eight useful facts about the kindle

  1. The screen is as good as everybody says. Very readable, at least as good as a book (books don't allow you to change the size of the text, after all).
  2. The Kindle has three states: On, Standby, and Off. It's almost impossible to get it to Standby, and it will decide when it's going to be On or Off, thank you very much. You don't get a vote.
  3. Books which are out of copyright can be cheap (if they are available at all). I got all twelve Philo Vance novels in one file for $6.99. That's a buck each for the first six (the really good ones) and then 99 cents for the other six (the not-so-good and increasingly crappy ones).
  4. A lot of things are not available at all. Nothing by Thomas Pynchon, for example, which is frustrating. I was counting on this as my best shot to read Against the Day (which is over 1,000 pages long, too heavy to carry around). Oh, well. Maybe some day.
  5. Amazon.com is located on the west coast, but they have managed to create the ultimate device for one-handed rush-hour subway reading. Better than an iPad (I've seen people trying to wrangle them one-handed on the train, and it's obviously a challenge, let alone that it's difficult to turn pages with one hand because of the touch screen). Better than a book, actually, also because of the page-turning factor.
  6. Of course, you don't own the books you read on it, and they can be taken away from you at any time.
  7. You can load as much of your own content as you want (for free). I find it very useful for marking up drafts. I load the story onto the Kindle, read it through and add inline comments. I make the edits on my computer and then reload the file onto the Kindle to read it through again. It works quite well. I'm currently reading through all the mystery stories in chronological order (the order that the stories happened, which is not the order in which they are told), to make sure there are no paradoxes.*
  8. Occasionally your notes all go away without warning. So, it's an encouragement to make the edits quickly.

* For example, in one story Christy mentions her son, and Jan decides not to ask how old he is. In another story, Christy volunteers his age. Which Jan would have remembered, since she remembers everything. So, it's a good thing that the first incident happens before the second.

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