UPDATED: A beginner’s guide to the Amazon Kindle


amazon kindle


I’ve been using my Amazon Kindle for about 10 days now. Here’s what I’ve discovered:

  • Set up and book buying couldn’t be easier
    You will be good to go in under a minute. Don’t be scared of this device if you’re a technophobe because it really is extremely easy to use. You do need an Amazon account to operate, but if you’re buying a Kindle then you’re probably no stranger to The Big A anyway.
  • You could spend a frickin fortune if you’re not careful
    I had assumed that ebooks would be a lot cheaper than the print versions, since the production and delivery costs are so much less, but that’s not the case. Many best sellers are a fairly similar price whatever version you choose. Somebody’s making a lot of money out of Kindle books, and I suspect it’s not the writers.
  • But you’ll still be seduced
    It’s the instant delivery to Kindle that’s so seductive – you can think of a book, buy it with one click and be reading it in under a minute. So if you’re in a field and you fancy reading some Rilke – away you go. You can see why it’s caught on.
  • The range of free ebooks is pretty vast, if not terribly current
    So far we’ve downloaded stuff like Little Women, Black Beauty and some scary Greek myths. There’re classics including Dracula, Sherlock Holmes and Pride and Prefudice, so plenty that’s worth reading. You can see the free ebooks collection here.
  • With a good book, the format doesn’t matter
    Yes it’s nice to have a fat volume in your hands, and pages to sniff and turn. But once you’re in the world of the book, all that slips away and becomes irrelevant.
  • Be careful where you log off
    If you turn off the Kindle at a particular page, when you power up again you’ll go straight to the same page. For most readers this is useful, but if you are an adult reading the bit in Caitlin Moran’s book about strippers, and you’re sharing the book with a child who’s reading Black Beauty, tread carefully.
  • The bargains contain some gems
    For the canny publisher who’s prepared to price books low, it’s a great way to hook in casual readers. Kindle readers seem to be awfully keen to share their views, so a quick glance at the reviews will tell you whether a book is worth a punt.
  • Reading your Kindle in the bath is like an extreme sport for librarians
    Drop a Kindle in the bath and there goes your whole library. I didn’t even want to put mine down next to the bath in case it got dripped on, nor did I want to fling it to the other side of the room in case it broke. A conundrum. Might need a pulley system, or a special shelf.
  • You get free internets as well with the 3G model
    It’s in black and white so not the most sophisticated picture, but for checking in to Twitter or your email it’s a good way to keep connected on the move.

I hope this is useful to anyone who’s thinking of getting Kindled. My Kindle was a gift from Amazon’s Christmas media preview event. I would like to apologise to the PR person who gave me the Kindle, since I was so shocked that I also ran off with her Biro. Oops.

image: Flickr – Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com


I am now on to my 3rd Kindle – the first two went kaput and had to be replaced. In each case, out of the blue a diagonal line appeared across the screen and around half the screen was frozen, making reading books impossible.

I found Amazon customer services impeccable – quick to respond, helpful and very easy to deal with. Each time, they made suggestions as to how to fix the problem, and when that didn’t work they arranged for a free replacement to be sent out. Though all in all I would rather have had a Kindle that didn’t break.

I still love my (3rd) Kindle and very much enjoy reading books on it. However, it’s disappointing to have it go wrong twice – the second one only lasted a matter of weeks. Hopefully I have just been unlucky and this is no indication of a wider problem. But if you’ve had a Kindle that’s gone wrong, leave a comment below and tell me your experience.


*PR Sample