I'm starting to come to the conclusion that the Kindle has to be one of the most deadliest toys ever produced. Well, not deadly in terms of actually out-right killing people, that's more a landmine's designation. No, I mean in terms of expense, convenience and addictiveness.
Here, here's my list of all the bad things with the Kindle Kris bought me for my birthday this year. I can tell you, I hadn't expected to love it as much as I do, I'm an old fashioned paper gal, myself. I lurve the paper, you know.
So, the bad things:
- I can get a book any time I want
With three button pushes, the first to turn on the wireless, the second to access the store and the third to say, "Yes, yes, yes, I want to purchase this already," I have a book in my hands. Is it 1 am and I should be going to bed? Sure, but with these three clicks, I can keep reading the Dresden Files when I should be going to bed. What? I just finished this book, and should start working sometime today? Clicky click click, nope, I'm still reading the day away.
It's too darn easy to just keep reading with this thing. Too darn easy and approaching too darn expensive, especially if I decide I want to have the paperback or hardcover and have to buy it again anyway. Damn Dresden books.
- I'm worried about breaking the darn thing
The screen on the Kindle is good sized. It has this large surface area where it can be hit or smooshed or otherwise impacted. Having seen pictures of broken Kindle screens, I feel justified in being nervous about breaking the screen accidently on my Kindle. I'm not exactly, uh, easy on my electronics as all 22 pounds of equipment goes into my backpack each day.
And since I do carry that backpack pretty much everywhere, water is another source or possible damage to the Kindle. Now, I know I can purchase an Amazon Kindle cover for the Kindle, only $29, but it's leather. I feel way uncomfortable knowing a cow died so that I could have a cover for a darn expensive toy, so I have a Waterfield Kindle Sleeve. I like it a lot, and it has an impact resistant insert to prevent most small bumps. It's the big, unexpected ones I worry about.
- There are typos in the converted-to-Kindle books
And some of those typos are quite annoying.
In the last two books I've read (yes, yes, Dresden Files books, why do you ask?), the first two paragraphs have typos like two paragraphs have typos where the content is duplicated in the content is duplicated in the middle of a paragraph, and not even a complete sentence, either.
That was annoying, eh? Yeah, I think so, too.
Grammar errors are bad enough (yes, I'm coming around to the Shakespearean use of "they" as a gender neutral pronoun, so, dammit, the rest of you should learn how to use the possessive pronoun in front of gerunds already!), but typographical errors are unforgivable (in print, of course, let's just ignore the typos here in blog format, shall we?).
- And then there's the DRM
Purchasing titles on the Kindle isn't really like buying a book, where you own the paper (if not the words on the paper), and can share that glued block of paper with words printed on them.
No, it's more like you lease the words, and Big Brother Amazon can remove them at any point if it wants. It's in the lease agreement you "signed" when you linked your Amazon account to your Kindle.
I happen to disagree vehemently with the practice of removing titles from the Kindle (as happened recently when Amazon sold an unauthorized version of 1984 to Kindle customers, and "fixed" the problem by removing downloaded copies from Kindles in the middle of the night and crediting the purchasers the price of the book) without permission. Emailing customers and letting them know what was up is one thing, just deleting the titles is another, and it's the latter I have problems with.
Which I hope to never have a problem with, and try to work around by having a backup of my files in triplicate as well as the wireless always off unless I'm purchasing and downloading a book (see bad thing #1).
We'll see. If it's really a bad thing, the DRM can be broken so that I can access that which I have legally purchased.
Okay, so that's all the bad I've found. I'll balance it with the good, too.
- I can get a book any time I want
Yes, the top good same as my top bad. Being able to purchase a book even after the stores are closed and have it in my hands 15 seconds later is POWERFUL, people. Incredibly liberating.
- I can look up any word immediately
Yes, I have a problem with my vocabulary. I've been struggling since high school to increase its size and my understanding of more words in general. I confess some words confuddle (yes, a slang term) me, especially when I kinda-sorta-maybe know the definition, but not really. The Kindle has this feature where you can hover the cursor over a word and the definition will popup on the screen.
Holy moly do I love this feature.
I can look up words instantly. Some references are missing, especially those that refer to some esoteric minor Greek god whose name has been changed slightly to fit in the story line, but for the most part, I'm thrilled with the definition coverage.
Having started reading a few paper books instead of electronic books, I have to say, wow, I miss this feature a lot in dead tree form.
- Reading lying down is easier
Okay, this one may be a little silly, but I notice it a lot now.
Normally when reading in bed, lying down on my side, I'll hold the book open with one hand, usually the hand on top, and have to turn over to the other side to read the opposing page. The problem with this technique is that I have to turn so frequently, usually every minute or less. The seeming trashing does little to help Kris sleep next to me.
With the Kindle, I just lie on one side until I want to move over. Holding the book takes little effort. With a Next button on either side of the Kindle, I can just click click click to "turn" the pages. Easy enough, and Kris doesn't need to keep waking up.
Honestly, there are more bads than goods, but the goods, oh boy, are they pretty wonderful. The one bad I'm truly worried about is the DRM, and even those worries aren't too strong.
The Kindle is one dangerous little toy.