Converting to a Kindle - why it's worth giving one a go

IMG_0435.JPGI never thought I'd say it but I've converted to a Kindle. My dirty secret is now out: while I haven't abandoned books, the days of travelling with them are over.

I'm currently on leave and although my laptop is with me, I'm trying to keep it securely packed away. My two boys have the household iPads so they're out of bounds unless I want to watch Scooby-Doo or play Toca Boca.

The decision to move over has been a purely practical one. Travelling en famille can feel like moving house it requires that much stuff.

I might miss the feel and smell of books, but I don't miss the weight of them in my hand or suitcase.

Having barely picked up a book except to skim read key work titles since having Toby (5) and Ben (3), I want to get back in the habit.

Consulting the Oracle (my mates on Facebook) clearly showed the Kindle was the only way forward.

Aside from the abject mortification of a five year old introducing me to features I wasn't aware of after approximately two minutes of playing with it (him), I was actually won over by the device on first use.

I bought a Paperwhite on a friend's advice as we are holidaying in Greece. It's a joy. I read through the instructions in 28° sun.

Being a technophobe, I can confirm the user experience is actually as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Charging is via the usual USB cable which even I am capable of plugging in. Not a problem anyway; the Kindle has a crazily long battery life, unlike the continually depleted iPhone, and automatically switches to sleep after a few minutes if you accidentally dose off after a rosé and there's a period of inactivity.

IMG_0174.JPGThe touch screen interface is beautifully thought out and you can do pretty much everything with the tap or swipe of one finger, including swapping from the home screen to different books and a lot more.

There are several features that are particularly helpful, especially if you're using the Kindle to work. My top ones are as follows:

  • The ability to make notes as you read, which I love to do. I can't ever bring myself to write in books so have scribbles in all sorts of places that I often can't find again. Not any more!
  • A dictionary for words you can make head nor tail of. I usually gloss over these and now have no excuse not to learn something new. This is a good thing as I spend a lot of time conversing with pre-schoolers.
  • The sheer ease of searching for and buying books. This is not so good if you have errant children nearby who will take any chance to wreak havoc when you pop to the toilet. I probably need to read up on the parental controls.
  • A secondary toolbar which displays a Go To tab should you want to navigate your book to see its contents, your notes and general highlights. An X-Ray tab gives you an overview of the book too so you can quickly see key themes.
  • Books you can 'borrow' rather than pay for and download if you're on Amazon Prime.
  • The option to share thoughts on Goodreads on Kindle and other social networks. No doubt most people will like this although that's not my bag, admittedly.

You can even change the brightness and make the font bigger if you have a hangover.

As you'd expect there's more functionality than this but with some good books on the go (just finished Bob Hoffman's Marketers are from Mars, Consumers are from New Jersey), it's enough to keep me happy by the pool.

My next steps: download more books and order a personalised case. The latter being a key priority. Obvs.