Since I tend to be an early adopter where gadgets are concerned, friends have been asking advice on choosing the ultimate electronic Christmas gift. For the next few days as a service to shoppers I thought I would offer a few personal reviews of some of the hottest items of the year:
The Kindle. I was very pleased to receive a Kindle as a gift a few months ago. This wireless reading device is the best so far of the “electronic books”. It allows you to download thousands of books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs and read them at your leisure. I particularly like downloading the New York Times and reading it when I travel, and there are dozens of different papers and magazines available. This is an Amazon product, and the interface between Amazon and the device is easy to use and really efficient. Buy the Kindle version of a book on Amazon, and next time you turn on your Kindle it will download almost immediately. Most new books come out in Kindle version (in fact my book will be available in Kindle version in the next few weeks), and Kindle versions are a bargain. Most are priced at $9.99 or less, usually 30-50% less than the hardcover equivalent. The device is easy to use, comes with an enormous amount of memory, and my experience with it has been very positive. One really nice feature for writing and researching – the Kindle allows you to “bookmark” passages to use for reference at a later date. If you are a bit of a fickle reader, it literally allows you to carry dozens of books with you in one small package, and you can get newspapers from all over the country delivered immediately.
All that being said, I find I still miss “the feel” of a book. I tend to use the Kindle for non-fiction books that I don’t feel emotionally attached to. I still prefer the experience of reading a real book.
The Verdict on Kindle. A really fun and useful device that would make a great gift for the serious reader. It comes with a pretty hefty price tag – $359 – but someone that reads two or three books a month or subscribes to a lot of newspapers and magazines could recoup that investment in a year or so. It makes a lot less sense for the more casual reader or someone who really loves the “touch and smell” of a book.
Tomorrow – my review on the iPhone