How the Kindle Ruined My Life

I’m a gadget guy, I have to admit. So when my wife got me an Amazon Kindle 3G last Christmas, I was stoked. I had read some of the reviews: wifi access to download books, discounted book prices, capability to hold thousands of books & magazines, and a book-like display. But as I began to use my Kindle, I realized that those descriptions were just the tip of the iceberg…

The Pros: I love this thing

  • Not only does it have wifi, it has free 3G–and not just to download books: You can use the “experimental” web browser on the Kindle to access the web, twitter/facebook, read mail, and yes, even download magazines while sitting in a cafe in Spain.
  • Kindle-version books are available at reduced rates, and older public domain books are completely free… (although sometimes Amazon’s Kindle pricing is a bit wacky)
  • Not only can you hold thousands of books, you can also read .pdf’s and ebooks, and subscribe to magazines, newspapers, and blogs. …And it can hold mp3’s so you can listen while you read.
  • The magic of this all, is the Kindle itself: as advertised, it does “disappear” in your hand, making the reading experience flawless, and allowing you to immerse yourself in the book.

But those aren’t the reasons it has ruined my life.
The Kindle's size is perfect... and so is downloading new books at a cafe...

The Con: It’s turned me into a Kindle nerd

Now, don’t get me wrong, I recommend the Kindle highly for someone who wants a dedicated e-reader… an electronic book that keeps you connected wherever you can get wifi, 3G, (or GPRS or Edge, for that matter). But it is a book first and foremost. For someone who loves to read, it’s a great tool. If you want to surf the web or play slicky touch-screen games, get an iPad. If you need to skype or call, get an iPhone. I can’t really talk much as comparison to the other e-readers on the market, but I have to say that Amazon really struck gold on the Kindle. And that is where Jeff Bezos is a marketing genius.

Reason #1 the Kindle ruined my life: I can’t stop buying books

Kindle keyboard and "mouse" buttonsYes, this means I am reading more. So, yeah, sure, that’s good. But with the Kindle, there’s no pause between books. Amazon is smart: it reads my mind and knows what books I might want next and provides me with recommendations… so no need to nip down to the bookstore. (or even worry about finding an English book in Spain…)

However, one of the limitations to the e-readers is sharing. Amazon has added the capability to share just some of its titles, but you can only do it once. So if you’re someone who likes to read and then pass on, you’re in trouble. So what I have ended up doing is buying the Kindle version (I haven’t paid more than $9.99 for a book yet) and then enjoying a book so much that i have to buy the print version to share. I did this with Poke The Box, by Seth Godin, to share with the staff at the G42 Leadership Academy. And I am planning on doing it with a couple of other titles I am reading… so if part of your job is reviewing books for others to read, it’s perfect. And although you can highlight and write notes on the Kindle, I think it’s it’s easier to have the hardcopy book in front of you.

Reason #2 the Kindle ruined my life: The Man Bag

Another reason it’s ruined my life: I now enjoy it so much have to carry it wherever I go, and to do that I use one of those “man-bags”. Thank goodness I live in Europe and it’s pretty common. I do a lot of running around for work, and a lot of waiting, so the Kindle is perfect–I can just whip it out, crank it up, and pick up just where I left off. Do I need to check a flight arrival? I can do that no matter where I am with the included browser and the 3G service. Did I just finish my book? no worries…I can download a free sample chapter of a new book to decide whether I’d like to buy it. Check email? done. …

Okay, fine, I admit, the Kindle hasn’t ruined my life. It has actually made it better. I’m reading more, including some excellent books (look for more book reviews soon) and the go-anywhere free 3G internet access is simply brilliant. In the end, it does what books are supposed to do: be simple enough and functional enough that we forget what we have in our hands and are totally engrossed in what we are reading.

So, now I need your help. What are some book recommendations? Non-fiction and fiction please…

Photo credits: John Catral & Jim Thompson

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be useful. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”