Recommended Portable eBook Reader & Accessories

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Kindle WiFi/Kindle 3G WiFi


So I have been putting off "making the switch" for a long time.

Books used to work for me. Books probably saved my life, as a child. But they just aren't working for me anymore.

I still enjoy the reading part. It's just the (shutter) morning after ... the clutter. And they can be so distant, so inaccessible.

I have always loved books. I really have. Anyone who has seen my house knows this to be true and can testify with specifics.

Books are everywhere. They occupy the mantel over the fireplace, the almost-a-coffee-table except it is too tall and too long thingie my wife bought and put behind the sofa in the living room, the headboard on the bed, the nightstands on either side of the bed, two bookcases in the office, a desk in the guest room, two more bookcases in the attic ... thank g*d we sold three boxes full of them in last summer's garage sale and three more boxes at the used book store last fall and gave away another box this winter, or these things would be getting the upper hand around here ... oh wait, there's another stack I was going to take to the used book store last weekend.

My wife reads twice as much as I do. None of these books are hers.

And that stack of books awaiting disposal is the event that triggered my decision to commit: I was looking at it Saturday morning and thinking wow, they'll let me trade those in ... for more books. And I realized I am powerless over my compulsion to read and my furniture surfaces have become unmanageable.

The event that pulled the hammer back on that decision occurred this past fall while my wife and I were driving out to New Mexico, taking the back roads. I had finished the novel I had brought with me the night before at the motel. My wife had finished the novel she had been reading that morning. We were stopping for lunch at the Rabbit Ear Café in Clayton — interesting little town, great little café, but about 218 miles from the nearest Barnes & Noble.

My wife bought a book along here.

@copy2011 Google - Imagery @copy2011 TerraMetrics, Map data @copy2011 Google

For my wife, no problems. She had her Kindle. She could buy a new book anywhere. In fact, she had just bought one an hour or so previously, while we were driving down some desolate stretch of two-lane back in Kansas. I hadn't even had to slow down. She had been reading it within minutes of picking it out. But as for me, I figured there was no way I was going to have anything to read over lunch. Things were looking grim.

Fortunately, the café had a great menu with a nice little description on the back about how the nearby mountain, for which the café was named, had come to be called "Rabbit Ears." But it had been a close call. I came very close to having to sit there with nothing to do while I waited for my pork chops.

So, this past Saturday, sitting in my office, looking at that stack of books, thinking about how these things that had brought me so much pleasure had now become clutter requiring removal, I remembered my wife, so beautiful, reading a novel she had bought from thin air while I sat there reading a menu that, despite being somewhat interesting, was not something I had chosen to read and, worse, contained several grammatical errors. I knew that I needed to act.

And I ordered a Kindle.

I went with the Kindle 3G WiFi because my wife's experience with her second generation Kindle — and with Amazon customer support — has been entirely positive; plus mine will be 21% smaller with the same sized screen, 17% lighter. It will have 50% better screen contrast and twice the storage.

These things will help to make up for being forced to read that menu. It also helped that the new Kindle got a very good review from The New York Times:

The Kindle 3 is ingeniously designed to be everything the iPad will never be: small, light and inexpensive .... now, the Kindle is almost ridiculously lightweight; at 8.5 ounces, it's a third the weight of the iPad. That's a big deal for a machine that you want to hold in your hands for hours ... certain facts are unassailable: that the new Kindle offers the best E Ink screen, the fastest page turns, the smallest, lightest, thinnest body and the lowest price tag of any e-reader. It’s also the most refined and comfortable. — David Pogue. "New Kindle Leaves Rivals Farther Back." The New York Times. 25 August 2010.

That same article notes that "choosing a reader is a particularly momentous decision."

It is not just about the reader, I'm also committing to a source for most, but not all, of the material I'll be reading on it; and Amazon has the largest selection of eBooks in the marketplace, over 810,000 at this writing (Feburuary 2011) and growing. But the Kindle also can read literally millions of addtional entirely free, out-of-copyright books available directly from Amazon's archive of Popular Classics offering over 15,000 works from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to Pride and Prejudice and from sources like Project Gutenberg with another 30,000 titles.

Amazon provides links to multiple sources of out-of-copyright works along with instruction for how to access the works at those sites and load them to your Kindle. If you were the niece of a certain reviewer of miscellaneous objects and you had been assigned to read a classic literary work and then write about it and you had recently bought yourself a Kindle, that might be a good place to go.

Kindle Lighted Leather Cover


My Kindle will spend much of its mobile life in a manly shoulder pack like the one pictured here. (I highly recommend these, too, by the way. But that's another story.)

There will be other stuff in that bag with it. Manly stuff. With pointy parts and scratchy edges. Also granola bars. And sometimes an apple. There could totally be an apple in there some days.

And the bag will spend much of its time in the passenger foot well of a utility vehicle.

And dogs will step on it.

It needs protection. So I got it a cover. And as long as I was getting it a cover, I figured getting a cover with a built in light that would be powered from the Kindle would be an even better idea. My wife does not have a cover like that and uses a HUGlight Flexible Hands Free Task Light instead.

And on her, they are really cute. In a Sigourney-Weaver-fighting-Aliens kind of way.

On me, they would look silly. I mean, isn't the bag bad enough?

But, in all seriousness. I have had the Kindle and its cover for almost a week now. I have used the reader and the cover's light every night. I am really glad I went this route. If I can find the reader, I have already found the light. My wife, well, sometimes it takes her a little longer.

If you get the Kindle. Get a cover. With a light.

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