Lately I’ve been hearing more and more chatter about Amazon’s book reading device, the Kindle. I know they’ve been around for a while now (enough that my Grandma was on top of the situation even before me!) but I’ve never really given more than a glance at the gadget.
After this trip, we’ll be big Kindle fans. But not in the way you might think…
How The Kindle App Can Help You
You probably know that we’re big fans of books. We’re self-taught photographers and business-owners, and we have significantly shortened the learning curve in both areas because of a lot of book readin’.
So here it is. If you are looking to become a better photographer, or a business owner, you will help yourself out a lot by taking your self-education seriously. And one of the best ways to gain dense and focused information is by reading books. Not just magazines, or forums, or blogs. Books.
But getting books can be a bit of a hassle. Amazon.com made things easier, but you still had to wait for the books to come, and highlighting or underlining in paperbacks is a pain. Then you had to figure out where to put all the darn things!
With this Kindle App that we’re going to be talking about, you have instant access to over 900,000 books. Add in Amazon’s really fantastic review system, and you can just burn through the top rated books in any subject.
Honestly, you will feel powerful. Like any subject is within your grasp, and you can master whatever you need to push yourself forward.
Why We Started Using The Kindle App
Right now we’re in Buenos Aires. We planned to spend a lot of the time reading. But we ran into a problem: finding great English books is pretty much impossible here. Sure there are some varied paperback novels, but we wanted to read the newest, highest rated books on the topics that we’re interested in. Not an easy task.
Enter the Kindle App. Not the actual Kindle device, but the app. You can get the program for free and it will run on Mac or PC as well as various mobile devices. We were skeptical at first, but had no other options. Boy, are we glad we tried it.
Here are a few features I think you’ll love about it:
- The actual app is free, and the books are often even cheaper than a paperback
- You can download versions for your various mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry)
- It will automatically sync your page location across multiple devices. You could be reading on your computer, then head for coffee and pickup where you left off on your iPhone, then come home and kick your feet up with your iPad and pick up where you left off at coffee. This is one of the coolest features!
- Have access to your entire library at all times, wherever you are
- Highlight important text, make notes, bookmark pages (and then easily view all your highlights, notes, and bookmarks)
- Easily purchase books with one click from the Amazon Kindle bookstore (no more excuses that you don’t want to drive to the bookstore)
- Purchase books anywhere you have an internet connection (great for travel!)
- Send and recieve kindle books as gifts, and lend your book titles.
- Download from a collection thousands of free (out-of-copyright) classic books
- Save trees!
Why The Kindle App Makes Reading Easier
Now look, I know that you are worried that you’ll miss the tangible qualities of books. And I still think that some books will be great to own in paper (like fine art photo books, or leatherbound classics)
But the Kindle App truly makes reading easier, especially when you are reading to learn.
With regular books, the book itself can be a bit distracting. There’s no guarantee about size (it could be too big to easily travel with, or hard cover, or too thick to easily hold). The book itself could be poorly contructed (meant to be read once without room for note taking). The text might be too small, poorly set, or the line length not comfortable for you.
The reading experience with the Kindle App is fantastic. You can control words per line (for optimal reading speed), font size, and brightness. You can also choose between black text on white, black text on sepia, or my favorite, white text on a black background. (In the few books that I’ve read, I’ve found this option less straining on the eyes.)
With this app you are completely focused on reading. We’ve both found that we read faster and for longer periods of time. When all we have to bring along is the iPhone, and we have access to dozens of books, we also find ourselves reading at every opportunity. (And if you have a snazzy iPhone 4, that retina display is going to be awesome for reading! Jealous!)
And don’t even get me started on being able to search. How many times have you opened up a book, trying to find that important passage you needed, and just couldn’t locate it. With the Kindle App you can quickly search the entire book, and find just what you need, instantly.
Highlighting and notes are far easier to create now, which really makes you engage with the book, and get more out of it. You will find yourself remembering more about the book, since you’re really involved in the learning process. Highly recommended.
This isn’t just about making reading more convenient. The Kindle App makes reading more effective.
The Actual Kindle
So we’ve been using the Kindle app like crazy, and loving it. Will we get an actual Kindle?
Maybe, maybe not. Right now the iPhone is fantastic for any situation. Reading on the MacBook Air is really enjoyable, especially if you’re taking lots of notes. And we can’t wait to read more on the iPad when we get home.
The Kindle itself would be great for travel, and that’s when we’ll consider it. But for now, the Kindle App is amazing, and we know we’re going to get a lot more reading, and learning, done because of it.