One year ago today, I received my Kindle. It was a gift from my father, bought after I’d started expressing an interest in getting an e-reader some time soon to help me cope with the large number of e-ARCs I was getting. Until then, my only choice was to read them on my laptop, which was cumbersome at best and an outright chore at worst.
A Kindle wasn’t my first choice. Amazon hadn’t exactly endeared me to them with all the mistakes they’d made regarding e-books and licenses and the random deleting of things that people had purchased. I was looking, probably, for a Kobo reader, or a Nook. Amazon was actually pretty far down my list of choices.
But in spite of that, a Kindle was what I received.
How has it held up? Surprisingly well, actually. Hearken back to this post to see a good example of just how much I’ve been using it for reading. (The number of books in my NetGalley folder has jumped significantly since I took that picture, too…) With one exception, I think that every book I’ve received and reviewed from NetGalley this year was read on my Kindle, which took the average reading time down from approximately 1 week on my laptop to maybe a couple of days. The Kindle allowed me to get through far more review copies than I would have otherwise been able to do, which has done wonders for the number of reviews I’m able to post here.
For me, having a Kindle isn’t about the ease of purchasing books and having them quickly at hand. I rarely turn on the WiFi connection unless I’ve got a book or two coming my way from NetGalley, and half the time if I buy an e-book from Amazon I do it via my laptop anyway, then just turn the WiFi on the Kindle for a minute when I want to download it. Being able to browse from the Kindle is a nice feature, but I rarely use it. I have yet to use its ability to play MP3s, nor have a I shared any favourite book quotes to Facebook using it. Half of its features go entirely unappreciated in my case.
No, where the Kindle really proved its worth to me was this past summer, when I broke my finger and had my right hand stuck in a cast for a month. I found out pretty quickly that regular books were not going to work out for me then. I could hold them up, but had to brace them awkwardly to turn pages. It was more of a hassle than it was worth. But my Kindle? It was light enough to hold in one hand, and a press of my thumb against a button would flip to the next page. No awkwardness, no pain, no dropping of books on the floor by accident. That thing kept me sane for a month, when I was alone in the apartment and discovering just how limited I was with only one good hand. That’s where the Kindle really shone. Not in the ease of browsing, but in the ease of use, in being light and simple and endlessly entertaining.
And happily (*touch wood*) I have not had any issues with Amazon deciding I shouldn’t own certain books and deleting them from my Kindle, which was my biggest worry.
Would I upgrade to a better Kindle? Probably. Eventually. When this one dies. I don’t need a Kindle with a touchscreen or the ability to play movies or any of that stuff. The model I have now more than suits my needs, and when it finally kicks the bucket, I hope I can get another one exactly like it. It’s been a great reading tool, and I’m more than impressed with my first year of having it.
Thanks to my father for buying it, to Amazon for making a solid product and learning from their mistakes, and the publishers associated with NetGalley who make their books Kindle-ready.