Saturday, December 25, 2010

A user's guide to Kindle

"Now with 30% more
nuclear fallout!"
I finally joined the ranks of many a hipster with the acquisition of a new Kindle 3G for Christmas. It seemed to me for the longest time to be more of a gimmick than a true substitution for books. The comparison in my mind was akin to taking a Nerf gun hunting... It looks like a gun, it fires projectiles like a gun, but it will not stop an angry moose like a gun. But hey, I can be wrong once in awhile, right?

Turns out the Kindle is ridiculously awesome. It is a new experience, to be sure, but I believe that my many hours of tinkering today have rewarded me with some knowledge that I would like to impart to each of you who may be newly Kindled this Christmas.

1. Classics! Almost all of the classics (pre-copyright law enforcement) are free! The ones that aren't are actually even better in the long run because most are indexed away into HUGE pools of book collections that cost $1. Complete Mark Twain? $1. Unabridged Oscar Wilde? $1. Anthology of H.G. Wells? (umm...) $2.50, but come on! That is a lot of literature!

2. Newly released books! Brand new books are usually between $5-$10 cheaper for Kindle than their still-warm ink counterparts. Used books from Amazon tend to be cheaper still, but shiny new releases tend to not be sold as used for quite a while after their initial printing. See the brand new NY Times bestseller you'll dig? Do yourself a favor and Kindle Store that literary goodness!

3. UNLIMITED 3G! You pay $40 extra from the outset... and you become the proud new owner of UNLIMITED INTERNET! One time payment, net anywhere. The browser may not be breathtaking, but at least it functions for eternity!

4. Return to the First Grade! Almost any book can be read aloud by the machine. Nothing is more exciting than Martin Luther's theological Papal letters as read by the smooth, sexy monotone voice that inhabits most modern text-to-speech programs that come standard on Apple computers. Laziness is encouraged!

My best piece of advice for each of you is to try an eReader of some sort, whether it be an app on your laptop, a Kindle, a Nook, or some other piece of generic digital finery. I believe this is the future of books, and, though there is a slight period of adjustment, reading remains what it always has, albeit with a lot more buttons.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and a Most Glorious Festivus!

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