Yes, Tammy bought me an Amazon Kindle for my birthday!
I was one of those people who swore I would never give up books for an e-book reader. Reading books off a computer screen?...Painful! (Albeit though, far less painful than watching "reality" TV shows)
But then a good friend of mine (thank you Francis) showed my wife and I his Kindle and Tammy got it into her head that this is something I would like. And wouldn't you know, my birthday surprise was a 3G Amazon Kindle that arrived just in time to take with me on vacation to Italy.
First of all let me say, the days of lugging 3-4 different books on vacation are over. My slim little 8.5 ounce "mistress" weighs less than your average paperback and can hold up to 3500 books. In addition, the 3G wireless is free for the lifetime of the product which means if I'm stuck in an area with no wi-fi, I can nearly always access the web through my Kindle. Granted the browser is a little clumsy but it works in a pinch.
Also, you know when you are taking off and landing on an airplane and they ask you to "close all electronic and portable devices until the pilot says its ok to use them" (like listening to U2 on my 4 gig iPod Nano is somehow going to flummix the state of the art navigational system onboard a Boeing 747) . Well most flight attendants don't quite know what I'm doing and continue to let me read my Kindle as they remind the guy next to me to close his laptop.
I just got my first magazine subscription on the Kindle as well and although critics mention the loss of perusing many articles at once, I find the lack of peripheral distraction causes me to read the articles more thoroughly. Reading The New Yorker on my Amazon Kindle while drinking an espresso at Starbuck's; yes, I've truly become pathetic! :)
Couple other quick points:
- the ease of shopping: When we were in Tuscany we started discussing the book "Under a Tuscan Sun." around the kitchen table. Rather than think that I have to pick that up when I'm next in a bookstore, I went online with my Kindle, found the book in the "Kindle Store" and without leaving the kitchen table, I had a copy in about 45 seconds.
- I'm just reading more! I've always been a big reader but now that I've got my lightweight Kindle with me whether I'm on the subway, waiting for a ferry, or riding a bus, you will usually catch me reading.
- The "e-ink" that the Kindle screen uses is so crisp and "booklike" when I get to the end of a page I instictivly reach up to turn the page before realizing I just need to press the button.
- Many of the classics written before 1950 are available for free and I've already downloaded a number of them onto my virtual bookshelf. Anything from Shakespeare, to the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, or the writing of Charles Finny; they're all there for the taking.
For me though, I like to read and I'm lovin' on my Kindle.