I was completely floored this christmas when my husband bought us a Kindle Fire! I never expected to have an e-reader, at least not anytime soon. I always thought I wouldn\’t like them, wouldn\’t like the reading experience. Of course I miss the feel of pages and the scent of paper, but I\’m surrounded by about six hundred paper books on shelves, so that\’s not really a gap in my life here. It was a different experience, reading on the kindle, but not as awkward as I\’d expected.
I\’ve never used another e-reader, so I\’m just comparing this experience to reading regular paper-bound books. The Kindle is small, easy to hold in the hand, but a bit heavier than I expected when I first saw it. In some ways it makes reading easier- I can prop it up and read hands-free, and it\’s easier to hold in one hand and use a thumb or finger to turn the pages, when I\’m nursing the baby and have my other hand supporting her. That\’s a struggle sometimes with a real book. I found turning the pages very easy and intuitive- you can do it either by sliding, or with a finger tap. I usually tapped. One of the features I really like is that you can tap on any word and pull up a definition, since the Kindle has a dictionary loaded onto it. I love that. You don\’t know how many times I\’ve wondered about a word but not wanted to stop reading, jotted down a list and by the time I got around to looking them up it wasn\’t contextual any more. It took me a bit of time to get used to navigating the book on the screen, you can\’t just flip through pages to see what\’s ahead for example. And I really didn\’t like the way photos were handled. This book had an insert of photos in the middle. I really enjoy photos in books. But here, though each photo and caption was given its own screen on the Kindle they were incredibly small. If you tap on the picture you could enlarge it to fill the screen, but then it was blurry. I was really disappointed in that. I think with all the tecnology we have out there, it should be simple for them to put good photos up when they\’re included in a text. I can put my own photos on my Kindle, and they look fantastic! Here\’s my older daughter:
The Kindle Fire also has email, games, and all kinds of other stuff on it. Which means everyone else in my house wants to play on it and I have to juggle with them for reading time! I imagine in the future I would love to take the Kindle on trips, because I can load numerous books on it and not worry about the luggage space. But it would also be a great thing to entertain restless kids on airplanes or long car rides, so maybe I wouldn\’t get to read on it anyways!
I was a bit worried about eyestrain, since my eyes get fatigued reading stuff on a screen too long. Discovered that if I adjust the screen brightness according to the light in the room, it\’s easier on my eyes. Contrary to what I originally thought, lowering the brightness so the screen is dimmer in dimmer light made it easier. I\’d never read on it in the dark, though, which I once thought might be cool. Nope. Have to have light.
I also found it felt like I was reading faster on here, than with a real book. Probably because the amount of text on each screen is less than on any regular book page (or so it felt to me) so I\’m turning pages more frequently. You can look at what percentage of the book you\’ve completed, but for me it didn\’t have the same sense of progress as looking at where my bookmark is in a block of pages.
So… overall I\’m pleased with the experience. I don\’t think the e-reader will ever replace real books for me; if I read a book I like on the Kindle I\’ll probably go buy myself a hardcopy rather than just own a file. It still feels more real to me. But I was pleasantly surprised at enjoying the experience and I will definitely use this thing, especially on trips. Yay!