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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Almost a Kindle-kinder

My husband bought the new Kindle about a month ago. It was to be primarily for his use, but I got my chance to try it out while sitting in a hospital waiting room. Inspite of the extra features, like being able to surf webpages (horribly slow, and the pages formatted for PC screens look messed up on the 6 inch screen.), it shone primarily as an e-book reader. When I searched for tried and tested classics of literature, I could find them really cheap ( about 50 cents to a dollar) on the Book search feature. But it still left me feeling vaguely dissatisfied- couldn't they be easily accessible from free sites like Project Gutenberg?

A week later, both of us had a new competitor for Kindle-time. M showed every sign of turning into a serious Kindle addict. She insisted that we purchase a couple of her favorite authors' books on the Kindle (and at $10 a pop, we ended up on the lookout for older children's literature, like the complete set of Wizard of Oz books or the Wind in the Willows, which were definitely much less expensive.).

She sat with it every night at bed time, reading to herself, or trying out the 'Read aloud' electronic voice, which had her in fits of giggles at its attempts to pronounce even some simple words. (Apparently, it can't pronounce President Obama's name correctly, either.)

My husband did some more research and unlocked the goldmine of free e-books. The MOBI format on Project Gutenberg was all that we needed. We could download what we wished in that format, email it to our Kindle account and presto! We had access to lots of free classics of our choice at the press of a button (or two).

For now, the signs of M turning into a Kindle-kinder are on the wane. She's discarded it in favor of the library's used book sale Nancy Drew hard covers, and her other favorites which are either unavailable or too expensive on the Kindle.

Though I believe that someday when she is ready for them, Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth, Anne of Green Gables, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer will be waiting for her button-press to bring them to life again, probably on a trip when space for books is limited.

I wish that all of S's textbooks could be available on a Kindle. It would save him from having to carry 40 pounds of books in an increasingly tattered bookbag, and the bad posture induced by bending double to carry them. The newer Kindle is even headed that way, and at least for college textbooks, it could be a lucrative market for students who have to have the latest editions of their textbooks and not much use for those once they graduate and enter the workplace.

Note:

I'm using the suffix 'kinder' in the sense of
"German : Kinder, genitive pl. of Kind, child (from Middle High German kint, from Old High German kind; see gen- in Indo-European roots) + Garten, garden (from Middle High German garte, from Old High German garto; see gher-1 in Indo-European roots).]

-http://www.thefreedictionary.com/kindergarten

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