First-time Kindle User Embraces Change

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I love real books. In my 20s I started to collect contemporary signed first editions and early editions of classics. Books are to graphic designers as buildings are to architects. They are among the few projects a designer can create that has a good chance of outliving them.

The tactile nature of a real book—the paper, the smell, and the graphic design—dust jackets, fonts, format, margins, page numbering system—all contribute to why real books rock!

At home and work we have tablets and computers that are great for consuming online content, but not great for reading long-narrative content. My iPhone and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (starting at $299 via Verizon), have apps that allow me to read books on them and they work pretty well. So while I’ve checked out Kindles belonging to friends and family members, I’ve never seen the value of owning one.

Until now!

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Kindle Fire HD – Kids Edition (super-durable case not shown)

Thanks to a great event, #TNTSeattle, sponsored by Techlicious and The Traveling Mom, I became the happy owner of an Amazon Kindle Fire HD!

Mine is the Kids Edition, so it comes with a super sturdy case and 1-year subscription to Freetime. Freetime features a ton of fun content to entertain kids.

There are plenty of books, episodic programs, movies and games to enjoy. The kids edition also includes the ability to restrict content and access, so it means parents can help ensure an appropriate experience for their children.

I’m using the Kindle as an e-reader and tablet, and have to say it’s really quite cool.

Charging the Kindle took about 4 hours. It was simple to set up and easy to add email accounts, my Amazon account, and download some apps.

I own a limited slipcased edition of The Goldfinch, and hadn’t yet read it because I didn’t have a “reader copy.” So I just downloaded an electronic version for the Kindle and have started to read.

So far, the experience has been great. Having recently finished reading a 925-page, hardbound edition of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, in comparison, the Kindle is as light as a feather.

A few criticisms: I wish the brightness automatically adjusted to the ambient light; and when hitting the home button, it would be great if the “carousel,” showed the recently used apps and content in a continuous loop. Also, the camera is not the greatest, but if you stop to think about it, do you really need your e-reader to take good photos?

In terms of a good reading device and mini-tablet for an adult to share with a child, the Kindle Fire HD looks to be a great choice.

I’ve noticed commercials recently promoting the Kindle Fire HD starting at $99. Pretty hard to beat that!

Photo of Alki Surf Shop wall, shot with the Kindle Fire HD

Alki Surf Shop wall, shot with the Kindle Fire HD

Alki Surf Shop wall shot with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Alki Surf Shop wall shot with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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12 thoughts on “First-time Kindle User Embraces Change

  1. Strikes a perfect note I think, for those of us still madly in love with print books — giving a nod to the experience of a hard-bound book, but also pointing out the strengths of the Kindle Fire. It is its own thing, not necessarily competing with print books — a little more tablet and entertainment. Great info for those interested in getting one of these for their kids, and super helpful to know about battery charge time and ease of set up and use. Just what people want to know!

  2. Hi, Melissa! Thanks for reading the post and commenting!

    I always enjoy knowing other people still love print books, too. And even though it’s easy to consume written content on a variety of devices now, I believe authors also like having a physical representation of their efforts. Even Mackenzie Bezos published a print version of her book, which was actually very well written!

    The entertainment part of the Kindle takes the eReader to another level. Web browsing works well (I still use Google) and it’s much bigger than most smart phones, so the media display is nice. I can just imagine a parent setting up Freetime and providing entertainment (or distraction) for a child while traveling on the road.

    The battery seems to last for a long time, too!

    Thanks again for checking out the post!

    Cheers/Terri

  3. I’ve owned an early edition Kindle and I currently own an early edition nook. My nook uses the e-ink technology, so it is nothing like a tablet or iPad. I own an iPad, but still prefer the “older” e-ink technology when it comes to reading. It is the closest think to reading a real book, and the battery life is weeks! Like you, I still prefer paper books, but I just do not have the shelf space for so many books, so the nook is wonderful.
    Here’s something most people do not know. Did you know that public libraries allow you to borrow the e-pub format (nook) e-books? Barnes and Noble did a horrible job of marketing this to the public, and IMO, will eventually be edged out of the marketplace by Amazon. I specifically choose the nook many years ago because the market for nook was so much larger than Amazon (at that time). B&N just did not know how to market this capability and Amazon did a great job of marketing. Just goes to show you that the best product does not always win. It’s usually the best marketing.

    • Hi, Darin. First of all, thanks for reading and I didn’t know about the difference between the Kindle and Nook. I’m curious to know how heavy the Nook is? I just did a quick search and see the Nook is slightly lighter. From what I can see, it looks like they are both competing in the same space.

      The Kindle Fire HD is like a Swiss Army knife. It’s an e-reader, but also functions like a tablet. I don’t know enough about Kindles and Nooks to know if web browsing was part of the package?

      I hadn’t thought of the library in terms of ebooks! Thanks for the suggestion! My husband and I don’t consume very much entertainment-type content, so we borrow series like House Of Cards, Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, etc., from the public library. Adding ebooks to the mix sounds really neat. But how do you “return” a digital book?!

      Darin, bit by bit, as our culture continues to shift, we lose some of the things we take for granted. I hope books stick around for a while longer!

      THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR COMMENT. I learned a lot from you!

      Cheers, Terri

    • Dear Chris,

      Gosh, it’s great to see you, even if it’s in a 5/8″ circle!

      Thanks for your comment here. I just downloaded an audio book for the first time and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Do you do that while you’re traveling/driving?

      During the course of trying the Kindle Fire HD, I switched between the Kindle, and using the Kindle app on the iPhone5, the Nokia Lumia Icon and Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Except for the Icon, which didn’t sync, it sort of blew me away how seamlessly it worked across the other different devices.

      Battery life is the big challenge with everything. If the device has a long battery life, all the better!

      Wish we could all get together again! I’m so glad I had the chance to meet you and Annie in May!

      ((HUGS)) Terri

  4. What many millenials (and perhaps far-too-many non-millenials) fail to grasp is the unavoidable fact that ANY device you read from in the digital world is never going to be the same as the old ink + tree byproduct solution. Here’s why:

    When you BUY a book, and then read it, you BECOME hopelessly entangled with the author, their editor, publisher, and perhaps if you are lucky, a very cool bookseller / confidante who may have recommended the book in the first place. Assuming you are going to build this ancient thing known for thousands of years as a LIBRARY, thus caring for the book, and potentially passing it along to other readers who avail themselves of your library, well – something magical happens to that book. By “leaving your mark” upon it – your human essence, oils, maybe even a tear or two, and especially if you (purists close your eyes) MAKE NOTES, or dogear a page or make a smiley face next to a particular paragraph – you have essentially created a SECOND BOOK that is ONLY YOUR PERSPECTIVE, for you, 10 years later to ponder, or someone else, perhaps even hundreds of years later… a biblioarcheologist or some such.

    Good luck getting THAT to happen with a Kindle. Or any other “here this instant, gone forever” human thought consumption device in a digital age…

    • Man, oh, man, Steven, you are a man after my own heart! I couldn’t agree with you MORE! And I think it helps explain why I never jumped on the e-reader bandwagon.

      Opening a beloved book is like seeing an old friend. The sensation is almost palpable. But for Millennials, whose lives are inseparable from their devices, the affection we experienced is unknown to them, and therefore can’t be missed.

      With the Kindle, I thought it was ingenious to incorporate a way for a reader to see notes and marked favorite passages, I assume, written or marked by previous readers. I supposed this is how the “dog-ear, smiley face, note-in-the-margin, leaving your mark” experience is simulated for them.

      Many years ago when I read Underworld by Don DeLillo, there were so many characters, I actually drew an org chart to help me keep track. I even placed post-its to mark their introductions. Being able to “search” would have been great 🙂

      That being said, I’m grateful to be part of a generation who grew up with real books. And it’s great to discover a kindred spirit through your comments! Thank you again! You’re a wonderful writer!

      Warm regards,

      Terri

  5. Hi, Terri!
    I’m glad to read the post. Thank you for the great information. I’m glad that you’re enjoying Kindle FireHD. That’s where you’re reading ‘The Goldfinch’ 🙂
    As we chatted on Twitter, I love paperbooks, but it was such an amazing experience when I read on my Kindle Paperwhite for the first time. I love it mainly because we can get (download) what we want to read immediately.
    FireHD seems attractive! Very reasonable, too. Maybe I can recommend it to my husband who’s been using Android and also loves reading 😉 It’d be great watching videos on a bigger screen.
    I’m reading a few books both English and Japanese on my Paperwhite..but I always miss paperbooks and after all I enjoy any books…as you do! 🙂

    • Dear Chiaki,

      THANK YOU for reading and commenting! I so value your friendship and feel grateful to you!

      Your comment about the immediacy of getting a book to read on the Kindle is a major advantage of e-readers in general. As consumers, we are accustomed to getting everything NOW—whether it is information, products or content like music and books.

      After the initial thrill of being able to download The Goldfinch on the Kindle, switching between it, the iPhone, and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was interesting. The Kindle app is amazing and syncs beautifully with any device where the app is installed, and provides a seamless way to pick up where you left off, no matter the device.

      Your husband would probably like the Kindle Fire HD, but if he really needs a PHONE that will allow him to read and consume other media, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 might be a contender!

      Chiaki, thank you again for your friendship and support!

      ((HUGS)) Terri

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