As a library student, and now with my Master's Degree, I am very oft asked the question, "how do you feel about digital books?," which is generally followed with a question about the future of libraries. The latter is a question I rather hope to avoid discussing again for a good long while, since it came up in almost every library science course almost every day. The simple answer to my opinion on e-Books would be that, overall, I like them. There are definitely some reservations, but they serve a purpose.
10. OverDrive Gets Friendly with the Kindle
I was excited to learn last week that soon OverDrive, the lending library for e-Books that most public libraries use, will soon be supporting the Kindle. Up to now, OverDrive has been compatible with pretty much every other e-Reader. Lame sauce, that. While this will still be of limited utility, unless my local library gets a better OverDrive selection, it will be really nice to have the option.
Up to now, I have only purchased one Kindle e-Book: Clementine by Cherie Priest. While I do not ordinarily like paying for e-Books, there was almost literally no other way I could get this title. I owned books one and three in the series, so I had to read book two, no question. My library did not have it and on Amazon, and other web book retailers, this slim volume would have cost me over a hundred bucks. It was a limited release by a small publisher, because for some reason Tor did not want to publish it. The Kindle version cost $2.99. At some point, I will start purchasing Kindle books to make up for the things I want to read that my library does not have.
I regularly read somewhere between three and seven books at any given time (currently, I'm reading five). Making a little pile of physical books is space consuming and, with the larger numbers, a bit like a game of Jenga. With an e-Reader, switching back and forth is really easy. Plus, if you're out (for example, waiting for someone to get to where you're meeting), you can have all of your current books with you, rather than just one.
Lendle is a service I just found, where people can share their Kindle e-Books with one another. I am not so much espousing that this is completely ideal just yet, but that, at some point, a lending library will develop for the Kindle and it will be amazing. Lendle seems like it could be a good start. The main problem with it is how many publishers will not allow lending of their e-Book titles. I understand why they think that way, but it's ridiculous. It's like a publisher refusing to sell copies of their books to a library, because they want anyone who wants to read the book to have to by it.
6. Sleeping Screen
This is undoubtedly the silliest reason on this list, but it's totally valid all the same. When my Kindle is turned off, it has these awesome images of authors or classical art or birds. I love these pictures. They're so pretty and nifty. I wouldn't buy the Kindle just for these, but they are still delightful.
5. Working Out
Exercising is not a thing I do often. In fact, it's a thing I hardly do at all. I know I should, but it's so boring. A few minutes on an elliptical, which is the best of the exercise machines, and I am so ready for some entertainment that it's ridiculous. While in Cancun, I discovered that, with my Kindle, I can read books while I exercise. This is awesome. Working out still sucks, but at least that time can also be used for something fun!
Any book in the public domain is available for free on the Kindle. Needless to say, this rocks my socks. I have not taken much advantage of it yet, but I will. The reason I have not is that, unlike the other freebies, these are not going anywhere, so I will not download them until I'm ready to read. If there's a classic I want to read, like Anthony Trollope's He Knew He Was Right, and it's not available at my library, you know where I'll be going.
3. Amazon Freebies
One of the best things about having a Kindle is that it is so easy to nab the free e-Books Amazon offers. While most of the free titles are Christian fiction or trashy romances, I have still managed to find thirty to forty interesting looking books, including some that were already on my to-read list, and I have only been checking it for the last few months. This is pretty much the only way I currently get e-Books for my Kindle. Keep the fun titles coming!
You may have noticed that my book reviews often include a notice that I acquired a book via NetGalley. NetGalley is a delightful sight, where publishers can share their galleys (ARCs, proofs, review copies, etc) in e-Book format with wonderful folks like librarians and bloggers. I am so grateful for this service, especially since I will not be able to make it to the ALA conference this year. This is the big exception in the list, because this is not a thing I love about my Kindle. Although NetGalley has a Kindle download option, I prefer to read them on my computer using Adobe Digital Editions, because the formatting almost always gets really screwed up in the Kindle version. Plus, no page numbers. NetGalley has a great selection of titles and has gotten me to try some books I might otherwise never have found, because they were from a less well-known publisher or were not in my usual genre. Here's a shout out to NetGalley and the publishers that use it: thanks for being awesome!
I have been known to pack a tote bag full of books for a week's vacation (although this is only possible if I travel by car). Just so you know, a single tote bag can carry a surprising amount of books, maxing out at around 20, depending on the size of said books. Before you ask, no, I cannot read 20 books in a week, but I worried that, if I brought only seven, which is still a tad bit excessive, I might not like a few of them and suddenly not have enough books for the trip. Obviously, that would be completely unacceptable, thus the overpacking. With my Kindle at my side, I can overpack books to my heart's desire. With the weight of only one book, I can bring along hundreds. Oh, the delight! So far my Kindle has accompanied me to Cancun, where it did me quite good service. Thank you, Kindle!