Kindle is digital media software and hardware which reads e-books, so you can download your favorite books, magazines and newspapers and read them for cheaper than buying the printed version. Kindle, Kindle 2 and Kindle DX are three versions of the Kindle e-reader first marketed by Amazon.com in November of 2007, but which has grown to include software apps for Windows computer, Blackberry phones, iPhone OS and the Mac OS X.
How Does Kindle Work?
Amazon Kindle works by using an “electronic paper” display to mimic the reading experience of real paper, so reading from a Kindle is not the same experience as reading off a computer screen. Computer monitors and laptop screens use a backlight to light up pixels. Reading from a computer puts strains on the eyes, because it’s a little like staring at a light bulb. Not so with the Kindle.
An Amazon Kindle reflects like more like paper would. Also, the Kindle’s electronic ink maintains image form indefinitely, without requiring electricity. When you turn the page, the electronic ink changes its pattern, but remains in that shape indefinitely. The Kindle is roughly the size and weight of a standard book you would buy at Barnes & Noble, so reading a Kindle book is similar to reading a paper book, but with several improvements.
Why use an Amazon Kindle?
E-books bought through Amazon tend to be cheaper than books bought in hardcover, and usually in so softcover. For instance, most New York Times bestsellers and other new releases cost $9.99 on the Kindle, where the price is like to be 2 to 3 times that amount for the hard cover version. Magazines tend to cost $2.99 or less, while a monthly subscription to a newspaper tends to cost between $11.99 and $14.99.
Buying books for your Kindle also helps eliminate clutter in your house. If you’re like me, you enjoy reading books, but you have to either give away books or put them in the attic every year or so, to avoid having stacks and stacks of old books sitting around the rooms of your house. Printed books also trap dust and draw dust mites into your home, which contribute to household allergies. If you have a dust allergy, but you enjoy reading books, Kindle can help.
Also, buying Kindle ebooks helps with conservation of the Earth’s resources, since electronic books aren’t produced from cutting down trees.
Are There Reasons to Avoid Kindle?
Even with everything done to mimic print books, reading from an Amazon Kindle might take a little getting used to. Kindle represents change in your life, and most people don’t like change. You’ll have to learn to browse the Amazon book list, instead of visiting Borders, Books-a-Million or Half Priced Books, for your book buying experience.
Also, the startup cost on a Kindle e-reader is around $260 at present, perhaps more in some places. Some people wince at that price, assuming they can spend $20 to read the same paper version of the book they want to read at the moment. Of course, you’ll be saving on all the books and other publications you buy after that, so if you read in volume, Kindle will pay for itself, in a relatively short period of time.
All in all, Kindle might have a few drawbacks to reading “real books”, but in my mind, those are minor quibbles that are easily outweighed by the benefits of reading with Kindle products. The benefits should only improve over time, with advances in technology.
Kindle – The Future of Reading
So when you ask what Kindle is, I’d say it’s the future of reading. I imagine, in another generation or two, most readers are going to use some kind of e-reading platform, without thinking about a trip to the book store. There will be a few antiquarians and Luddites who will keep reading the “old way”, but technology, cheap pricing and increasing conservation concerns are going to converge to make e-reading the accepted norm.
I could be wrong. Ask me what is a Kindle and how a Kindle works in another generation and I might be telling you that Amazon Kindle is a chip in your brain that you download the classics into, and there’s no need to read anymore. Stay tuned.