Reading is very important to me. I had just forgotten that in the face of the wonders of travel.
I am an explorer and a curious one at that. I like to see what is over that hill or around that next corner. Travel feeds this nature and yet so do books. When I am out traveling, I can actually go around the corner or over the hill to see for myself. Books (good ones anyway) ask these What If questions and attempt to answer them.
In the face of traveling though, books are heavy. I moved to Germany with a backpack and a rolly-bag. A fair chunk of that weight and space was paperbacks. When I went back to get married, I went home to look at what I had stored and rescued more books. And yet now we are trying to move Beyond Vacation and travel more. What am I to do about reading?
Enter the Kindle
I am not willing to give up reading. Especially now that I have set a goal to become a fiction writer, I need to continue reading to keep learning that. And yet I cannot afford to carry the books I would want to.
Ali has a fairly old one and raved about it, though I wasn’t so sure. I like the heft of books and the ability to loan them back and forth. But given our desire to travel, I had to make some sacrifices so I invested in a new Kindle. I tend to buy most of my English books on Amazon anyway, so hooking into their company wasn’t a big deal to me. I am now over eight months with this thing and through our first big trip, so I wanted to look at the pros and cons.
- Lightweight and small. Even with the case and cord, it is still lighter and smaller than a single large format paperback.
- I can read nearly anywhere.
- Books are pretty easy to get
- It is easy to read several books at once.
- Amazon offers samples – This was one of my biggest worries with the Kindle. If I can only read the reviews and the backcover text, how do I find new books that I like. The ability to get a Sample of a book onto the Kindle (usually 30-50 pages or so) for free has helped immensely. I can just pull samples for anything that looks vaguely interesting and only buy it later.
- Cost – Even with the cost of the device, the books are fairly cheap. Living in Germany there is 0 second-hand market for English fantasy paperbacks. This means I either get them shipped from the UK or buy them new. I am attached to the German version of Amazon with the Kindle, but have had no issue getting books in English. They sometimes come out a few months after the print, but I can be patient.
- A lot of classics are free from Project Gutenburg. It is a bit of a pain getting them onto the kindle, but still.
- Some “free wi-fi” points require you to log-in within a browser. Yeah, Kindle’s don’t do that well. I didn’t see the need to pay more for the 3G version, so I am using wifi. It is a minor issue.
- Maps – I read a lot of fantasy books, many of which come with maps in the front. I like to refer to them through reading. This is a lot harder on the kindle than in a real book.
- Start up and down time – I can just open a book and start reading, then close it when I am done (or I have to get off the tram). Since I am trying to save battery, I tend to want to shut off the kindle when I am done. This takes a few seconds. I just need to not worry about it so much.
- The battery is really good, but there still is a battery.
- Some of the older paperback books that I have (and love) are not on Kindle.
I still like to read and will definitely continue to do so. As much as I don’t really like binding myself to a company, I do rally like to have all my books in one spot.
If you like travel books, check out The Global Bookshelf, run by our friend Gillian, for a bunch of recommendations.