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Posts Tagged ‘Kindle’

Years ago, my son told me about a new kind of book. He was working for Amazon and they had just introduced their first e-reader. He knew I loved reading and I had trouble with my eyesight so he thought it would be a perfect fit for me. I looked at them online but at that time they were $300. That was way too much for my budget. Besides, I mostly bought my books used so having to pay even $10 for an e-book would be too much to feed my reading appetite so I passed. The following Christmas I found a box under the Christmas tree with a Kindle 2 inside of it. I was almost going to tell them to send it back because I thought it was too extravagant and I thought it would just sit there unused because of the price of the books, but I couldn’t disappoint them…the gift was from all three of the kids. They had also included a $25 gift card so I could get a couple of books. My son set it up for me and showed me how to shop in the Kindle Store. It was 2009 and one book I really wanted to read had just been released so I picked my first book, The Moral Compass by Ted Kennedy. When I finished that I bought The Help. After that, I mostly got free books or 99 cent books. I bought a couple of books by fellow bloggers, too, but mostly stuck with the cheap and free books.

This morning I opened gmail to find an email from Amazon, informing me that I have a new credit for ebooks. It’s my share of the settlement of the anti-trust lawsuit against Apple. So now I get to buy another $15 worth of books with this credit. I figured out the books that made me eligible for this credit were those first two purchases, and a couple of other less expensive books. It made me smile because that original gift of the Kindle I didn’t want six years ago is still giving me so much! Not only am I enjoying it (well I’m on Kindle number 3 because I upgraded a couple of times; I now read on the Kindle Voyage) but I’m also now going to get to read a title or two that I otherwise wouldn’t buy because of the price. Yay!

The #WeeklySmile is a weekly blog linkup hosted by Trent. Go check it out. Smile with us!

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I am an avid reader.  I also have failing eyesight.  I am legally blind without corrective lenses.  This keeps me from reading.  I would struggle to read (with my contacts on and two pair of reader glasses one over the other) for twenty or so minutes just to have to stop and rest my eyes for another half hour or so before trying to read again.  My son works for amazon.  When the Kindle ereader came out years ago, he suggested that I might want to get one.  They were near $300 at the time and I did not like the fact that I had to pay around $10 for most books I would want to read.  I was used to buying my books at used bookstores for only a dollar or two.  That’s how I could afford to read as much as I did.  The only time I spent full price on print books was when a new Grisham novel was released or the Harry Potter series.  Other books I would wait til I could find at a used bookstore.

For Christmas of 2009, there was nothing on my Christmas list.  The only thing I wanted was to spend one more year with all three of my children before everyone scattered even more.  That year, my older daughter and I were living in Oregon.  My son was in California and my youngest daughter was in Baltimore at college.  My older daughter was also pregnant.  My fear was that we wouldn’t get to be together for that Christmas and then the precedent would be set and we would not ever have a Christmas together again.  So that’s what was important to me…getting us all together.  I posted an ad on craigslist in the California city where I wanted to spend the holidays, asking if anyone had a house or small apartment that we could use for a family Christmas and I explained what our situation was and who would be staying there.  One woman replied almost immediately.  She said she had never done anything like that but that my ad caught  her attention and she and her husband would be out of their townhouse for the holidays.  We settled on a price and they sent a contract for me to sign and my son went to see the place before I signed the contract.  It all worked out and we had a place to spend the holiday together.  My wish had come true and I was happy.

On Christmas morning, I was given my gift.  Christmas is also my birthday so the gift was for both Christmas and birthday and it was from all three of the kids.  I opened it and it was a Kindle (It was actually Kindle 2 for those in the know).  I wasn’t sure I would keep it but I pretended to like it when my son showed me how to set it up and use it.  They had also included a gift card for $20 so I could buy my first couple of books.  He said I had 30  days to try it out and it could be retuned if I didn’t like it.  I went along with it and downloaded my first book (True Compass: A Memoir by Edward M. Kennedy).  When I got a chance to use it that night, I liked it.  I just wasn’t sure about having to spend so much on books.  The next day I got out my laptop and looked online and found many sources for free books for the Kindle.  So I started to download free books.

I fell in love with that Kindle!  Since then I have upgraded to the Kindle Keyboard (Kindle 3) and hope to buy myself the new Voyager in the next couple of months.  I read more now than I ever have and spend a lot less.  I have also joined several websites where I earn points that can be cashed in for amazon gift cards.  I use those gift cards exclusively for my Kindle books.  Some months I get only $5 in gift cards but I have also gotten as much as $35 in free amazon gift cards in one month.  That buys me a l ot of Kindle books for, basically “free”.  It just cost me some time and a little bit of effort filling out surveys and writing reviews.

Since then, my vision has worsened so much that I can no longer read print books at all so if it were not for Kindle, I would be a very unhappy and very frustrated reader.

That was probably the most surprising gift I have ever received!

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Just a couple of days ago, I read a blog post titled “Twelve Reasons Why I Don’t Use An E-Reader” and it reminded me of how I felt before I got my e-reader.

I did not want to pay cover price for a new or recent release and not have a physical copy of it.  I wouldn’t be able to lend it out.  I didn’t want to read on anything like a computer screen because computer monitors make my eyes hurt and water which causes me to not be able to read for very long.  I also didn’t want to read on a “cold” piece of electronic hardware.  And I didn’t want to pay the high price of the fragile hardware.

Then, for Christmas two years ago, I was visiting my son and he asked if, while he was at work, I could go to his apartment to wait for a couple of packages that were arriving vía Fed-Ex and would require a signature.  I agreed to do it.  When the packages arrived, one was definitely from Amazon.com and the size of a small-ish hardback book.  I signed for it.  Then I thought about it and wondered if perhaps it might be a Kindle, which my son had mentioned months before that I might want to get one day because of my love for reading.  I felt really bad because I don’t ever tell my kids that what they got for me was not what I wanted.  I don’t even tell them if it doesn’t fit.  I just smile, and thank them and deal with it.  I also knew that a Kindle was, at that time, $260.  That was a lot of money for any of my kids, or even for all three of them together, to spend on me and I was sure it was not something I would use.  I thought I was going to have to smile and accept it and then let it sit without using it.  I almost cried.  I was really upset and the next day was Christmas so I didn’t have a lot of time to adjust to the situation or to figure out a way to solve the problem.

On Christmas morning, the package indeed turned out to be a Kindle from all three of my kids.  My son sat with me and explained how it worked and how simple it would be for me to order a book straight from the device.  He also explained that all Kindle books were priced at no more than $9.99 (this was true at that time but the “Big 6” publishers have changed that even though Amazon.com fought for the consumer) with many being a lot less as the price went down once the book was no longer a new release or a bestseller.  He also showed me how the capacity of the Kindle was about 1500 books (at least of the Kindle 2 which is what that model was) My son set up the device for me with my email address and my Amazon.com account information.  The kids had also gotten me a $30 gift certificate to use on Kindle books.  He showed me how to search the Kindle Store directly from my Kindle device.  He also showed me how the Kindle does not have a back-lit screen which means that it does not cause eyestrain.  We bought my first Kindle book at that time (Edward Kennedy’s True Compass: A Memoir).

I felt a little bit better after he went through it with me and I felt better about the price of the books.  Before getting my Kindle I only bought used new releases and those were always at least $6 for a used physical copy.  I would not have to have more and more bookshelves to fit my new books.  I started to get used to the idea but thought I would only use it for special books, not for every day reading.   That night I started reading my book on my Kindle and lo and behold I read for about three hours straight without eye strain. Reading in bed, holding the Kindle in one hand was so easy and so comfortable.  The e-ink display was wonderful for my weak eyes.  I will still a little iffy about the whole thing but I breathed easier after that first Kindle reading session.

Now, a little more than two years later, I carry my Kindle with me wherever I go.  I have a special cover that I made for it and it travels safely in my purse wherever I go.  I have over 800 titles on it.  I get most of them for free or with gift cards that I earn from taking surveys online or using swagbucks.com.  In the past two years I have spent less than $100 on these  800+ books.  And the bonus is that my mother and my sisters, all avid readers, each have their own Kindle which we registered to my account so we all have access to the same books.  That’s better than lending them the physical copy.  If we want, the four of us can read the same title at the  same time!

There are so many reasons for loving my Kindle.  I can’t name them all here.  However, not a day goes by without using my Kindle!  And because it does not cause eyes strain, I can read it for hours and hours, unlike a physical book which I can read only for a half hour at a time due to the eye strain.  Oh and one of the best things…you can change the size of the font very easily which means that I can read a book with the font size set at the third from the largest size which is comfortable for me and my sister reads it at one size smaller than I do and my mom at the largest size (which is two sizes larger than I need).  Talk about a fit for everyone!

So this is my answer to the post I read the other day.  I’m sure there are lots more reasons why I cannot let go of my Kindle but these are the ones that readily come to mind as I take a few minutes to write this between chapters of Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot, which is the title I am currently reading.  I cannot imagine not having my Kindle!

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This year, through a number of circumstances, I will be alone over the Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend.  I have been trying to convince myself that it’s okay but the more I worked on psyching myself up to be okay with it, the more I realized that I was not going to like being alone.  I thought that I might volunteer at a homeless shelter or something but in the end, my daughter is going to borrow my car to go out of state so I will also be without transportation.  And although the Portland Metro area has an extensive public transportation system, I’m in a rural area and the bus just doesn’t go near me.  I would have to drive to the transportation center and leave my car and take a bus in to town.  In the end, my bus trip would be shorter than my drive to the transportation center.  I won’t have a car to drive there so that’s out.

Just as I was starting to feel a panic about being alone, I read a Facebook post that came across my Wall.  It seems that there is a reading event in which I can participate this weekend!  I’ve done similar events in the past and have really enjoyed them.  So I signed up to participate in Thankfully Reading, the 2010 edition.  This will be great!   This type of event offers participants the opportunity to participate in a group event independently.  Through blog comments and FB posts and Twitter tweets, we all get to know a little about one another and about what we are reading.  It’s a wonderful way to make friends and get some leads for books to read in the future.

Now I am looking forward to the weekend and looking through my Kindle books to see what I want to read this weekend.  I’m excited!

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