Monday, January 24, 2011


When, in Waterstones some years ago, I saw, for the first time, e-book reading gadgets I was too sceptical to take much interest in them; apart from which they were too expensive.  
More recently I have been seduced by Amazon publicity for their “Kindle” device (Why do exceptionally clever devices invariably have such inane names?).  Yet sceptical, I ordered one.  I gave the ‘buy’ button the lightest possible touch and began at once to be concerned.  For reasons quite beyond my understanding can not deliver “Kindle” products to Greece.  I had to order from in the United States.   Previously, goods ordered from beyond the E.U. have taken around three months to reach me; orders placed within are usually delivered within three weeks.  I had committed a budget-blowing $100 U.S. and more to buying something I neither needed nor of which I was at all  sure of how much use I would make.
My “Kindle”, ordered on 10th January, arrived on 20th.  Amazon have obviously made arrangements to short-circuit greek customs duty delays.  Within hours of unpacking this little wonder all my scepticism had evaporated; since then my “Kindle”  and I have been as one!
It is the size of a small paperback book  but only about as thick as a ball-point pen.  It’s weight is negligible.  Reading from its screen is exactly as is reading from a book, "Kindle" reading has nothing in common with reading from a computer screen.  It comes pre-loaded with two adequately comprehensive dictionaries, one English one U.S.American, and a User’s Guide.  Adding books from the “Kindle Store” is quick and easy and not only are they less expensive than physical books, they cost nothing to deliver.  Indeed, I have already bought books by the yard; collections of Hardy, Thackeray and Trollope (All their novels for just a few dollars per author!) as well as more recent titles, amongst which is the recently released autobiography of Mark Twain.  Last Saturday I bought that day’s edition of “The Times”, if I chose to I could subscribe to a newspaper and have it delivered daily to my “Kindle”.  In practically every respect the “Kindle”  suits me better than a book.  It is lighter.  It is always flat. I do not need a bookmark, the “Kindle” will aways switch on at the page I was last reading, although I can also bookmark other pages.  I can highlight passages.  My “Kindle” has a small, thumb operated qwerty keyboard with which annotations can be made.  Through a USB slot my “Kindle”  communicates with,and can exchange files with, my computer.  It battery, Amazon claim, requires recharging "about once a month".  Should I want it, I can download music and have it playing as I read.  My relationship with my “Kindle” is yet in its infancy, I have much yet to learn.  I am infatuated - no, besotted - with this gadget; the best return for $100 U.S. or so, or its equivalent in any currency, that I have had in a long while. 

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