Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Greener way to Read

I'm a self-proclaimed bibliophile. Of course, I don't have to proclaim it, one just need to see my house-- baskets, bookshelves and cardboard boxes full of box nestled in various corners of my humble abode speak volumes on my Literal addiction all on their own. And like any addiction, loving to read does have it's down falls.

I've at least got a forests-worth of trees laying dead about my house, and that doesn't count the hundreds of books I've donated to a library over my lifetime. While I love the smell of a book, and the whisper it makes upon opening, all those dead trees sure do collect a lot of dust. And lets not forget the costs associated with a heft book habit. Driving to browse the bookstore is a chore, as the nearest Barnes and Noble is an hour away = gas money and time. Impatient as I am, I often feel guilty about paying the price of a new hardback, but I also don't want to have to wait for the paperback edition to be released. So I often spend the money, only to read the book in one night, and have the Twenty-dollar dead tree hanging around my life looking like a very expensive dust collector. Or worse yet, I buy the book and don't like it enough to even finish it.

And then I had an "Ah-hah" moment. Angels sang, dim became bright and I started thinking GREENER. and that led me to something I truly love, and is also good for the environment. I'm talking an e-reader device. Now before you roll your eyes, let me qualify that this one is good. So good that I have complete strangers stopping to ask what it is that I'm reading.

"It's the Amazon Kindle," I say.
"Is there a book on there?" they say.

And then I tell them why I got the device:

1. No more dead trees on my behalf.
2. No more expensive dust collectors taking up space in my house.
3. No more driving to the store wasting time and gas.
4. No more expensive book purchases.

And then I tell them why I love it:

1. The Kindle device has its own wireless connection-- free and provided by Amazons Whispernet. I can browse Amazon from virtually anywhere, anytime, for subjects, titles, authors-- you name it.

2. I can get a preview of a book delivered straight to my Kindle with virtually no wait-- letting me read a full chapter or two to see if I want to buy the book for and average cost of $9.99 (less than half the price of a hardback book these days!) This is cool if you have a broad interest in subject matter because you can read good chunks of books without having to buy something. I could see how this might be useful for students researching for school.

3. I can organize my books, and keep a HUGE amount of media on my Kindle. I have yet to reach capacity. Even then, if I feel like cleaning it out, I can use the content manager to remove it from my Kindle, and it will be stored on my Amazon Kindle account for as long as I want it there.

4. I can get blog feed, e-newsletters and major periodicals delivered right to my Kindle for very low subscription fees.

5. I can type and edit my own documents sending them back and forth to my kindle account on Amazon.

6. I don't have to plan a trip to the bookstore, or wait for a book to arrive by mail. If I get in the mood to read, I browse, choose and within a few minutes I'm nose-deep in my favorite form of escapism.

Needless to say, I wasn't surprised in the least when Oprah recently was quoted as saying how much she loved the Kindle device. But I had to smile, because I loved it first :-)

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