Kindle Your Reading Habits

The Kindle is a thin, book-sized reading device that holds innumerable e-books and other digital reading material that can be downloaded in an instant using wireless technology almost anywhere in the U.S. Wow! Amazon boasts a Kindle library of over 160,000 items. And the inventory continues to grow.

The Kindle came out fall 2007. My gadget-guy instincts kicked in immediately. But I held off buying. I thought the price might go down (it did), that the wait period for it to come in the mail would shorten (it did), and that my “need” for a Kindle would increase (it did).

I ordered my Kindle from Amazon in March so I would have it in time for my trip to Europe in May. It’s the only thing I took for reading material during my trip. And it’s one of the reasons why I was able to travel extremely light using carry-on baggage only.

So now I can get my reading fix no matter where I happen to be. And if I just want to read today’s issue of The New York Times, or I don’t have a book that suits my mood, I can download what I want no matter where I am. The technology is wireless.

A few years ago, I read The Gutenberg Elegies, by Sven Birkerts. Like Birkerts, I believe it would be a tragedy if books—I mean real books—became a thing of the past because they all went digital. I’m a hardcore advocate for having a houseful of books. To me, books—books on shelves, books in piles—are the ultimate in home decorating options. Books speak to me even when I’m not reading. There’s nothing quite like being in the presence of books.

Still, I welcome the arrival of the digital version of reading material. While an e-book can’t replace the role of a real book, there are things it can do for readers that the traditional book can’t. And Kindle is the way to go in this arena.

Here are seven of the main reasons why I now own and use a Kindle:

  1. I can go anywhere and read what I want while I wait.
  2. I can go anywhere in the U.S. and download books for instant reading.
  3. I can subscribe to newspapers and magazines without having them pile up around the house.
  4. I can pack light when I travel and still bring a huge library with me.
  5. I save space on my shelves for physical copies of books I really must have.
  6. I save money when I order books for my Kindle.
  7. It’s the easiest way to read in bed.

The Kindle is the perfect complement to my other hobbies. I can fit a whole library in the saddle on my motorcycle, or carry it in a small book bag on my back. The Kindle goes with me when I’m kayak touring. Traveling is a greater pleasure now that I can haul all the books I want on my Kindle. I can practice foreign languages as long as I have the right tools on my Kindle.

Yes, I can mark my Kindle books, bookmark them, and take unlimited notes that are linked to specific passages in them.

Then there’s the cool factor. A woman and her daughter saw me reading on my Kindle at a Starbucks; seeing mine convinced them to get one for themselves. On a recent trip to Europe, nearby passengers asked about it. On the train between Stuttgart and Zurich an engineering student who had never heard of the Kindle decided within a few minutes that he had to have one.


For Discussion:

  • Had you heard of the Kindle before now?
  • Are you interested in becoming a Kindle user?
  • Are you a Kindle user?
  • If so, what would you say are the best reasons to have a Kindle?
  • What are some of the things you’ve downloaded to your Kindle?
  • What is your evaluation of the Kindle?

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About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

11 Responses to Kindle Your Reading Habits

  1. Terrystred says:

    I am thrilled to bits with my Kindle and use it every day. It is very easy to navigate and the reading screen is clear and pleasant to look at. Downloading books is very straightforward and the device fits comfortably in my handbag so I am never without a book. It does use up battery more quickly than I expected, but I have now got into a routine of recharging daily, as with my mobile phone. Remember to turn off wireless when not ordering books! I do not use a cover and the wipe-clean surface is easy to keep clean.


  2. I am so impressed by the Kindle 2. I am a brand new Kindle owner and cannot believe the funcitons that this Kindle has! I ordered my first electronic book and before I knew it, it was there! I love all the functions especially the Dictionary! I’m using that more than I thought I would. I doubt very much if I will ever regret getting the Kindle 2. This is a superb product and I am totally in love!!!!

    T. J. VanEtten


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  6. David Parker says:

    That is very helpful, thanks!


  7. Doug Geivett says:

    Hi David,

    The Kindle has two “Next Page” buttons or bars running vertically along each edge. The button on the left runs the full length of the edge. It’s the one I find myself using most. And it’s very convenient, one feature I especially like. “Turning the page” is just a matter of pressing my thumb lightly on the button. (This is why it’s so easy to read in the prone position!)

    The “Next Page” button on the left is only about 1 3/4 inches long. Above it is a longer “Previous Page” button that’s very handy.

    I guess the convenience and utility of the Kindle features is partly a matter of taste. But I’m comfortable with the whole layout. I always have my Kindle in the leather cover that comes with it. Some readers may be using their Kindles without it. And that could make it a little more difficult to hold the Kindle without putting pressure on the right edge and causing an unintentional page turn.


  8. David Parker says:

    Does anyone have trouble with the placement of the “next page” button on the side? That was really the only negative thing I have heard about the Kindle. I definitely approached a stranger in a restaurant a few months ago because he had one and I was dying to see the display. I was blown away by the clarity of the on-screen text.


  9. lucidlunatic says:

    Thank you for the introduction to Project Gutenberg. I will shortly be systematically searching it for anything I would like to make a part of my Kindle Library.


  10. Doug Geivett says:

    Lucid Lunatic,

    Agreed. Today at Amazon, The Wealth of Nations can be purchased in mass market paperback for $7.95; the Kindle edition can be downloaded for $3.19:

    For classics on Kindle, here’s another option. Go to Project Gutenberg and obtain The Wealth of Nations for free. Then upload this edition to your Kindle. Here’s the URL for Adam Smith’s classic text:


  11. lucidlunatic says:

    Yes, yes, and yes. I love my Kindle. The best logical reason for me is that with the number of books I read, I will end up saving money. I purchased The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith on Kindle. The entire Wealth of Nations. It cost me less than a dollar. If I had wanted to buy them in print it could have cost me twenty. With that kind of savings on many classics and the ability to get some books for free, when offered by the author, it is clearly worth it.


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