My Year with a Kindle

About a year ago I purchased my first Kindle and was immediately impressed. I thought I’d found a new technology partner to take with me everywhere. The task of reading and holding the Kindle is quite enjoyable – easy on the eyes, easy to page forward through a book and lightweight.

But, I quickly discoverd I have some very definite preferences in reading material selection and how I use my books. Ok – now the confessions.

First, the reading material – I read lots of reference books, science and philosophy. Also, I’ve been doing research on social network analysis and the impact of social media in organizational development. Secondly, I have to admit that I am a note taker (in pencil, in the margins) - thinker – go back and review page turner - compare that with a previous passage flipper - turn down a corner kind of reader. I have a much more tactile engagement with books than I ever realized or analyzed before my Kindle adventure.

Although I’ve taken lots of self evaluations on learning style and know that I am a kinesthetic, visual learner, I never really thought about how that translates into “kindling.” I did take copious notes on the Kindle when reading reference books. It took so long that it really disrupted my thinking process. On several occassions I had to do an Internet search to find a table or graphic that just wasn’t up to snuff on the Kindle.

I do think I gave this a good workout in the past year. I read 6 books and subscribed to two newspapers via the Kindle. I purchased three eBooks for roughly $1/each. Although I wanted to try out the blog feeds, I had a real aversion to paying $1.99/monthly for those. Note to Amazon – if you really want this technology to become pervasive, you need to make as much content free as possible, especially content you can access free via other technologies. No one has to pay for free blog feeds on an iPad.

The purchased eBooks were a joke as I mentioned in a facebook post at the time:

Quote from article downloaded to my Kindle, which I paid $1 for
(the article that is): “In social networks, you don’t converse face-to-face,
as there is no contact directly on the face.” Really Amazon? Does anyone
read these articles before you make them available? So far 3 of 3 artcles/white
papers I’ve purchased for… the Kindle have been worse than high school
term papers.

More stellar commentary from this article: “Sometimes people get so addictive
with the sites that they may not like to go out and socialize. There are other[s]
who like flirting online and say lies to people. These are unfair practices and
make it a bit dirty.” I take it back, this article is worth $1 in entertainment alone.

As for the newspapers, they get a mixed review. First, monthly charges can really creep up on you. If I could not make it a daily habit, it had to be cut. My husband was thrilled when the Chicago Sun-Times became available on the Kindle. The plan was he would take the Kindle to work reading the paper on the train and I would get it at night. He suddenly realized that his two favorite parts of the paper were the comics and the sports box scores – neither of which were provided. If you can’t get the whole paper and have to buy the print version for those missing pieces, it doesn’t make much economic sense to get the Kindle edition.

So, based on my experience, I totally understand why “E-Book Readers Bomb on College Campuses.” I agree that one day students may be reading all their schoolbooks on some type of handheld device. But, those students will need to be introduced early so that they can build new habits of highlighting, folding and leafing through their books.

And, it fits right in with my other green technologies (at least their cases). Definitely a plus in my “book.”

I’m not giving up yet – I think the Kindle is perfect for fiction. And as one of my friends once told me “it really is ok to read for fun!”

©2010 BellCow Inc.