Kindle came out for almost 3 years already. It never appealed to me, since a dedicated e-reader just seems too…… dedicated. Plus the initial pricing was way too expensive. Then came the Kindle for iPhone app about a year and a half ago. I installed it and downloaded some free bibles (like the ESV), but it didn’t seem very useful to me. It is much faster to look up verses in Youversion’s bible app. So Kindle remained something I thought would only be useful if I bought the real hardware.
Not until very recently, I finally realized that, for every Kindle e-book on Amazon.com, you can request a sample chapter to be sent to any registered Kindle devices. A Kindle device does not necessarily mean Amazon’s branded gadget. The Kindle for iPhone app is also considered a Kindle device, so as Kindle for Android, Blackberry, iPad, PC, and Mac. Bam, knowing this opened a whole new world for me! Like a hobo, I became addicted to downloading sample chapters by combing through my Amazon wish list and other best-seller lists, filling up my Kindle app on iPhone.
For a book-lover like me, I could spend days in the bookstore browsing. The problem is, I couldn’t physically stand for that long. How often are you able to read the entire preface or the first chapter of the book you like, while standing in a bookstore? I am pretty sure many of us have the experience of being hurried by our spouses to leave. Now with these sample chapters on my mobile device, I could read them anywhere and anytime I want–while I’m waiting for the bus, lining up at Costco, and when I’m bored sitting on the toilet =) These first chapters are great because they are first of all short, and they basically state the thesis of the whole book. Sometimes that’s all you need in reading.
Even better, Kindle’s built-in dictionary and highlighting function made my life so much easier. Whenever I hit a word foreign to me, I only have to hold my finger onto that word for one second and a dictionary definition will pop up. I have become much more motivated to look up and learn new words rather than skipping over them. This increased my reading comprehension dramatically, especially when I read theology books with a new term introduced every other line.
The other thing is a real money-saver. I need not buy boxes of BiC highlighters anymore. Highlighting electronically is both effortless and costless. It saves the earth from those potentially-hazardous yellow fluorescent ink and plastic pens. Amazon also syncs all your markups and bookmarks automagically, so that you can read on your mobile device one moment and resume on your desktop from exactly where you left off the next moment. If you use the desktop app, you can also get a list of all the highlighted sentences. Think about its uses when you are doing research! (see the screen capture)
So I finally bought my first Kindle e-book last week. I bought Dale Carnegie‘s 1936 classic How to Win Friends and Influence People for only a little over $9, which is even cheaper than the paperback. Not to mention the instant gratification you get from clicking the 1-click shopping button to receiving the entire book on your phone within 60 seconds.
I am also eyeing on the latest 3rd generation Kindle, which has a very reasonable price of $139. My friend who owns one told me that the e-ink technology looks so natural that it is just like ink on paper. When my eyes finally get sick of reading on my iPhone, maybe I’ll go for a Kindle, but so far it is entertaining me very well.