Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Kindle, Can't Live Without It

If someone had told me 18 months ago that I would be hopelessly attached to my Amazon Kindle, I'd have told them they were crazy.

Before the first Kindle Fire came out, my daughter, who with two little ones to take along when she went out was already a dedicated Amazon shopper, sang its praises. She had come across news about it and almost wished she did not already have an iPad. She told me it would be more affordable, a great internet tool, books to read, etc. It didn't lodge in my brain as something I must have.

First of all, I'm a book lover. As far back as I can remember, books have been a constant in my life. I've ranged far in wide in my literature choices and sources, but I couldn't imagine giving up holding a book to read it on an electronic device.

I discovered science fiction, and more particularly Ray Bradbury in one of my elementary school literature books. I distinctly remember the delight of reading "All Summer in a Day" when, having completed my assignment, I read stories that weren't on our reading list. Recalling the classroom, I was in the third or maybe fifth grade (I had the same teacher both years).

In the fourth grade our teacher read us the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. After lunch we had a quiet time when she read. Of course, I couldn't wait for her pace and had to read the books on my own.

Sometime in middle school, my mother began bringing me books from the Wytheville Community College library and bookstore. I read Jane Goodall's In the Shadow of Man, and was briefly convinced I wanted to follow in her footsteps. I obtained my first well-worn paperback copies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy which I treasured until the covers wore off.

I love not only reading, but having books. I adored the Scholastic Reader book orders and saved my money to be able to buy books and posters. At the end of the school year I would order books to be delivered during the summer, when there was no school library to supplement my insatiable desire to read. I still have a lot of them on the shelves in the girls' playroom. Their publication dates are in the early '70s, so I was not yet in my teens. Yet they have followed me for all the years since, through moves when cherished toys were left behind and divorces when I tossed a lot of the accumulated debris from my life.

How could I give up my wonderful books for a Kindle?

Then, last August during our tax free days in North Carolina, I happened to encounter the display in my local Walmart. (I have had a bad experience with this purchase, so recommend if buying a Kindle to get it from the source and be sure to get a warranty worth the paper it is written on, but that's another unfinished rant.) I had money, I wanted to reward myself for my hard work over the summer, and I bought it.

It wasn't love at first sight, although being able to browse the internet without a computer or the need for a magnifying glass made it quickly attractive. A few choice apps, like Facebook, had me interacting with it regularly. A benefit of Amazon Prime let me borrow a book and I tried it for reading. It was pretty handy. No bookmark required. I learned I could access library books through the Kindle and borrow them electronically.

Then I discovered a free app that would suggest free books every day. Soon I had a library of over 400 books. There was no end to my reading capacity and I no longer had to save my money or go to the library.

My Kindle and I became inseparable. The little device was never far from my side as I used it for shopping (Ebay, Amazon, etc.), socializing and reading. It went along on doctor's visits and trips where I might wind up sitting in the car for a while. I have two versions of the Bible and an devotional apps as well, so it even goes with me church. And no, I do not Facebook during service, even though we do have Wifi at church.

Right off the top of my head, I have no idea how many books I now own in electronic format. Only once has some glitch made me lose my place -- far better than the frequent "Where'd my bookmark go?" that I'm sure to encounter if I put down an actual book around my house. They're stored in the Amazon Cloud, so I don't have to wonder where I will have space for them and I never have to dust them.

Oh! My! Gosh!

I still use the Kindle Books and Tips app most days, just to check for freebies, and I get a daily email from BookBub listing bargain books and freebies. I've tried out a few other sites through Facebook, but those are the only two that I still use. My library continues to grow and I still consider myself a book lover -- I've just redefined books to include the electronic format.

I'm so addicted to my Kindle Fire, that when Amazon dropped the price on the HD model this fall after removing the camera and making a few tweaks, I went ahead and bought an HD model although I'd never had any problems with the first one. I thought I'd be able to share it more with the girls, who were already enjoying a bunch of educational apps on it every chance they got.

That turned out to be a good move, as my original Kindle Fire inexplicably quit accepting a charge or working at all a few weeks ago (back to earlier rant and the warranty I thought I had). Because I'd already upgraded, and everything I had on one was in cyberspace, transferring my content to the new one was no issue at all.

Was $200 for a product that only lasted a year the first time too much? That's less than $20 a month, heck no. I bought a warranty through Amazon for the second one and expect better service, but even if it didn't the lower price means it was about $12 a month. Really, that's cheap entertainment, however I use it.

So yes, I love my Kindle Fire HD and recommend it to anyone giving a tablet a thought, or any reader who hasn't even considered it. Thanks Amazon!

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