I read more

Owning a Kindle = I read more

A year ago, I would have NEVER considered getting a kindle. Why? It only has 1 purpose…to be an e-reader. It’s not even in color. I wouldn’t be able to play angry birds, tetris, even sudoku would be more boring in black & white.

My perspective change occurred shortly after I moved to London. Almost everyone takes some form of public transportation, whether it is bus, tube or train. This means, I’m basically on the tube for at least an hour each day (not including delays). I normally read the paper, but it’s quite awkward when you’re standing or are sitting next to someone who does not believe in sticking to their own personal arm space. I also have a coworker who loves his kindle. He has it with him all the time, and he raves about it. I began to see that it’s quite a useful gadget. Another thing I learned, is that the older kindles, and the kindle keyboards have international 3G. The kindle touch has international 3G but only for downloading books and accessing the kindle store. The international 3G on the kindle keyboard has an “Experimental Browser” which means you can access the web internationally…absolutely free. Sure, it’s a bit slower, but living abroad and traveling a lot, it would definitely come in handy.

I would also get into discussions with coworkers and friends about books and reading. I love to read, but I think the love was stamped out of me in college and grad school. I had to read a lot for school, which means that recreational reading unfortunately became a thing of the past. Lately with the commute and wanting to reread some old classics, getting a kindle was more and more appealing.

The most common thing I’m told, and hear, is “what I love most about reading is being able to turn the pages”. While that viewpoint is understandable, the realistic side of me kicks in. Storage space in London is at a premium (unless you can afford something larger). But for the regular working couple, storage and space in general, isn’t easy to come by. This rules out having a bookcase able to hold the plethora of books I’d like to read. Thus, the kindle is really appealing because it’s all on 1 small device. Also, reading a book on the tube is hard because you have to turn pages. If a book is really long (say Book 7 of Harry Potter, or a longer spy novel I’ve been wanting to read…) putting in my purse would make it incredibly heavy, and don’t even try to read it one handed while standing and holding onto a bar on a swaying train.

Believe it or not, there are a lot of opportunities out there for free and/or discounted books. Many of the classics such as Secret Garden, Tale of Two Cities, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Sherlock Holmes are free.

3 ways to find cheap/discounted books:

1. Jungle-Search: I came across a search engine that allows users to search Kindle books on Amazon by subject, publisher and even price. If I wanted to search all books available between 0 and $1.99, just use the search function on: Jungle-Search

2. Amazon: Checking Amazon’s list of top free books has also become a habit for me to do. The access to and number of books available out there is quite overwhelming. I see it as a great way to be exposed to new genres and books that would never normally cross my path.
Amazon's Top 100 Paid & Free books

3. Convert Free Books online: Online there are all sorts of websites that have free ebooks: http://www.free-ebooks.net/ ; http://www.gutenberg.org/ ; http://www.manybooks.net/.
Most of them can be downloaded in the ePUB version or PDF. The version you need for the Kindle is MOBI. The program to make the conversion is called Calibre. You can plug in your Kindle and it will convert the files and transfer them. It’s free and you can use it on a PC or Mac. You can also use it to convert your own personal PDFs.

There are other e-readers out there that are available. The B&N Nook is a contender. They supposedly have more e-books available, and you can even borrow public library books on it. The main reason I didn’t want it is because it doesn’t have international 3G, and the coverage in areas outside of the US was questionable at best. With living overseas and traveling a lot, having access to books while traveling was a must for me.

What it boils down to is this: I read more and I’m loving it.