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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Burn your books, get your reading life back on track!

Reading re-Kindled
I've been wanting to remark on this for a while but haven't got round to looking into it properly - the new "Kindle" from Amazon (what kind of a name is that?!) Well, having read up on it a bit more, or at least Amazon's blurb I can say it has certainly caught my interest. What is the Kindle? In short, an e-book reader, one that initially retails at $399, which seems a bit steep given that they are probably looking to sell lots of titles on the back of it, titles downloadable via Amazon.com of course. In particular it features some kind of "electronic paper" display, which means no backlighting needed, and a good contrast and quality of print which can be compared to a "real" book. Also, claim Amazon, it is about the size, or smaller, than a "real" book.

How many books do you read? Do you read e-books? If you are an avid reader, you may well have disdained e-books until now as being "not like the real thing". If you don't read at all, why is that? Is it the lack of time?

I "got into" e-books about a year or two ago when I bought a Palm PDA and installed an e-book reader on it. I have never looked back. After the initial period of becoming accustomed to reading off a screen my reading habits were revolutionised. Suddenly I was carrying a "book" everywhere with me - lots of them in fact - and using those odd bits of spare time (waiting at the post office, riding on public transport) to read a few pages here, a few pages there. I must have read dozens and dozens of books since then, all in e-form. I am working through all those titles that I never thought I would ever get round to reading. Currently I am reading Asimov's entire works - perhaps I'll get round to reading some serious classics too!

Get your reading life back on track
Forget all that sentimentality about "curling up with a good book" (by which people usually mean a real, paper book) - if you want to get your reading life back on track you need something like Kindle, and Amazon should be patting themselves on the back for a great move.

I can think of only one main disadvantage with this system, and that is that the Kindle is a dedicated e-book reader and is therefore yet another gadget you have to carry around with you. I may well even stick to my Windows Smartphone for my e-book reading pleasure for now, even though it will probably ruin my eyes with its little screen! But whether you go with the Kindle or some other system, think about it - maybe it is time you burned your books and started reading again! And maybe e-books and Kindle are the way to make it happen.

P.S. The Kindle is currently sold out, according to the Amazon page (click picture above) and will not be available to ship before Christmas. High demand perhaps another hint that this is where the future is...