I was a reluctant adopter of the Kindle – I love me a paper book. PapaHatch and I still get the paper version of the New York Times at home (and honestly, reading the digital version of the newspaper is far inferior, in my opinion). However, in preparation for our year abroad and upon the sage advice of our sabbatical mentors (you rock, J.B & E.B.), we succumbed and asked for Kindles for Christmas (thank you, Grammy!). They have been AWESOME for many reasons, not even including the cool vocabulary-building and family library-sharing options. Let me wax poetic (ok, prose, really) and list some of them here:
- Our library offers e-book lending via a great app called OverDrive. This has provided a non-stop stream of reading options for us all. Check it out (get it?) and see if your library offers this great service. Our U.S. library’s book selection is limited but growing.
- Guidebooks. Whether purchased or borrowed via Overdrive, the benefits of not lugging around giant (and let’s admit it, kind of embarrassing) guidebooks outweigh the inconvenience of electronic page-flipping.
- Sending PDFs to Kindle. Did you know this? If you have a Kindle, there is an email address associated with it to which you can send PDF attachments that will show up on your Kindle. I have sent myself my own itineraries, JPGs of maps and even copies of our passports and other tickets. Needless to say, my Kindle is password-protected, but I love having additional electronic copies. In addition, there are some books etc. that are available on the Internet as PDFs, which I now have on my Kindle.
- The Google Chrome web-clipper extension for Kindle. This has been an AWESOME discovery. I can send myself all kinds of travel articles, guides, etc. with the click of a button. New York Times’ 36 Hours columns anyone? Me please!
- This one’s a mixed bag, depending on your views on screen time: the 11 yr old just discovered “Kindle Active Content.” He has now downloaded chess, sudoku and some sort of logic problem game. That all sounds good, but we purposely wanted a device that only displays written content for them, shying away from the more advanced Kindle Fire in favor of the more basic non-web-enabled version. In theory, I love them honing their chess skills etc., but in practical terms, this makes it harder for me to feel totally confident that they are actually spending time reading and makes more “monitoring” work for me (especially since there are apparently other, less innocuous games available).
I hope this helps someone… Caveat: I have no idea what options there are for other non-Kindle e-readers, sorry. In the meantime, back to my web clipping!