a free minute. All I do is email these documents to my Kindle’s private email address and Amazon translates them into a format the Kindle can read and sends them to the device – while it’s in my purse. So incredibly convenient. And very “green” since it uses no ink or paper to do it.

When I want to read those documents, there they are in my purse, ready to whip out and read, even when I only have a few minutes pause at a check-in counter or waiting area. I don’t have to wait for my laptop to turn on and turn off or fumble through a file folder stuffed in a bag. I was pretty sweet on the Sony Reader when I had that but this paperless printing convenience is something I could really get used to.

And that’s not the other thing that’s dangerously convenient about the Kindle 2 either. A couple of nights ago, I finished reading a mystery about 10 minutes into what I’d determined was a free stretch of over an hour I could dedicate to reading. This was late at night, of course, and when I finished that book I was much too tired to get up and hunt up another one. But the book was part of a series, so I simply shopped for the next book in the series right from my Kindle. I was reading again in less than 2 minutes.

The downside? Money, of course. Every time I email a file to my Kindle it costs about $.15. (A long document of about 20 pages cost $.30) You do get a slight discount for buying the Kindle version of a book instead of the printed one. But the discount is not that big – about a dollar off on an $8 paperback. And I like to use the library for these reding binges. But getting books delivered instantly from wherever I wam is so much easier than going to the library or waiting for my book subscription to show up or even waiting for a book order from Amazon that I know having a Kindle in my purse would cause my book-spending habit to creep up. Especially since I’m very excited about being able to read a newspaper without having to recycle it. I might take to reading two newspapers.

My other complaint about the Kindle is that the screen is too small. The screen on the Sony Reader is bigger because it doesn’t have a keyboard. The little keyboard on the face of the Kindle makes that instant-shopping experience possible, of course, but it does take up the bottom quarter of the device.

Of course all these things were true of the Kindle 1, too. I looked at the Kindle 1 as well. The most noticeable differences between the two versions are in the human factors area: The Kindle 2 is easier to hold and it has a prettier, sleeker shape. When reading the Kindle 1, it is very easy to accidentally turn the page because there aren’t many ways to grab it without hitting the next-page button. The new version has more places to get purchase on the thing while you are reading. The book cover is nicer, too, and the device actually stays in it. The versions don’t seem different enough, to me, to warrant upgrading — unless you have a pile of spare money kicking around.

The version that I can’t wait to try out is the larger-format Kindle DX (shown above). It is closer to the size of a small format magazine (10 x 7 and less than an inch thick) and I find that a very readable form factor. I know that when that becomes available this summer, I will find it dangerously tempting.

3 thoughts on “Dangerously Convenient

  1. Boy, do i love my Kindle!! I have tons of books downloaded and use it all the time for traveling, lunch breaks, waiting in line somewhere and lots of other places! Recently I had a stay in the hospital and used it there also. The only downside for me is that I can’t download at home. We don’t get a good signal where we live (cell phones don’t work down here either) and I have to wait until I go to town to download. But, I still go online and work up a que of books to download and viola! there ya go more books. I have the first Kindle and I am really glad that I did buy it. Kindle 2 also does audio books without too much trouble. Kindle 1 requires that you turn it into an mp3 file and then play it back through the music button. The only issue with this is there is no list to choose from, so you have to use an SD card with only the audio book on it……

  2. Jody,

    A pile of books is less than a pile on a Kindle if…you are in the car waiting for carpool and you want to read a page or two…the Kindle fits easily in your purse (or it does in my mine). It is less if you are traveling and want to bring a pile of books with you, a Kindle fits in a backpack or briefcase and takes up far less room than a pile. And less weight. It does if you are in a different city and want to read your hometown newspaper. It does if you are constantly paying overdue fines like me and you can take your time to read the books instead of calculating daily fines.

    I really do love my Kindle!

  3. The only thing that keeps me from getting a Kindle is cost. I know I’ll have an “issue” with downloading too many things (like I do on my iPod Touch). And the books… Well, is a pile of books any less of a pile if it’s on a Kindle? (aka: does a bear poo in the woods?)

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