Using my Kindle

29 Apr

I wrote a post back in February about my Kindle and my initial thoughts on it. I’ve recently started using the Kindle more, and I thought people might be interested to see my further experiences with the device. This review is cross-posted from my LiveJournal book review blog.

E-book, read on Kindle. Downloaded Feb 2011 from (I think)

Usually, I have a “nice” book or two on the go at home and then a less special copy to pop in my handbag for reading on the bus. But I took a look at my TBR and realised that I’ve got up to the Christmas/Birthday acquisitions, which means lots of “nice” books and not many “handbag” books. So I thought I’d use my poor, dusty Kindle, so eagerly anticipated and so underused since I got it, for reading on the bus. After all, a) I have 44 books on it, and b), as Matthew pointed out, I happily wave my Blackberry around on the bus, which cost twice as much.

So – the reading experience was good. I felt hyper-vigilant at first, taking it into town and back including coming back on the No 50 bus after 8 pm. But it was fine; as far as I could see, noboldy turned a hair, or even looked at it. My commutes to work are quite quiet as I go in early and come back before rush hour, and again, I was fine. I have the Kindle in a case, so I just popped it out of my bag, propped it on my bag on my lap, and there I was. It’s comfortable to hold with the case folded back (I have one shaped like a traditional book) although I don’t yet use it one-handed like the people in the ads. The screen was easy to read in sunlight and duller conditions, the pages are easy to turn, and the procedure for putting it away – flicking the switch and closing the case – take the same amount of time as inserting the bookmark and shutting the book. I am careful of my handbag with it in, and make sure it’s stored vertically between my purse and a notebook, and I’m more careful not to slam my bag down or kick it out of the way (and I keep the Kindle out of the bag at home) and all seems fine.

As to this particular book. Well, it was a charming read, which I would not have been able to read without digging out a second hand copy in Hay on Wye or a similar place, but easily available through Project Gutenberg and other sites like manybooks. My only problem with the text was that a) illustrations were not included (I have read a book with illustrations on M’s e-reader, so assume this is an issue with the text and not the Kindle), and b) some of the accented letters came out oddly – and of course Icelandic has a lot of these. I presume that’s a glitch in the coding, and it was OK, if a little annoying. The narrative itself is the 2nd edition of the book, originally published in 1889 and again in 1894 with a ‘Preface to the Second Edition’ which I didn’t notice until I was checking the publication date. But I’m glad I read it after the main narrative. The book deals with a trip to and around Iceland, undertaken by the author, her brother, her female friend and two of her brother’s male friends. Intrepid as an Isabella Bird, she quickly takes to riding the Icelandic ponies in the “man’s” style, i.e. sitting astride the pony rather than side-saddle, finding it more comfortable and easier on both her and the pony. The consternation with which this report was received was the subject of her Preface, in which she admits that she hasn’t been able to make people change over to the new style. Apart from this controversial issue, it’s a lovely description of Iceland, its people and places, giving a vivid snapshot of the island at the beginning of its tourist age, when it took 5 days to get there by boat from Scotland. Many of the sights and sites are the same, which made it a good companion to my Rough Guide, read recently, and in fact I’m now on to another book about travelling in the country.

A good experiment with the Kindle, and a great book I wouldn’t have found without the device. I will definitely be continuing with both the Kindle and the collection of slightly obscure travel narratives I have loaded onto it.


Posted by on April 29, 2011 in Ebooks, Reading



15 responses to “Using my Kindle

  1. Julia

    April 29, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Pondering if should get a Kindle, if also pondering an ipad?


    • Nordie

      May 1, 2011 at 8:03 am

      I am happily a “late adaptor” (letting other people spend their money to find Apple’s bugs) to the point where I dont even have a smart phone as yet.

      Even if I did have a smart phone, I would still probably edge towards the iPad rather than a Kindle, simply because you can do more with the iPad – if I’m going to spend ¬£100+ I want to be able to do more than read a book! The iPad would probably also replace the laptop in the house – another reason not to have a smart phone!

      Anyway, it’s academic as I havent brought either yet


      • libroediting

        May 1, 2011 at 8:11 am

        Thanks for your comment Nordie. I agree that if you want to do more, an iPad is the thing, but I find the Kindle fine for just reading books on the go, especially as my smartphone does the email/web browsing stuff …


  2. Bridget Morris

    April 30, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Except for having to buy a larger handbag to accommodate my Kindle I have no complaints about it. I now consider myself to be a real veteran user and am amassing a considerable library of cheap/free classics and more recent, more expensive books. As for security, I read it anywhere and have had no difficulties. As a talking point it has proved a good way of making connections and learning about new books. Recently on holiday it was a great source of interest to other holiday makers and I believe I may be responsible for an upturn in sales from Amazon!

    I would be more worried about carrying an ipad around and there are additional security issues because of the variety of facilities. Ideally, of course, it would be good to have both!


  3. libroediting

    April 30, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Bridget. My Kindle fits in my handbag just fine, as it’s about the size of a large format paperback when in its case. Maybe they’ll be responsible for a fashion for the larger handbag, though!


  4. Matthew

    April 30, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Kindle basically does one thing very well indeed for relatively little expense. iPad does lots of things including same things as Kindle for more expense and is heavier although by no means as heavy as the average laptop. I use my iPad now at least as much if not more than my laptop. I don’t generally take my iPad out and about for security’s sake but would have no problem taking Kindle out on bus if I had one.


    • libroediting

      May 1, 2011 at 7:16 am

      Thank you for your comparison. I wonder where the security aspect stops – somewhere between a Blackberry and an IPad, at the moment.


  5. Julia

    May 1, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Hmmm – thanks for all these. I think the ipad is a likely purchase. Still pondering a Kindle to carry around, but as I have the Kindle app on my smart phone, and more than a few “real” books to read, maybe I should hold fire?


  6. James Rock

    May 1, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Some interesting comments.

    I am an iPad user, and I have recently downloaded the Kindle App to give it a try. I’m quite liking the experience but haven’t found much difference between Kindle an iBooks yet, although maybe there are more ‘free’ sources of content for Kindle.

    I can fully understand the issues raised about security, and recently carried my iPad around town without being in a bag for the first time. This was an experience I found slightly disturbing, even though in reality any potential thieves must realise that my designer laptop bag must contain my expensive MacBook Pro, iPhone, and wallet. This is particularly true if anyone has seen me working in a cafe or coffee shop. So am I more likely to be mugged for my iPad or my bag? In reality I feel that if I am going to be mugged then it could be for either. Just one tip here, since it happened to me before, is just make sure that your laptop is fully backed up!

    I prefer my iPad because it offers much more usability. I would probably never buy a Kindle because whilst it is cheaper it’s ugly and too much additional baggage to carry as just an electronic book.

    PS. I’m responding to this blog on my iPad – can you do that on a Kindle?

    James Rock


    • libroediting

      May 1, 2011 at 11:38 am

      Some good points there, James – thank you. No, I probably couldn’t reply to this on my Kindle, although it does have a web interface, but I can on my smartphone, which I usually have on me if I’ve got the Kinde. I think we’re answering Julia’s question nicely though, aren’t we!


  7. Krys

    May 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I have recently obtained a Dell Streak as my mobile phone and love it. The 5-inch screen seems OK for reading. I have downloaded Moon Reader software and several free books. I haven’t had the opportunity to try it out yet because I do not seem to be able to give up the satisfaction of turning real pages in a paper book!


    • libroediting

      May 2, 2011 at 2:13 am

      Interesting – do let us know how that goes. I find the enjoyment of being able to read books I just couldn’t get in paper without a real struggle makes it easier to deal with the rather odd way of reading!


  8. Alison

    May 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    I’ve had absolutely no qualms about using my Kindle in public and to be honest I’m surprised anyone would! I would imagine if anyone wanted to mug me they’d go for my purse or watch first, because they probably wouldn’t know what to do with a Kindle! Anyway, it’s crazy to hold back on what you want to do because of what other people might do … just go for it!


    • libroediting

      May 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Alison. I must say that I’ve got very used to it very quickly. I think I’m less worried about it being stolen than just about attracting attention by having something unusual. The buses around here are not the best, and I’ve had comments when reading a book before – getting my book knocked out of my hand would obviously be less traumatic than getting the Kindle grabbed and dropped! But as I say, I’m a lot more used to it now and feel quite comfy!


  9. Julia

    July 3, 2011 at 6:30 pm


    I thought I ought to put an update here.

    I bought an iPad and am loving it! So much you can do on it and I’m finding new apps all the time. At the same time the lack of flash is a pain so this has to be in addition to a laptop! Not that this is my only reason for feeling I need both!

    I am using the Kindle app to read Hardy’s “Desperate Remedies” which is working very well. I started reading it on iBooks but then changed to the Kindle app because of the ability to sync it with my android phone, and I like the dictionary/wikipedia/google feature in the Kindle app which I have used a few times.

    The other night I picked up a paper copy of the book to read a few pages and then switched back to to phone! This was because the light in the room was not bright enought for the text to be clear enough for me. The optician told me last year that this happens when you get to a certain age! So that is really interesting for me! I have bought a couple of reading lamps and have thought I would get yet another one so I can read in a different room in the evenings but it seems I can save the money and use my iPad. Can I argue that buying an iPad is saving us money?



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