Confessions of an e-reader addict

Word count: 709 words

Reading time: About 3 minutes

A recent drop in e-reader prices makes this the perfect time to try out a sweet new technology that makes reading easier than ever…

I’ve just returned from a week-long vacation on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. We filled our holiday with lots of beach time, plenty of reading (I tore through six novels in seven days), some blackberry picking and lots of socializing with my husband’s cousins. They are exceptionally gracious and fun people who host family parties at their beachfront home every August.

Over dinner one night, my husband’s cousin, asked me about my electronic reader. Turns out she’d been thinking of buying one and, as I have a reputation for thoroughness (or maybe just because we homeschooled our triplets for 10 years), she assumed I’d have done lots of research.

Ummm, no.

I chose a Kindle mainly because of its weight. While not quite as light as a marshmallow, my e-reader is a heck of a lot lighter than most books. It weighs a mere 10.25 ounces. (I have a Kindle 2 but the newer versions are even lighter.) Measure the screen diagonally and you’ll find it’s only six-inches; this has been just the right size for me.

When I used to travel, my weight in books almost always exceeded my weight in clothes. Now, I could carry an encyclopedia without tipping the scales. My Kindle will hold more than 1,500 e-books. The newer models hold even more — some 3,500 books.

The Whispersynch technology — although I hate that name because it sounds so “branded” —  allows you to connect to the Kindle store via wireless technology (you don’t need a cellphone or even a computer). You buy a book by touching a button and the download takes less than a minute. If you live outside of North America, however, double check that Whispersynch works in your country (the feature is limited to 100 countries and territories.) You can also download samples of books for free.

While I do love the feel and smell of traditionally printed books, I find reading on the Kindle a breeze. I swear, I read faster on it. Because it’s not backlit, the special “e-ink” makes reading in full sunlight not only feasible, but easy. I also love the way you can make the font size bigger or smaller with the click of a button.

The device is a pleasure to hold or balance — in fact, my teenagers thought I’d suddenly developed an unhealthy interest in my knees. Turns out I had my Kindle propped up on them and was simply reading. It’s also easy to mark passages or pages you want to highlight.

If you remember to keep the wireless turned off, the battery will last for a month. I spent my whole vacation reading like a fiend and charged it only once. (It comes with a cord that you plug into a wall outlet.)

The main weakness I can spot in the Kindle is that it has no colour — text is only black and white. So, if your main reading is anatomy textbooks, then a Kindle isn’t likely for you. But how often do you find full colour novels?

Amazon has more than 630,000 books available in North America and the majority cost $9.99 or less in the US and $11.99 or less in Canada (I can’t speak for rates in other countries.) In Canada, you have to pay in US dollars so my husband’s cousin, who is a bank manager, suggests getting a US credit card to avoid the nasty foreign currency surcharges (2.5% per transaction, I believe.) I’m filling out my application today!

There are free books offered every month — and as they don’t remain free forever, I suggest you subscribe to the Kindle review blog to be notified of them immediately.

When I bought my Kindle 2 back in June, it was $259. Now the device is not only cheaper ($189 for the Kindle 3) it’s also better — smaller, lighter, more storage, sharper fonts.

Oh, and by the way, I’m not collecting an affiliate fee for recommending the device. This recommendation comes from the heart.

Last question: why am I writing about technology?

When people ask me for the easiest, fastest way to improve their writing, I always start with a two-word recommendation: read more.

The Kindle makes this easy advice to follow.

Scroll to Top