Kindling…

Yes, I confess! After years of being a bookworm, I succumbed two years ago and bought a Kindle

The decision wasn’t a hard one to make as Caroline’s two sons had Kindles and her youngest bought her the then top end model as a present on International Gift Giving Day. The version I bought though was at the other end of the scale – the one with a four-way controller, no lighting system and wi-fi for the buying or downloading of book buys.

I had been looking at the then new Paperwhite Kindle, but it had just been announced and as the demand for it was so high, Amazon had sold out and were awaiting another delivery of what was an already successful product. So I went for that four-way model, bought a cover for it and a separate charger that could be plugged into the mains whenever I needed to top-up the battery.

Setting up the Kindle was quite easy once I’d got the gist of how to do it. It’s logged onto our home wi-fi system and once the wi-fi reception mode is activated on my Kindle, books are downloaded and ready for reading in a matter of seconds.

Once the download’s done, then the Kindle is put back into Aeroplane Mode to optimise the battery life of the unit. If I’m heading off for a week or two then the Kindle is fully charged before I go, but I usually find that a full charge usually lasts around four weeks on the amount of reading that I do on a daily basis.

Apart from switching the Kindle onto Aircraft mode to save the battery, I also avoid using the screensaver mode on the unit. When I’m finished reading, I keep my finger down on the on/off/sleep button until the screen goes completely white – this indicates that the unit has been switched off and that the battery is going to last that little bit longer.

Although I have what was until quite recently the most basic Kindle model, I have over 200 books or booklets available to me for perusal on the Kindle or on our Mac Mini as I’ve downloaded the appropriate reader program from Amazon’s Kindle site.

My Kindle currently has around sixty volumes in its memory, but there’s another 149 books or booklets stored in the Cloud that can be rebooted at a moment’s notice when the wi-fi is switched on. The mix of works available for reading at any one time is an eclectic one.

The first book purchase was Empire of the Clouds by James Hamilton (it’s about aircraft development) and there’s also works by H.G. Wells, Dickens, the Brontes, David Niven, Andrew Marr, Guy Martin, Tom Peters, Rick Stein, The Hairy Dieters, Stuart Maconie and Karen Darke.

On the whole, I find that the biographies, novels and business primers work well on the Kindle, unlike travel guidebooks or cook books. If I’m travelling, then the paper version (or parts of it as photocopies or cannibalised guide) of the appropriate guidebook goes with me.

This is largely as a result of not getting on with eBook guides in either Kindle or PDF formats. I’d rather carry the book and refer to it than try to find the appropriate page(s) on a Kindle or a computer. I do have eBook guides on the Kindle and the Mac Mini, but I’ll refer to the paper version when I’m at home or away rather than the electronic version.

Apparently I’m not alone in this either as similar comments were made on Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forums recently.

Cook books weren’t mentioned, but it’s easier to use paper ones in the kitchen! So, I like my Kindle. And I use Amazon, a company that has its fair share of critics in the big wide world. All of my Amazon purchases do help a very good cause though as I use a link from the RNLI website that ensures that Amazon donates a minimum of 5% of the value of all orders to the RNLI. That link? http://rnli.org/howtosupportus/otherwaystohelp/Pages/Amazon.aspx

In the day or so leading up to my writing and posting this piece, an updated range of Kindles has been announced. Full details about the new range are on Amazon’s website along with details of chargers and covers for your Kindle. The new range is due to made available in early October.

If you would prefer to take a look at a Kindle, then it’s worth checking out the Kindle line-up in bricks and mortar branches of Waterstones as they sell Kindles and a range of accessories too. Staff are also on hand to answer questions about the various models and as to the ways and means of purchasing books for your Kindle.

Other eBook readers are available, but the one I chose just happened to be a bog standard Kindle rather than a superior model, a Kindle Fire or a Nook, iPad, iPad Mini or an eBook program on an Android tablet or any of the many variations of smartphone systems…

My Kindle doesn’t have a lighting function and neither does the case, so I use either the tent light if camping or a head torch when trying to read the screen in a hostel with below-par lighting in their communal areas. I may look like a berk, but I’m still reading my book, sorry, my Kindle!

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About Keith Rickaby

Fiftysomething writer and occasional photographer who has worked in the tailoring trade and the outdoor/travel clothing, equipment and footwear game. Past lives include working as an outdoor instructor, managing three bands and doing PR work through an agency or my own contacts. Was a student in the mid-90s and whilst I'm originally from the North East, I'm now firmly based in't Yorkshire...
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