I spent several happy days over the summer holidays lying on the couch reading Kindle books on my iPad. They were mainly detective novels by various authors.
Some were set in Arizona. When I came across a word I wasn’t familiar with, such as chaparral or manzanita, I loved being able to tap the screen and see a definition.
I also loved being able to change the size of the text to make it easier to read the book without my glasses on. When it grew dark I was very pleased that the iPad’s backlight came on so I could read the text with ease.
When I had to stop reading I’d tap the top right corner of the page to create a bookmark.
Sometimes I’d select some text and highlight it for later reference, or add a short text note for myself.
The shock of printed books
It was a bit of a shock when I went back to reading a printed book on paper and was suddenly unable to work within the books. I had come to take bookmarking, looking up words, making notes and highlights, and changing text size for granted.
Previous borrowers of the library book had been discourteous enough to take it upon themselves to write ‘corrections’ on the printed book itself.
Many devices display Kindle ebooks
You don’t need an iPad though to enjoy a Kindle ebook.
Devices for reading ebooks have suddenly become very popular. Although it may be better to say they’ve suddenly become available. They’ve caught on very quickly.
The software’s free too, so you can read Kindle ebooks on iPads, iPhones and iPods, and also on Mac or Windows laptops, and Windows, Android or Blackberry phones.
The free sample chapter advantage
Search on Amazon and find a Kindle book that you might like to read. Then click a link to have that book downloaded instantly to a suitable device, such as an iPad. The download uses WhisperNet, Amazon’s own wireless network.
It takes only a moment or two for the sample chapter to be available on the device. If you don’t enjoy the sample then you can just delete it. If you do want to buy the book it’s very simple to do so.
Very cheap ebooks
There are some Kindle books that are free, while many others cost less than US$1. Search for a topic or genre and sort the results by price, low to high.
If you haven’t yet tried an ebook download the free Kindle software, find yourself a free or cheap book, and give it a whirl. If you have a handheld device you’ll probably enjoy the reading more than on a computer.
What do you think of Kindle books? Do you enjoy them?
Written by Miraz Jordan for, and reproduced from CommunityNet Aotearoa Panui, February 2011. This article has been modified for publication here.