Kindle at the Pool? NPR Investigates!

Kindle-AidOn my way home from work one day, a woman sitting next to me most apologetically interrupted my reading to ask me about the Kindle. She’d never seen one, and she didn’t know much about the ebook readers on the market, but she was completely on board with the idea of carrying a stack of books in one lightweight device, to say nothing of the integration between book browsing and book buying using the wireless connection.

Of course, and I do grit my teeth when I write this, the Kindle is now available for $359, which makes it a tad more attractive, though I don’t think it’ll really take off in terms of ubiquity until it goes below $300, or even $250, if that ever happens. Meanwhile, I’m trying not to think of all the things I could have purchased with that $40 extra. Amazon, I am giving you a finger. Guess which one. My fellow commuter is probably buying one, because she completely agreed with me about how crap it is to run out of reading on the bus ride home. Invariably, it’s the day you get stuck in traffic for an hour.

If you’re still wondering about the Kindle, and its potential uses as a reading device, read on. Thanks to Jill F., who sent me a link, you can check out NPR’s Lynn Neary as she reports on how the Kindle holds up on the beach and at the pool. It’s relatively durable, sayeth the experts, compared to, say, a cell phone. But don’t toss it in the water, for God’s sake. I know of one Kindle-Aid drinker who puts hers in a clear Ziploc bag for trips to dangerous locations where there may be sunscreen, sand, and water. Low-tech is often best, especially since the included Kindle-case blows Chunkys.

I’m going to be road tripping next weekend – fun fun fun in West Virginia (no, seriously, I love West Virginia) – and the Kindle shall be coming with me. This may be the first vacation where I am guaranteed not to run out of things to read (which has happened before, and yea, it doth blow Chunky as well) but there’s no way in hell I’m bringing it near a pool, not without two Ziplocs, minimum.

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  1. 1
    Sandia says:

    i’ve taken mine to the pool multiple times without the ziplock solution, but i’m looking into buying this the leisure jacket from m-edge: http://www.buymedge.com/p_KindleLs.html

  2. 2
    Amber says:

    I would totally buy one if you could get one in Europe.  I review books and 90% of them are in e-book format.  I do have an eeepc now which is better to carry around but I wouldn’t read from it on the bus.

  3. 3
    ev says:

    Hmmm… Hubby bought himself a Sony e-reader, which he loves. I really haven’t looked into the Kindle, however, the pics I have seen show it to be bulkier than the sony. We are heading to Disney, by train, over the Christmas holidays.  Does anyone know the benefits/deficits between the two??

  4. 4
    ev says:

    Oh, dear. I just checked out the links. I may be hooked.

    wish37- if I wish hard enough 37 times, do you think I will get one??

  5. 5
    Lys says:

    I try and take mine everywhere, you never know when you might need it. Even bought a bigger bag to chuck it into….. I’m such a girly geek.

    I insist on taking it to the book store. Going to the bookstore is cathartic for me, if I have a shit day all I want to do is hit the book store on my way home.

    Now with the Kindle I have devised a new method to my book store madness. I browse as usual and pick up a big pile, then I plant my ass in one of the comfy chairs (usually with a tea or frappuccino) and fire up the Kindle. I’ll check each book to see if it’s available on the Kindle and if it is I’ll download the sample. If the book isn’t available on the Kindle, I will sit there and read the first few pages and make sure it’s worth bringing home.

    By getting the sample or using the save for later options I have really cut back on the money that I am spending on binge book buying. I went to the book store 3 times last weekend and I purchased 3 books I also purchased 3 books on my Kindle. I have read them all.

    This is a change from when I would go to the book store and drop 100$ + on a pile of books per visit, and the books that I purchased during those visits may not get read in the same weekend. To be honest I still have books that I purchased months ago that I have not read.

    I am really glad that I made the decision to purchase a Kindle and I can sincerely recommend it to everyone that can afford it.

  6. 6

    Thanks for the feedback.  As an ebook author I’m always interested in getting ebooks out there as easily as possible, and it’s good to know that the Kindle’s making inroads into the reading community.

    My son, who’s about to get an iPhone, asked me if I was going to get one.  I said the only thing motivating me to get an iPhone would be the ability to read ebooks on it, but if the Kindle came down in price, I think I’d rather have that.

  7. 7
    lizziebee says:

    I still covet a Sony eReader, even after all this time (between now and when I first discovered it). Although I am currently considering getting an iPodTouch (as the iPhone 3G down here is going to be heinously priced, and I am currently refusing to consider buying one) and that could possibly do me for being an eReader for now.

  8. 8
    ev says:

    Lys- that’s a great idea.

    Lizziebee- I have an ipod touch which i love. I replaced my old ipod with it. I haven’t read any books on it though. Didn’t even consider doing that, only because the screen is so small. I don’t have the iphone because I use Verizon. Hubby loves his Sony ereader. He has carpal tunnel and holding a book just hurt too much. He has spent days and hours reading ever since he got it. Catching up on what he missed.

    I like the idea of being able to dl directly to the kindle though.

  9. 9
    SB Sarah says:

    I saw a woman on the subway yesterday reading on her Sony, and that thing is SLIM. Slim like women on the Upper East Side. Shiny and glitzy, too.

    But I’m still a Kindle-Aid chugging fool because of the wireless bookstore, and the fact that if someone sends me an ebook, I can email it to my Kindle and not have to worry about connecting it to my laptop later.

  10. 10
    LeaF says:

    I’m with you Izziebee, I was all hot to trot to trade in my PDA for an iPhone 3G until it became evident Canadians were going to be submitted to financial gouging to own one. The monthly plans/operating costs are beyond heinous up here, and thats after you pay for the damn thing. Even if I could afford it – I would refuse on principle, cynical – well hell ya!!!

    As for the Kindle, sigh :( it is not available here yet. However, I’m sure it will be in the area of $75 – $100 more than the US price when released in Canada. It looks like an awsome device though and if and when it becomes affordable I will certainly jump on board. I love the smell and feel of my books, but I’m running out of house space. E-reading just makes so much more sense – especially for us avid readers who always have a book in hand…

  11. 11
    Bonnie says:

    But I’m still a Kindle-Aid chugging fool because of the wireless bookstore, and the fact that if someone sends me an ebook, I can email it to my Kindle and not have to worry about connecting it to my laptop later.

    This is it for me, too.  The Kindle is wonderful!

    Never caught anywhere without a book.  And I take mine to the pool, too.  Without the ziplock bag.

  12. 12
    Becky says:

    I want a Kindle.  Badly.  And every time I read about them here, or shop at Amazon, I get closer to buying one.  If I do, I’ll let you all know- I guarantee the price will drop again within weeks.  It’s the family curse.  We buy high and sell low.

    My current excuse for buying one is that it will save me money!  If I have instant access to most any book I want, there’s no need to stock pile books whenever I pass a bookstore.  Or the grocery store.  Or Walmart.  My TBR shelf has reached dangerous levels.  If I only buy the book when I’m ready to read it, it should cut down on the impulse purchases that I never get around to reading.

  13. 13
    Suze says:

    I’m in desperate need of an e-reader (which is a complete turnaround of how I felt about them only months ago).  I also would like an iPod and a cell phone (yeah, I’m behind the times).

    I’m boarding, trying to get the finances together to get my own place, so I don’t want to spend the TRULY heinous amounts of money Rogers wants for an iPhone, which I was fantasizing would solve all my problems (there are quite a few webapps that will make the iPhone or iPod serve as a reader, even though the screen is still small).

    But, yeah, we Canadians are once again stymied by the vast distances between cells of connectivity and a population insufficient to bring the prices down, man. I want EASY ACCESS to books! I want to download them when I find them! I want to carry my library with me when I go on vacation in a couple of weeks! I mean, I will anyway, but I’d like it to weigh less.

    So, I’m stuck with having every surface of my room covered in books:  dresser top, the floor beside my bed, under my bed, and the somewhat drooping cupboard.  My car trunk is full of books that I had to purge prematurely (damn it, I’m not finished with them!) purely because I have no space.  (I looked into storage options, but I might as well just double my flipping rent. Or live in a storage locker. Which some people are apparently doing.)

    wanted54: I wanted 54 shiny bits of technology…

  14. 14
    ev says:

    Since you can’t get the Kindle yet, I would reccommend the Sony ereader. At least it is something. And much cheaper than the Kindle, at least for now.

    I guarantee the price will drop again within weeks.  It’s the family curse.  We buy high and sell low.

    I know the feeling.

  15. 15
    ev says:

    I still can’t figure out these code thingys.

  16. 16

    Just a shameless plug to say that there are ebooks out there that can be uploaded to your Kindle with a little tweaking *cough* Cerridwen *cough*

    I love my ebookwise – the wireless access of Kindle would do my no good in Egypt anyway. I can upload books to my ebookwise via USB cable and for me the price was right. Less than $150 with the extra memory card included.  But I still wouldn’t let it go naked to the pool or beach…

  17. 17
    Swapna says:

    Ironically, I just did a piece on the Sony Reader (the main rival to the Kindle) on my blog!
    http://skrishnasbooks.blogspot.com/2008/07/sony-reader-pr-505-review.html

  18. 18
    MaryKate says:

    Thank you stimulus check! I’ll be buying a Kindle. Also, thank you Sarah, you’re the main reason I’m buying one. I’ve never seen someone as happy with a product as you seem to be with the Kindle. I also like the case above, I may need to invest in one of those.

    See? I’m putting that money right back into the economy. Go me.

  19. 19
    Jesbelle says:

    But I’m still a Kindle-Aid chugging fool because of the wireless bookstore

    This is why I totally fear to drink the Kindle-Aid. Take last night for example, I finished Meyer’s New Moon around 1:30 AM. With Kindle, I would be online purchasing Eclipse within seconds. And thus the reading-induced insomnia begins!

    However, should I a) get the job in downtown Boston or b) see a further price drop, I’m probably toast. Goodbye semi-restful night’s sleep, hello book-filled, financially unstable insomnia land!

  20. 20
    SB Sarah says:

    This is why I totally fear to drink the Kindle-Aid. Take last night for example, I finished Meyer’s New Moon around 1:30 AM. With Kindle, I would be online purchasing Eclipse within seconds. And thus the reading-induced insomnia begins!

    This is a big danger (The Kindle, not the Meyer). It doesn’t feel like “real money” when you click the cursor and say, “yes, buy please!” When I was home sick a few weeks ago, I downloaded a sample of the last book of Meg Cabot’s “Lightning Girl” series because I wanted to know how it ended (the awesome sexual tension between Jess and her dude was wrapped up with just about every loose end tied up in a big sparkly bow, which both satisfied me and made me feel like I’d eaten too much sugar) and when I saw my credit card bill I was like, “Wait, I spent what and how much at Amazon? I was sick! I wasn’t on the…oh. Kindle.” It’s seductive, that ‘Like the sample? Buy it now!’ feature.

  21. 21
    Joykenn says:

    I’m holding out til they incorporate audiobooks as well as ebooks (though I’m weakening as I read you posting—you temptress you!)  I really, really want to carry around one device.  If they could work out a wireless download of audiobooks as well as ebooks I would be a happy woman.  PLEASE let that be the next big improvement after fixing the forward buttons so you don’t hit them by mistake if you hold it halfway up (like you would a book).  The odd holding position has made me hesitate.  Can you get used to that?

  22. 22
    Shay says:

    Sarah -

    Check this out:  http://www.keepitdrycase.com/watduwal.html

    I’m still waiting for the Kindle/rubber ducky package for bath tub readers, but this looked a little more sturdy than plastic baggies.  And it even floats!  A major selling point for clutzy bathtub readers (read me).

    Shay
    President of Waterlogged Readers Society

  23. 23
    Lucy says:

    I’ve been following links around and reading reviews of the Kindle for weeks now and I am confused…Some reviewers brag about the Kindle’s ability to surf the web, handle any ebook format, send email and other reviewers say the opposite. I can’t quite figure out what exactly it can do.

    Can someone make a list of what it can do and post it? I would really appreciate it!

  24. 24
    DS says:

    Audiobooks, yes, that is what I want with my Kindle.  I have an audiobook on the Kindle right now but I haven’t tried to listen to it yet.  The one time I decided to listen to music while reading on my Kindle the battery was gone in no time.  But I had the speaker on, probably with headphones the charge would last longer.

    I was just thinking yesterday since Amazon has acquired audible they should come up with some sort of Kindle delivery system. 

    When I’m eating alone I always take my Kindle and it attracts a bit of interest most days.

  25. 25
    Sandia says:

    the worse part for me of the kindle is that if i read one book and it’s good, the ease with which i can go and get the rest from the author – even when i already have tons of other books yet to read!

  26. 26
    ev says:

    I can just see us all in a restaraunt now- me with a Kindle, hubby with his sony and daughter with a book and an ipod. Wait, except for the Kindle, we do that already (me with a book). Nevermind.

  27. 27
    ev says:

    There are many books available on the Gutenburg Project that are now avail for ipod/mp3. I don’t mind having a sep place for audio as opposed to the ebooks. the ipod doesn’t take up much room anyway. There are times when I read and listen to music, to drown out the background. I would probably do both on a plane or train. Or in the car when I am tired of the whiney people.

    Now I just have to decide which one to do. The lure of quick dl’s is a problem. And although I can’t get an employee discount at Border’s on the Sony (which bites the big one) I can get it from a fave store we buy most electronics from (and I like their coverage policies better, even for the ipod). They also have it in blue which is actually $20 cheaper and I like the contrast when reading.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com

  28. 28
    ev says:

    jesbelle- I had to laugh at the Meyer example. My daughter got the second one and got thru 4 pages of it and gave it back to me to return or she was going to throw it against the wall cause “Vampires shouldn’t sparkle!” I haven’t read them so I have no clue what she is talking about, but she doesn’t like them.

  29. 29
    J.C. Wilder says:

    I had a Sony reader and loved it. I then sold it to buy a Kindle and I’m afraid it is my new crack. I love being able to download the Kindle free books from Amazon and the sample chapters….WOOF! I hear my credit card whining now.

    So IMO, the world is just Kindle-rific.

    The best part is that I can stop buying more bookshelves. :)

  30. 30
    J.C. Wilder says:

    Oh – forgot to say that the Sony is slimmer but heavier than the Kindle.

    And my confirmation word is Heavy32 – see, even the SBTB website knowns the Sony is heavier! :)

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