The Amazon Kindle

Before flying to visit family for the holidays my wife and I got an Amazon Kindle e-book reader and we’ve since thought about getting another one. We own the Wi-Fi-only edition but the 3G edition’s expanded capability is tempting, especially when the other one of us is using ours. It is not exaggerating to say that the Kindle has changed our lives, or at least our reading lives.

For starters, it has motivated us to limit ourselves to e-book purchases only. Since getting the Kindle, we’ve downloaded about a dozen sample chapters from books we considered buying and have bought four of them, largely based on our ability to sample them first. And the cost savings has been amazing. For softcover books whose retail prices each average about $15, we only spent about half that.

Another big benefit of the Kindle has been the ability to order books whenever the mood strikes us [within distance of a hotspot], including at Starbucks, our office, the bedroom, and yes, even the bathroom! It is awesome to be able to download a full-length book in less than a minute and start reading it immediately, no matter where you are.

And with our move to digital reading, we are maintaining the mobile lifestyle by donating hundreds of little-used books left over from my days as a book review editor. With fewer books comes less need for bookshelves, so we sold most of them, downsizing from a total of 30 to 13. Even before getting the Kindle we cut back on traditional book buying, but if you’ll pardon the pun, it is “fuel for the fire.”