I love books. I have thousands of them in a custom-built library, and I’m loathe to ever part with one. My wife prefers to borrow books from the University library, so they don’t cost her anything, but I tend to read and re-read favorite books — there are some I have read half a dozen times, and I still enjoy them as much as I did the first time. I love owning my books.
Yes, I love my private library with pine shelves and row after row of books. I love the look and feel of a book in my hand. I love the whole experience of curling up with a good book.
But even I can see that it is time for a revolution.
Some people loved records the way I love books, but records were replaced by CDs, and then again by MP3 players. Some people loved film, but VHS and DVDs have made film obsolete. Digital cameras replaced film cameras. Computers replaced typewriters. And through it all, books — paper and ink and glue books — have persevered.
But not for long. Now is the time for E-books — electronic books that look very much like ink on paper. Sony has had an E-book reader for years that was pretty good, and a few years ago, the Amazon Kindle 1 was released — it was also pretty good.
But recently, Amazon.com has released their new version — the Kindle 2 — and I think the world of E-books has just changed.
The Kindle 2 is about the size of a magazine (in width, height, and thickness) and about as light as a cell phone. And in that little package is a whole world of literature. The Kindle 2 will hold about 1,500 books in its memory. That’s about as many books as I have in my beloved library — in the world of E-books, they could all fit in the palm of my hand.
With the Kindle 2, if you want to buy a new book, you can download it instantly. You don’t need to hook it up to a computer. You don’t have to go to the book store. You don’t have to wait for shipping. You just use your Kindle to download the book, and you can start reading it a few seconds later.
And E-books only cost a fraction of what paper books do. Instead of buying a brand new hardcover book that costs around $30.00 new, you can download the same title as an E-book for less than $10.00. Older books usually run about $5.00. And really old books that are in the public domain (e.g. Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Shakespeare, etc.) are free.
With the Kindle 2, you can also subscribe to newspapers and magazines — no more getting the New York Times off the roof — now it is instantly loaded onto your Kindle every morning.
And you can read Blogs. And Web Pages. And any document you want.
And kids LOVE the Kindle. There is something about the novelty of the electronic device — kids who love to read love to read even more on the Kindle. Kids who aren’t so big on reading are attracted to the Kindle.
It is a remarkable little toy — a little expensive, but well worth it in my opinion. Get it for yourself — get it as a gift — get it for a child who loves to read.