Sunday, May 9, 2010
A few words about Kindle for iPhone
I have created two additional rules for the What's in a Name 3 Reading Challenge: First, the books I'm reading are all non-fiction. Second, they must all be available on Kindle. I do not actually own a Kindle -- frankly, I am the kind of person who has trouble finding her keys 2 minutes after I've walked in the door. I was worried that if I did invest in an e-reader, it would just be another thing to find every time I finally found a few minutes to read.
But I do have an iPhone, and because I have kids, a husband and a job, I can usually be counted on to have my phone with me when I’m wandering around. So my husband, the person who is in charge of all technology issues in our home (he is the only guy, after all) mentioned I could get an app for the iPhone that turned it into an e-reader. I clicked, and downloaded. Let me say, I’m glad I did.
Kindle for iPhone is a very powerful app. Once you register your iPhone on the Amazon site, you can purchase a Kindle title and have it on your iPhone in less than a minute. The immediate gratification aspect of the app is amazing – but can also be a bit dangerous. Kindle titles are generally cheaper than paper titles, but $9.99 a piece (on average) still adds up!
The best features of Kindle for iPhone are linked to the iPhone itself. First, it is back lit. That means I can read myself to sleep without having to turn off the lights – might sound silly, but it really is a pleasant feature. It’s also great for long plane rides, since you don’t have to keep your light on to read, annoying those passengers who (curse them) can actually get to sleep on a plane – that is a group I will never understand.
Second, I almost always have my iPhone with me. So time waiting for my children to finish whatever activity they are currently building their kid-resumes with (dance class, swimming, dance class, piano lessons, dance class – you get the idea) has become a few minutes of reading time. It’s changed my attitude about idling in the car, that’s for sure! Sometimes I almost look forward to being kept waiting – at least when I’m in the middle of a good book. And that’s great for everyone.
Now, Kindle for iPhone isn’t perfect. The screen is small, which means you have to tap the screen often to turn “e-pages.” It doesn’t bother me, but I can see where it could be a pain. And for some content it’s just plain awkward. The book I’m reading right now is illustrated with old maps of the Indian subcontinent. Yes, you can expand the pictures on the iPhone, but looking at Goa without being able to see its position relative to Delhi is certainly not what the author intended. The pages with recipes have also been reduced so that the recipes fit on one iPhone “page” (they must look like illustrations in the hardcover version), rendering them a mousetype that is difficult to enjoy.
Those issues aside, I am really grateful for the Kindle for iPhone app. I am a professor, and do a lot of reading as part of my research, but I haven’t set aside much time for pleasure reading in the past couple of years. The iPhone has allowed me to steal back a little time for something I always enjoyed – getting lost in a good book!