Monday, January 24, 2011

Kindle and Me: A Love Story

Buoyed by the news of my first book being released in e-format, in November of 2007, I bought a Kindle. I soon learned I’d been “lucky” to get one for the holiday season, that they’d sold out much faster than Amazon expected.

But once I got it opened and downloaded a couple of books, whether I was lucky or not was up for interpretation. I found myself more focused on the e-reader than the books, which seemed to be defeating the entire purpose.

Three years have passed. I’ve downloaded the occasional book, particularly those available only in e-format. I’ve figured out the basics: how to move around, change the font, convert .pdfs, etc. But still, the Kindle would sit quietly for weeks and sometimes months on a shelf. Did I like it? Not really. But I didn’t exactly dislike it, either.

Now, I need to add that I’m a big Sophie Kinsella fan, and her book, Remember Me? was the test-case I had used on my Kindle. But as time has passed, I realized that I barely remembered the story at all, and last month, I decided to power the Kindle up and give that book another go. And was I glad I did. Without focusing on the nuts and bolts of the e-reader, I found the book absolutely charming!

So when I got a call last week that my son had been in a snowboarding accident, in my rush to get to the hospital--and knowing there’d likely be a lot of downtime in my immediate future--I’d had the wherewithal to grab my Kindle.

And right from the first night, while he slept and I tried to stay calm and focused, that Kindle kept me company. I used the internet function to deliver a virtual bookstore to the hospital room. I looked over Top 100 lists, then at different authors’ books, occasionally pushing the “download the first chapter” button.

Over the next week in the hospital, as he grew stronger and my concentration improved, that Kindle stayed with me. During down periods, I read through those first chapters and purchased and read a humorous memoir by Nora Ephron (perhaps best known for penning “When Harry Met Sally” and “You’ve Got Mail”). I texted friends for more recommendations, and checked those out, as well. I re-read a Stephen King novella I’d downloaded early on (which I didn’t remember very well, either.)

The short of it being, when I needed it, the Kindle was there for me. Offering me the best of all distractions: a world of books.

Now we’re home and my son is doing great. While I am threatening to take an ax to his snowboard, I am also thinking of upgrading to the newest Kindle. Because while I know my love will never lessen for paperbound books, having a virtual bookstore at my fingertips in a time of great stress was “just what the doctor” ordered for me!

How about you? Have you "made friends" with your e-reader?

What I’m Reading: My Soul to Take, Rachel Vincent


Tina Ferraro
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
How to Hook a Hottie
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys


Liana said...

I just got a kindle. it's really nice. glad they improved on it, lol, cuz that version looks rough. they will keep getting better and better. glad your son is doing well!

TinaFerraro said...

Thanks, Liana, and your comment makes me want the new one even more!

Me said...

When I finally broke down and got an eReader last summer I decided to go with a Nook--mostly because I felt like I was supporting an actual brick and mortar bookstore, but also because I like the touchscreen more than the keyboard. I adore it! I especially love the sample chapters because I waste a lot less money on books I'll never read. Although it's been kind of eclipsed by my iPad (love!) I'm going to keep the Nook for outdoor/poolside reading.

So glad to hear the Kindle was there for you--having gone through the hospital thing with my mom a couple years ago, I totally get it!

Cara King said...

I still don't have an e-reader, and so far, it's not a problem. I do see that they're ideal for things like travel, though! And vacation.

And hospitals, too... I'd never really thought about it, but my mom was in the hospital for three months in the fall of 2009, and I spent a fair amount of time and worry finding large-print library books for her, taking them to her, and then trying to get them renewed and returned on time... Whereas if she'd had an e-reader, that would have been much simpler.

So, how heavy is a Kindle or a Nook vs a mass-market paperback?


TinaFerraro said...

Cara, one of the beauties of the Kindle (and I assume most/all e-readers) is that you can adjust the print size to very large. As far as the weight, I would say about as light as the average paperback...although perhaps someone can give us better stats on that?

TinaFerraro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TinaFerraro said...

Oops...once was enough for that comment!

And now Tera--I hear you about the same chapters! I did not buy all the same first chapters I downloaded, either. And as an author, it drives home the importance of setting the stage in a intriguing way and making sure you end on some kind of hook, huh, so that readers DO press BUY on our books!

Janie Emaus said...

I'm trying to decide which e-reader to buy and it sounds like the Kindle may be it. glad your son is doing better

Jessica said...

I have a Nook and though I still love print books and working at a Library, cannot seem but still bring tons of books home from work!, but my Nook has been brilliant when I've been traveling, for reading egalleys, and also for storage purposes. I thought my husband was going to cry happy tears when he realized there would no longer be towering piles of books threatening to crush him in the living room!! :P

Heather Davis said...

You make a good case for the Kindle, Tina. I've yet to make the switch to an e-reader, but it really seemed to help you through that difficult time. I'm so glad your son is doing better!

TinaFerraro said...

Janie, I am not familiar with the Nook, but it seems it's every bit as handy as the Kindle. (Maybe better?) But I do endorse getting one!

Jessica, thanks for your thoughts, and yes, the idea of lighter travel is wonderful, huh?

Heather, thanks, and you know, I am starting to think of e-readers now as just another option, like hot fudge or warm marshmallow on ice cream. Both are very welcome in my world!

stephhale said...

I have a Kindle app on my Droid and I love it, even though the print is so small. I hope a full size Kindle is in my future. I'm so glad that Patrick is doing better.

nymfaux said...

I'm so glad you love your e-reader, but I'm so sorry it took something so scary for you to have the chance to fall in love.

I'm so happy to hear how well your son is doing!!!

As for me, I'm a Nook girl.--The original Nook (of course now that my sis has the new color version, I am definitely leaning that way...)

I love the feel and smell of books, just as much as the next bookaholic, but after years of car trips, and moving back and forth between college and home, and just moving, or just going away for a weekend and trying to decide which suitcase or box of books to bring with I don't have to choose--they're ALL at my fingertips...and an extra bonus is the hour-and-a-half driving time (one way) to the nearest bookstore (plus gas)that I save...not to mention that I don't have to actually wait for the bookstore to open to get my book, and have to drive an hour and a half back to read it---I can download it at midnight (sometimes earlier because I'm on the west coast), and start reading instantly, from the comfort of my bed.

So, yeah, I'm completely in love. (um, except maybe for an affair with my sis's NOOK COLOR--everything I LOVE about mine and better--more book storage space, prettier, faster...)