Monday, May 17, 2010

My weekend with the Kindle

Two of our teachers wrote a grant to buy an Amazon Kindle, primarily to use the text-to-speech capacity with struggling readers. They were kind enough to let me borrow it for the weekend.

I do not buy books for myself. I check them out of the library to read before purchasing for my school library, and occasionally pick up books at the thrift store for a quarter, so a Kindle would make little sense for me personally. Since there is no way we're purchasing the $259 unit for general use, this was an exercise in the abstract.

The temptation is there. Being able to download sample chapters of books while sitting in my easy chair was awesome. I was also hugely intrigued by the number of Horatio Alger and Eleanor Porter titles that were available, and managed to read a sample chapter of Morley's The Haunted Bookshop, a paper copy of which I cannot locate (*sob*). I read quite a bit of Eight Cousins on the device, and was not bothered at all by the format. The big advantage of the Kindle over reading things off the computer is, no kidding, the easy chair!

There are some downsides. For example, the unit completely froze on me three times, and dropped the wireless connection frequently. This would not affect reading the books, but made looking in the Kindle store unwieldy, since I was always 56 pages into the 1,200 page listings of Children's Historical Fiction, and had to start over. I also had to call tech support just to find out how to see all of the books that were listed on my home page-- it was not readily apparent, and not written up in the paper instructions or the Kindle manual.

My biggest dislike was the Kindle store. The internet based version does not seem to be a vast improvement. Since I want text-to-speech enabled books, it would be helpful to see a listing of those and search for children's fiction among those titles. There may be a way, but I'm tired of spending time on it. That, and I think I accidentally purchased three books, for which I will need to make restitution. Drat.

The one compelling reason for me to buy a Kindle (or more likely, a Nook, which seems to be a little more user friendly)? If I could get just three major publishing houses to send me free copies of entire e books so that I could review them, I would purchase one. It would be cheaper for the publishers than sending ARCs, they wouldn't lose money because I would never normally buy an e book, and I could even sign an agreement to delete the title if they wanted.

Random House, HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Farrar, Stauss and Giroux, Penguin Putnam or Little, Brown and Co. (I know, you're really Hachette Group now)-- are you interested in sending me free e books? I have had publishers send me PDF files of books, and this would be about the same, except I would be able to sit in my easy chair instead of at the computer, which is too much like work!

1 comment:

  1. You may want to check out I've acquired a few ARCs there that I read on my Sony Reader. I don't think any of the publishers you listed are currently available, but Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is.