So I've been using my Kindle for about a month or so. What have I found?
Well first, sorry, no major revelations about it or the Kobo or whatever. I'm enjoying it and it works and it's pretty slick. No real massive changes here.
Now that being said, I have had a few revelations about eBook readers and other devices that take media that we once used physically and can now be had in bits and streams. I'd say a few of these surprised me or were unexpected.
Paying For Less Space:
I'm not quite a neat freak, but I don't like piles of stuff around. I was glad to clean out a 20+ year comic collection to 1/3 it's size. I'm glad to take those trips to Half-Price books to sell off books I no longer want or need. I will go as far to say some of my purchases are determined by issues of room and storage space – or how I deal with a piece of media I no longer want or need.
The Kindle removes a lot of these issues.
A huge reading pile can be held electronically without a stack of books taking up room.
Unwanted books exist just as bits and bytes. No stacks or storage cases, just data. I imagine that I'll be able to trade books to people eventually.
Beyond the money saved by buying electronically, or saving shipping charges, I'm getting a great savings in space. Yes, I accept the limits of eBooks and the price of a Kindle to have less things lying around – and it seems worth it.
(Now imagine how much space people are saving with music, magazines, and you can see how a significant saving of space can be a benefit people will pay for).
This is something I never foresaw, but the Kindle versions of books almost always have previews. You can download these for free. You can download a lot. This can become very, very addictive.
This is addictive because you have an insane amount of previews available. You can check to see if a book is for you or a good gift for someone, if it's worth the money, if it's even worth buying in physical form. It can also just kill time and sate curiosity.
It's the ability to thumb through any book available, just like a trip to a bookstore, only done wherever you're sitting. For a book enthusiast, it's a dream come true.
I didn't see just how compelling this would be, and until you experience it, it's hard to truly understand it.
It could also be a massive selling point, one I don't think Amazon has fully exploited – and if they do it'll improve sales even more. Imagine, for instance, having Preview Packs or downloaded preview bundles for gifts.
It's Bathtub Friendly:
I like to read when I have some peace and quiet, and a good hot bath is an excellent place for that. The Kindle (with a nice protective cover just in case) is just the right size and shape for that.
Also because it's relatively cheap, and the books can always be downloaded again if I stupidly destroy the Kindle, I don't really worry about it.
This is something else Amazon should leverage. I'm not going to take a $600 tablet into the bath, but a sub-$200 device that's light and protected? Easy choice, start the water.
Never underestimate where we reading enthusiasts will try to read books. Never.
These experience have given me a further appreciation for the Kindle and it's potential. It's highly specialized nature, cheap cost, and simple profile really add up – and it means I have a more organized apartment.
Sure there are issues of ownership and access. But the benefits . . . they keep accruing the more I look.