Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Joy of Portable Books... and I Mean *Very* Portable

Amazon Kindle Logo.png
I've been a Kindle user for several years now.  My original Kindle is big and klunky, but it still works well and I'm glad that I jumped on the Kindle bandwagon early (thanks Ben!)
One of the great things about that particular early adopter moment is that it got me on the electronic book train before it ever really left the station.  By doing that, I was able to really be part of the swell of e-books before the first wave ever really formed.
For the record, I completely, totally, and madly love reading books electronically. The process is easy to use and easy on the eyes.  I don't ever want to go back to paper again.
Now we're seeing what I consider to be the next generation of the ebook which is not to say the newest offerings from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but instead, the development of apps that will allow for true "cross platform" reading.
What I'm seeing is that many of us who have been ebook readers for some time now no longer need to be convinced of the concept.  No, what we need are the ways to grab our books wherever we need them.  Example:  I'll readily admit I'm hooked on the whole "Kindle Concept" even though I haven't picked up my Kindle in over a month.  How can I be a KIndle diehard & not even use it?  I'll explain that in a moment.  First let me explain the "hooked on the concept" part.
The idea of a small device that holds all my books and goes anywhere with me is a tremendous idea.  Amazon was the early winner in the category even though they were not the first to market.  Their agreements with publishers gave them a huge library of books that were formatted to their device the day it went on sale.  I have bought and read more books in the time that I've had my Kindle than in perhaps the 5 years previous combined.
Here's a prime example:  Last year I was at a meeting and I was sitting pool side with one of my really good friends in dentistry, Dr. Bob Lowe.  He and I travel quite a bit for our lecturing and as such we end up with time on our hands that can be often made less stressful by reading a good book.  Bob mentioned 3 good mysteries he had read recently.  I just flipped out my Kindle searched on the books, purchased, and downloaded while we sat by the pool.  I had the books in a couple of minutes and I never even had to get out of my chair!
This scenario happens a lot with me where someone will mention a good book and I buy it right then and there.  Amazon has sold me a lot of books that I would never have purchased if I had to go to a store or even go to a website and then wait for UPS to bring it.  Having books available in almost real time is a huge advantage.
Now we get to the part of why I don't use my Kindle.  To put it succinctly... I don't need it anymore.  Amazon has done a wonderful job of designing & distributing apps that work on a variety of devices.  I have an iPad, a Motorola Xoom Android tablet, and 2 Android phones.  All of them have Kindle apps that allow me to do everything that I can do on the Kindle and the keep all of my books synchronized with each other!!! Open a book on my iPad and read a few pages then close it.  Open the same book on my Xoom a few minutes later and the app asks me if I want to sync to the last page read on the iPad.  Tap "Yes" and it automatically jumpst to that page while keeping all of my bookmarks, highlights, etc synced as well.  Now Amazon has also introduced their Cloud Reader that keeps your books in the Cloud as well and allows you to read from any device that has an Internet connection.
While I don't read much on my phone, I can if I want to and it can be quite handy in a pinch.
I don't have much experience with the Nook from B&N but I've got to figure it's a similar experience.  All said, I can't imagine going back to paper.  The ebook experience is just too good.  While I do enjoy the "feel" of a good book in my hands, I can't  imagine giving up the convenience and the instant gratification that comes with "go anywhere" reading.k

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