When I logged into Amazon.com this morning to look for a book I noticed that the basic Amazon Kindle e-reader was $55.00. That's it. I have a Kindle Keyboard and it cost about twice as much, but they might have been selling them by the ounce because it is heavier too.
I read about thirty books this year, but when I got my Kindle I wasn't sure how much I would use it. It turns out I read a lot on it, and just not always books. Here are 10 ways to use a Kindle
- Normal books that you buy. I only purchased one Kindle book this year, James Altucher's Choose Yourself. I bought this book in part to start reading it immediately, but also to support the author. I know that for titles above $2.99 - which this was priced at the time - the author makes $2 for each copy sold. Buying this book was a small way to thank James for all his writing.
- My library has a collection of Kindle books. You read that right, my public library has a system - seoebook.seo.lib.oh.us - that lends out Kindle books. It functions just like the local library with hard copies. Each book has a limited number of copies available and if one isn't available at the time, you can join the waiting list. I read both The Power of Habit and Happier at Home and many others on my Kindle this year through the library borrowing system.
- Amazon has a great browser extension. By installing it you can have the content from webpages sent to your device by pressing ALT-K. This is really great for long articles. Last night I read Bill Simmons' breakdown of the NBA and the New Yorker's profile about Google's driverless car on my Kindle.
- I also have an Instapaper account that I can save articles to. I've automatically set up certain blogs to save articles to my Instapaper account and then on Friday of each week I get those articles sent to my Kindle. It's like a weekly magazine, only better because everything that gets delivered is something that I really want to read.
- The number of free classics available on the Kindle is enlightening. I read The Count of Monte Cristo on my Kindle a few years ago and it was great to have such a portable device display the tome.
- I only travel with my Kindle. If we are going on a vacation of any kind I only take my Kindle. I let many of the above things build up and it's the only device I take. If I charge the battery before I go it's also one less cord I need to pack. Even though I only buy a few books a year, I'm still able to travel with my past library and re-read them on these trips.
- Authors on Twitter will offer free versions of their books for small windows of time in exchange for a few nice thoughts if you have them. I follow @JFM and downloaded his book on becoming more of a minimalist. You should check it out if fewer things but a greater life sounds good to you.
- Kindle books offer free samples. There are a number of books that at first sounded really good, but after I had a free sample sent to my device it turned out they were full of fluff.
- Kindle highlighting and bookmarking is very good. I don't feel the same sacrilege as I do with a printed book. Plus, these highlights and notes are much easier to manage using the computer version of the Kindle app. If I had highlighted something for later in a regular book, it would require lots of page flipping to find it. In Kindle books I only have to type in a keyword for the information to filter.
- You can forward long attachments from your email. I've done this with a few pieces that I've read for other writers. The reading experience on my Kindle is much better than my laptop.
Those are ten great reasons to get started with a Kindle e-reader. If the inch-long crack in my device happens to extend itself today, then I'll be joining you in purchasing one.