Sunday, June 7, 2009

Should I buy a kindle?

I've been seriously debating whether to get a Kindle 2 or not. I thought it might help to list the pros and cons. I also thought that I would throw it on the blog to get some outside input. So, here is my pros/cons list and please put forth any thoughts you may have on the subject.

  • Have you seen electronic ink screens? They are freakin' awesome!
  • Lots of books, low weight. I travel a lot (when I'm back in the real world) and often a significant portion of my travel weight is books. I also don't take as many books as I want with me when I travel to limit weight.
  • Built in dictionary. I love new words. I look up lots of words. Carrying a dictionary is another book that I don't want to carry, and you don't always have access to the internet.
  • Being able to take notes without messing up the book is nifty. I'm not sure if I don't take lots of notes because I don't like writing in books, or if I'm just not the note taking type. I do usually have a small notepad with me, but that's mostly just to write down words I want to look up. I wouldn't have to write down words to look up anymore, but I might be more inclined to take notes if it were built in to the book.
  • Not having to deal with bookmarks and losing your place. Enough said.
  • I'm a gadget whore and a Kindle 2 would really give me geek cred, whatever that means.
  • Free Wikipedia just about anywhere. I find Wiki to be almost as useful as Google. In terms of time, I actually spend more time on Wiki than I do on Google, but that's not a fair comparison because Google is a gateway and Wiki is a destination. Wikipedia is a truly valuable tool and it would be a real boon to have it in your pocket (Hey, I have big pockets!).
  • Music. In some situations it would fill a dual role as mp3 player and book reader. Although with how small mp3 players are and how long the batteries last, I wouldn't use this all to often. Could be nice to listen to music and read while on an elliptical or exercise bike though.
  • The price.
  • THE PRICE! Seriously, even with the fact that you would be saving money on the cheaper electronic books, it would still take awhile to recoup the initial $360 investment. If you saved $10 a book (which you won't), it would still take you 36 books to break even. That would probably take me more than a year and maybe as long as two. Saving money on books can't be my motivation if the warranty is already expired before I recoup my money.
  • Graphic novels probably don't transfer well to Kindle. Not that I read all that many, but who wants to be excluded?
  • Black and white screen. Tied in with the above, but also with a lot of science magazines and blogs that I follow there are a lot of really cool color pictures that wouldn't transfer over.
  • You have to subscribe(read pay) to blogs. I'm all for bloggers making money, hell, I wish I made money blogging, but I don't know if I would pay for them directly.
  • No videos/movies.
  • When I'm at work, we have some down time that can be (and has been) spent on reading. This is in the cons because I'm typically in facilities that don't allow electronic devices inside. This is only a little con because only a small amount of my time is spent reading at work.
  • No expansion/memory card slot. If I'm going to use this for music and books, it would be nice to stick an 8gb micro SD card in there for extra storage
  • After reading a book I enjoy, I can't just hand it to my friend to read, unless I want to give up my Kindle until he/she is done.
That's all the pros and cons I can think of right now. If I think of more later I'll throw them on at the bottom as an edit. As it stands, all the pros are either things that make my life a little easier, or things that make me look cool. I obviously don't concern myself all that much with looking cool, so the only thing I gain is convenience. You know what's not convenient? Work, and work is what I would be doing to pay for the $360 price tag. That basically sums up the cons. It's really a lot of money just for a little bit of convenience. I think it's the future of books, and that eventually all books will be predominantly electronic, if not exclusively, but being a part of the future right now is always expensive. Even if I was a millionaire (which I'm definitely not) I would still think this was a silly way to spend money. Of course the whole point of being a millionaire is being able to spend your money in silly ways.