Posted by: Christine | January 7, 2012

Kindle v Books

1.33 million Kindles were sold last month – and one of them found it’s way into my Christmas stocking. So, how am I getting on with it?

 First off, it is easy to use. No charger with it but it plugged into the USB socket of the computer. Once charged I found the user’s guide on the screen and chose what language to use and connected to our Wi-Fi network. There were instructions on how the buttons worked – a bit tricky having just got used to a touch screen phone. As I already an Amazon account I was able to quickly register the device and set up the Amazon 1-Click Payment Method.

 I then explored the free e-books and downloaded one (Moby Dick) and discovered how to read it. All this on Christmas Day!

 A couple of days later I tried subscribing to a newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, which has a 14 trial. After that it is £9.99 per month. As a Telegraph subscriber I should be able to get it free, but I haven’t managed to sort that out yet.

 Also in my stocking was a £20 voucher, which I had registered with Amazon. The time had come to actually buy an e-book. I was catching up with reading some physical books (Is there a name for these, like snail mail as opposed to e-mail?) I had picked up a book in the library: Fate & Fortune by Shirley MacKay. It is a thriller set in Scotland in 1581 and as I had just finished Blood of Kings by J D Davies it continued the theme. I quickly realised that the book was the second in a series and picked up the Kindle to search for others books by the same author. The first Hew Cullan Mystery, Hue & Cry was available as a Kindle Edition – and only £0.89. I clicked “Buy now” and within seconds it was on my Kindle!

 Since then I have bought:
DNA and Social Networking: A Guide to Genealogy in the Twenty-first Century by Debbie Kennett
QI: The Book of General Ignorance – The Noticeably Stouter Edition  – £0-99 in the sale
Map of a Nation by Rachel Hewitt, for my husband, also in the sale at £1.19 (the book not the husband)
Graven with Diamonds: The Many lives of Thomas Wyatt: Courtier, Poet, Assasin, Spy by Nicola Shulman (£1.19)

 It was at this point that I paused. The last book was not one I had intended to buy but I had read reviews and thought it looked interesting. Seeing it in the Kindle Store for so little I just clicked and bought it. In the past if I have bought a book, it sits around at home, getting in the way, reminding me it’s there and I should read it. On the Kindle it is just words in a list – will I end up with a Kindle full of unread books?

 That said, I have pre-ordered the latest Thomas Chaloner by Susanna Gregory – The Piccadilly Plot, out on 19th January. I have been waiting for this and therefore it will be read as soon as it arrived on my Kindle.

 I think the moral is: Getting a Kindle is fine, but stay away from the Store!


  1. I had a similar experience to you – I’d held out against Kindle but swiftly became a convert. Partly it’s the convenience when travelling (eg on a train as I am now) but also it’s broadened my reading by allowing me to get books that I’d think twice about having taking up space on my bookshelves (eg Blair’s and Mandelson’s memoirs). On the other hand I’ve found exactly as you have that the temptation to raid the store and get things ‘because they’re there’ needs to be overcome, otherwise one ends up with things like Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol, losing several hours of one’s life (plus the cost of it) before giving up in bewilderment, if not downright anger, at the mismatch between the quality of the writing and its sales figures. By coincidence, though, I have Hue and Cry on my Kindle too – might well be an appropriate thing to read on my current Edinburgh trip!

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