kindle-2Let’s start with my first disclaimer:  I paid for my Kindle.

Here’s the second:  I am in this whole ebook thing for the convenience – not to mention a desperate desire to be free of the careless shelving habits of brick and mortar stores that drove me crazy for years.

I’m not a techie (Mac person, so don’t have to be) and, while I don’t like DRM, I’m not worked up about it either.  My blog – and my perspective – is one of a reader who lives in an area with 3G coverage and who simply wanted an easy way to read ebooks.  For me, Kindle is it.

Since I’ve been Kindle-ized for about a year now, what do I love?

  • Instant downloads.  When I want a book, I have it – seconds later.
  • It’s easy on the eyes.  And I’ve spent hours (and hours) looking at the screen.
  • It’s comfortable and easy to hold.
  • I can read manuscripts and PDF files without waiting for snail mail copies.
  • It’s incredibly user-friendly.  Getting it up and running initially was a piece of cake and downloading books is instant.
  • The Kindle app for my iPhone. Since my iPhone is surgically attached to my body, I’m literally never without a book.
  • Instant downloads.  (Did I mention that already?)

What don’t I love?

  • It’s frustrating when backlist books aren’t available.  (St. Martin’s seems to be especially bad about this.)
  • Sometimes the pricing is screwy.  And, for the record, I will not pay more for an ebook than a print copy. I will so not go there, in fact, that I didn’t even do it for Lisa Kleypas’ Tempt Me at Twilight, initially priced at $9.99 for Kindle and $7.99 for paperback.  So, after waiting a week or so for the “mistake” to shake out, I bought the paperback.  Only to find that the Kindle price was lower just days later.  Word has it that publishers set ebook prices and I think we have to allow some time for them – and Amazon – to get the kinks out.  Something like the Kleypas debacle doesn’t happen often, but when it’s a book you want, it’s frustrating.
  • Monopolies.  Never a good thing.  Though I also have to say that I haven’t generally found pricing to be a problem or out of line with other sites (frequently, it’s actually lower at the Kindle store), but I’d like to be able to shop elsewhere.  But, considering how frustrated I was with my local Borders, this is nothing – and I mean nothing – in comparison.
  • Expense.  There’s just no getting around the fact that Kindle – and its competitors – require a substantial upfront investment.

I’ve seen posts in which people nail Amazon for poor Kindle customer service, but my sole experience with the one problem I had was exactly the opposite.  A book failed to download, so I called Amazon.  The phone was answered immediately and within five minutes my problem was solved.  Can’t ask for more than that.

I’m aware of all the questions arising from Kindle going global.  If I lived outside the U.S. and was ready to get on the ebook express, I’d give it a little time for everything to shake out.  I wish, along with one of our message board posters, that it was as easy for everyone as it is for me.

There seems to be a lot of mistrust about Amazon out there and, I have to say, this consumer doesn’t feel it.  They’re out to make money.  Which is what corporations do in America.  (And in Japan, too, BTW.)

So, that’s my non-techie reaction to my Kindle one year out of the gate.  Is it perfect?  No. Is it something I use and am glad to have almost every single day?  Abso-flipping-lutely.

Disclaimer time again:  If you buy a Kindle using the link here or the one you’ll find elsewhere on the site, AAR will receive a small commission.  However, we get no commissions from ebook sales at the Kindle store, though we do receive them for sales of print books.

– Sandy AAR

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