I took a chance this past Christmas and bought Señiora Notsotechie a Kindle Paper White reader. I say chance because she considers electronic devices to fall in the same category as kitchen appliances. Nothing says romance to a woman more than a vacuum cleaner or a blender. A hint to the male readers, if you do give a gift of appliances to your special partner, I recommend hiring a food taster for the next few weeks. Then go and buy her the special piece of jewellery she has been secretly hinting about.
The Señiora is an avid reader and reads 2-4 books a month. The logistics of this requires us to bring a number of books packed in our suitcases; which means we use precious space and weight of our free luggage allotment.
The Kindle ( and the Canadian competitor “the KOBO Paper White Reader” ) have displays that can be read in bright daylight and are backlit so they can be used in low light conditions. Both readers also weigh in around 206 grams (7.3 ounces for the bi-standards crowd), the reader is easy to hold while reading. The readers also claim 8 weeks of usage between charges (Señiora Notsotechie claims about 1 month between charges).
Both readers can download books from public libraries, the KOBO works with Canadian libraries, and the Kindle with US libraries. But there are many thousands of electronic books that are free (in the public domain) online. Many are classics such War and Peace, Dickens, Hugo…
Current books can be purchased online. amazon.ca or amazon.com for the Kindle, kobobooks.com for the KOBO.
Tablets, such as the iPad and the Kindle Fire, can be used as readers. The disadvantages of Tablets vs Readers: Tablets are not as effective as readers if you want to read in bright sunshine (even with the brightness turned to maximum). They are heavier and therefore not as comfortable for long reading sessions. They have to be charged more regularly.
The readers are designed to do one thing and they do it well. They are equipped with wi-fi, so the user can look up words or download books. The fonts and size can be changed to make reading more comfortable for the user’s eyes. You can set the font large enough to dispense with your reading glasses. The readers cannot be used for e-mail or web surfing.
The Reader is small and light enough to fit in a woman’s handbag. The readers can store over 1,000 books in the internal memory, so there is no need to pack books in the luggage.
There are cheaper versions of the readers, but they are not backlit and their screens are not as white.
Now the answer to the burning question, how did Señiora Notsotechie react to her gift? I am happy to say that I didn’t have to hire the food taster. She has been using the Kindle daily and has given all her paperbacks to our friends. She said the reader works well down by the pool and without light at bedtime.