dipping into books

color abacusI’m not a big e-reader. I will read from my iPhone standing in line at the grocery store or waiting in my car for the ATM. And despite what you might think, it’s a pleasant experience. I was so skeptical of the small screen but try it if you haven’t already.

Years ago when they first came out, I bought a Kindle, but it wasn’t until I was reading Infinite Jest that I was able to enjoy reading from it. And I think that’s because I was going back and forth between the real book and my Kindle, depending on whether I was at home or traveling.

My Kindle came in handy once when one of my sons needed a book for a paper he was working on…and he needed the book right that second if you know what I mean.

But when the smaller, touch-screen Kindles came out, I thought I would try again. I bought a case with a light that is so awesome–the rest of the room stays completely dark. [Now there are even newer Kindles that come with a light.] In addition to locations, the new Kindles show page numbers if they’re available (and most are). And now you can organize your books into collections–here are some of mine:kindle touch

  • 2 Read
  • Classics
  • Favorites
  • Library
  • No Interest
  • Reference
  • Writing

I’ve ordered Kindle copies of books I already own for two reasons: 1) So I can search within the book for specific things, and 2) So I can carry my favorite books wherever I go–a portable library.

kindle sampleAnd here’s the reason for this post today: Kindle Samples. Did you know you can download the first chapter (often more) for free? So what I’ve been doing is this: If I’m interested in a book, I download the sample onto my Kindle. If I love it, I order the real book. If I don’t love it, I slip it into my No Interest Collection (see above). A book is like a bottle of wine–I can often remember I tried it but not whether I liked it or not.

And you don’t even need a Kindle to take advantage of Kindle Samples. If you have any sort of device that downloads Apps, just download the Kindle App, and you’re all set.

Happy Summer Reading.

4 thoughts on “dipping into books

  1. Cynthia, I am so glad you’ve returned to this topic. Funny, too, because I think of you as so e-reading crazy based on old posts. I mean, what happened to your book reading on the iPad? Just magazines now?

    I am on a guilt trip about my Kindle because I rarely use it, though I am glad it’s there—typically I use it in winter when exercising indoors. I have a light on it, too, and should travel with it but usually instead lug four to six books! I found that I get into a book just as much on the Kindle, the only thing I don’t like being the fact that I can’t see section breaks coming and going; the first thing I do with a physical book is dogear the section breaks to underscore how the writer chose to demarcate her acts. Something I can think about and learn from or puzzle over.

    I fully understand owning both hard copies and e-copies of favorite books. And a dual platform approach may be the only way I EVER get through Infinite Jest, which is great but does seem . . . infinite.


  2. Richard, for a brief time there I did enjoy the glitter and lights of the iPad (and I still think it’s cool), but I travel a lot and the iPad cannot do everything my computer can do… so the iPad sits in the den and is mostly used by the kids. Another feature of my Kindle that I like is it is ONLY books. So it really is like a little (and thus portable) reference library.


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