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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On buying and borrowing e-books on your Kindle

I really cannot say enough how much I love to read. Nothing is more rewarding that completing another well written book, except finishing another badly written one. Books are thrilling, fun, fantastic, entertaining, teaching, amazing things. Accessing books should be simple for everyone, no matter where they live, and how much money they have. 

I am so happy that Amazon.com makes so many books instantly available. I am even happier at the selection of books that are free, or nearly free. I try to check the free selection weekly, because they are always adding new ones. Some of them are classics, but some are also very new. Some are written by new authors wanting to get their work out there and gain a following. Some are short stories and novellas, some are just a few chapters of a novel set by the publisher to give you a chance to decide whether you really want to buy the book or not. It is a nice opportunity to expand your Kindle library.

Here is something that excites me even more, library books, lent to you on your kindle. If you are unsure if this is a good idea, let us look at the pros and cons of such an idea:

Pros:
  1. You do not have to physically go to the library to get your book. This can be especially convenient for those that work or sleep during library business hours, or live a good distance from their local library while lacking transportation. This is also a good thing for busy people that are always on the go, and single moms that have hyper small children.
  2. Your book will return itself whenyour borrowing time is up. This means that you never return a book late, so you will never get a fee. You can extend your time, also, without having to step foot into the library, which is convenient. When your time is up, the book just disappears off of your device, and goes to the next person in line. 
  3. You always know where the book is. I cannot tell you how many times I, or one of my children, have managed to misplace a library book. Sometimes, the book is not found for months. The fees for such a situation are pretty high.
  4. No more damaged books. You will not borrow a book that is missing pages, is written in or on, or is falling apart in your hand. Your dog, child, or other family member might have a difficult time damaging the book requiring you to pay repair or replacement fees.
Cons:
You have to have a Kindle or Kindle reading app...and a library card.

Friday, July 22, 2011

101 Tips for Traveling with a Vampire, Joleene Naylor

I chose to download this book because it was free, and at the time I am writing this, it still is. The author, Joleene Naylor, has apparently written an entire series around the idea of a 13 year old girl that is traveling the world with vampires. I have never read any of her other books, but upon reading this, I decided that it must have been intended for persons the same age as the antagonist. The personal narration is slightly childish, as though intended for young readers, and I personally found it to be silly and whimsical.

The book is actually full of valuable travel tips, foreign and domestic. The author adds in little random "vampire lore" ideas involving coffins and cargo holds, needing to feed of random people and whatnot. The author also includes felonies i her tips, like identity theft, leaving state and federal boundaries using false identification, robbing the dead, leaving the scene of homicides...

All in all the book is "cute" but silly and childish.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Techno Love

I have a disturbingly big love for certain technologies. I also have an insatiable love for reading. Add to that my waning vision, and we have a problem. Being able to read on my computer is nice and all, and with the free Kindle PC application, it has its conveniences. I have access to nearly a million books of nearly every age and genre, and so many the are free that it is worth the hours of browsing. I can control the text size, and because I have a touch screen PC, I can turn pages with a finger flick.

With all of these positive reasons in favor of reading on my computer, the drawbacks make it almost unworthy of my time. When reading from my computer, I am stuck in my chair in front of the screen. This is painful for me, as my back is not in the best condition. Although I love my computer, because it is an incredible machine with so many amazing features, I cannot bring myself to stay on it for great lengths of time. It is far too painful.

Computer screens, as we all know, are  back-lit. You might figure this a good thing for someone with weakening vision, but it really isn't. Honestly, back-lit screens are not good for anyone. They increase the risk of migraine, and can cause sleep disturbance if one is using one too late into the night. It may seem convenient at night for your screen to light the way for you, but when you toss and turn, cannot keep your eyes closed because you feel like you are blinking when you aren't, and wake up with a migraine, remember I told you so. So because I already have a migraine disorder, chronic insomnia, and bad eyes, too long here at the old PC is a bad idea.

I think that, worse than all of these things, the inability to take my books with me everywhere because they are stored in the hard drive of the PC is more than inconvenient. I cannot even sit across the room and read because...well..it would be a pain to move this thing just for a more comfortable seat, ad it would risk the health of my not-so-affordable all-in-one computer. Yes, I have a little netbook, but the battery life is short lived, and I would really only get through a few chapters of a book before it would inevitably need to be plugged in, trapping me in one place yet again.

I have been wanting an actual Kindle for a couple years now. With Amazon already being one of my favorite sites, and the place I go to buy most of my books to begin with, it just makes sens to have one. With the growing number of books available for kindle, and the unbeatable pricing, I could house a small library in my bag. The price just was always a bit out of range. I would swear to buy one for myself every month, and just never do it. When my mother asked me this year what I wanted for my birthday, a Kindle was the only thing I could think of.

My kindle arrived Tuesday, one day before my birthday. I have never been happier with a piece of technology in my entire life. I can find not one single thing to complain about with the possible exceptions that (1) there are not enough reading hours in the day, and (2) there are still a great number of books that I would like to have on my kindle that are not yet available in the electronic format. I even bought a "skin" for it, and it to me is now a beautiful work of art, that's sole purpose is to house and make available to me, various works of beautiful art.

Having this amazing device will in no way stop my purchasing of tangible, ink and paper books. It is like my father says, there is something extremely rewarding in that slightly musty, old paper smell, that they will never be able to recreate.On the other hand, should there be a disaster and I could not save shelves full of books, I will not have lost them completely.

Another BIG plus to the Kindle? You can easily take it anywhere. It is about the size of a paperback in diameter, but very thin. It weighs about half what a normal paperback does. You can customize it. You can adjust the text size. You can use it to browse the web. It can play mp3s. It can read to you. Okay...that was more than one plus. Oh, there are hundreds of books that you can get for free, or nearly free if you just look. Many independent authors will often publish a novel free at first to help you gain interest in their writings, and anything that has an expired copyright is free. It is also soon to be possible to be lent books through your local library on your kindle. No need to worry about the due date or late fees. It will return itself.