I received my Kindle as a gift for Christmas last year just before my last semester of college and was skeptical at first. Being an English major and an avid reader, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about not having an actual book in my hands. In my eyes, the smell, feel and look of a book was vital to the experience of reading. However, I soon became that excited five-year old on Christmas morning as I immediately set up an Amazon account and proceeded to download.
One major benefit of the Kindle is to replace all of those heavy books I had been lugging around in my backpack for months. For this, the Kindle is absolutely perfect. I could pack seven books for a Religion class, ten novels for a senior thesis class and three for history into one six-ounce Kindle. Honestly, it was a dream come true. I also fell in love with its convenience. I never really liked going to the bookstore and the ability to download books with two clicks of a button is definitely beneficial. On top of the convenience, I have found that every book that I have purchased so far has been at least $2.00 less expensive than if I were to buy it in a bookstore (or even on Amazon). Some are even $5 to $8 less. In addition, Classics such as Hemingway, Melville or Faulkner are often sold for $1 or are often free.
I am also one to fall asleep reading many nights and find it very helpful that, when I do fall asleep, my Kindle will not only turn off after five minutes but it will also hold my page for me—no bookmarks or bent pages needed. When first hearing of this e-reader technology, I thought to myself how horrible it would be to read from a computer screen. However, Amazon’s E Ink technology (think of an Etch-a-sketch) does not bother my eyes at all.
The Kindle is not perfect. It does have some flaws and I noticed one very quickly while in school. I was excited to employ my new reading friend. However, I soon ran into an issue which has come to be known in the Kindle world as the Locations Problem. While developing the Kindle, Amazon was having difficulty incorporating page numbers into the books. Due to the small screen and the ability to change the size of the fonts it was found to be easier to use Location Numbers instead. Using locations instead of page numbers still makes no sense to me and as of now, Amazon has been working to remedy this problem. Obviously my professors did not want to see locations instead of page numbers in my papers but many of them had Kindles themselves and were sympathetic to the cause and we were able to work out a solution.
About half way through that semester, Amazon sent out an email stating that they were introducing page numbers to some books seeing as they had faced much ridicule from the book-reading community. Many popular books do have page numbers attached to them now, but some of the more obscure books (such as books for college classes) have yet to catch up to the page number technology. In fact I just received an email notification the other day from Amazon that another Kindle user had posted in the Page Numbers/Locations chat thread and, boy, was this user angry.
All-in-all, I love my Kindle. And now that I am out of college and have no need to site my readings I love it even more. I would recommend the Kindle to anyone—except, of course, college students who often need to site books.
Maureen Harding is a graduate of Temple University. She lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org