Thursday, 29 December 2011

A Kindle is not just for Christmas

OK, I admit it. I’ve gone over to the other side. I’m a convert. A defector.  A traitor. My sons bought me a Kindle for Christmas – although not without some misgivings. Two years ago, they bought me a digital photo frame which sits gathering dust, unused and unloved, and earning me a reputation as a technophobe. And I had – still have – a few doubts of my own, mainly about how much I might miss the smell and feel of real books. But I already love my Kindle so much, I may have to give it a name. Kevin, perhaps.

The Kindle is small and light, the matt silver-grey finish is very touchy-feely and it’s hard to argue with the convenience of being able to slip a couple of thousand books into your handbag. The screen uses ‘reads like paper’ technology which is not backlit and feels very different to reading from a computer screen - and I can finally read children’s and YA books on the train without anyone giving me pitying or disapproving looks!

I suppose most Kindle users are adults, but I think there is real appeal for younger readers and for schools. It’s the book equivalent of an MP3 player with instant downloads, including free sample chapters that you can ‘try before you buy’. There is instant on-screen access to dictionary definitions of unfamiliar words and the variable font size may be useful for struggling or reluctant readers. There is also on-line access to thousands of free classic texts, some of which are used in schools. Kindle texts – including ‘self-published’ pdf books – can also be displayed or printed from computer screens and interactive whiteboards. The device bookmarks your place and you can highlight text and make notes for your own use or to ‘share’ with real and virtual friends via Facebook and Twitter. 

In case I’m starting to sound like an ad campaign, there are some disadvantages. There’s no colour so it’s not great for picture books or graphic novels and there’s no 3G connection (I barely know what that is!) but you can browse and buy e-books using the wi-fi connection or transfer them from your computer, which is my favourite method so far.
So is this thing with Kevin just a fling or something more permanent? I’ll keep you posted...
In the meantime, my books, Skin Deep and Spike and Ali Enson are available in both paperback and as e-books:


  1. I too got a Kindle for Christmas, and I too feel a bit of a traitor! But how I love it. How I love the samples you can download from Amazon. Such a great way of discovering new authors. Haven't thought of a name yet though. Bob, perhaps?

  2. I was asking for a Kindle this Christmas then I saw a Kindle Fire. Now I'm holding out until it's launched in the UK. Hopefully soon? Kip?