We keep hearing and reading about how electronic books (or e-books, as the tech pundits like to call them) will ultimately replace paper books. Well, that might not happen for a while yet, especially given the price difference between e-books and real books and the availability of titles, but what we are certainly sure of is that the e-book reader is inch perfect for the traveller who likes to read. In particular, we would vote for the Kindle, which is by far the best e-book reader we have seen and has actually made us (well, me, at least) stop visiting book stores to a large extent. Here are seven reasons why we think that if you like books and travelling, you should be picking up (and packing) a Kindle.
1. Portability: if you are the type that likes to read several books at the same time and spend hours figuring which books to take for a particular trip, the Kindle is perfect. You can literally carry hundreds of books in a device that weighs about as much as a regular paperback.
2. Availability: You can buy a book, anywhere and at any time, as long as your network works. So you do not really have to bid a tearful farewell to buying books when you are on your travels, especially if you are going to one of those places where bookstores are a bit of a rarity.
3. Read across devices: You can read books that you purchase on the Kindle, not just on the Kindle but on devices that support the Kindle software. So if you really do not feel up to carrying your Kindle along, you can read all your books that are on it on your iPhone, iPod touch, BlackBerry or Android device just as well. You can even pick up reading from where you left off on the Kindle and when you return, just start from where you left on your device on the Kindle. It is all synchronised.
4. Newspapers and magazines: One of the biggest problems many people face while travelling is getting their newspapers and magazines in the morning. Well, if you subscribe to them on the Kindle, they will be delivered to your device wirelessly, as long as you have a network connection. Of course, you will not be able to get local editions of newspapers on your Kindle, but still…
5. Long lasting: Well, e-books might not smell of fresh paper but they are sure more rugged than their paper counterparts, as long as you keep the e-reader well-wrapped up (the Kindle has an excellent jacket). The binding won’t break, there are no dog-ears, no yellowing of pages…an e-book is always new.
6. Great battery life and connectivity: Yes, we know that you need no batteries to read books, but the Kindle’s battery life often lasts easily more than a week – enough for most trips. As far as connectivity goes, it actually has a browser in it that lets you access the Internet, which can be sometimes very useful, even though the browser is on the slow side. You can even tweet what you are reading!
7. More than an e-book reader: Not too many people know it, but you can read a number of kinds of documents on the Kindle, including PDFs and MS Word documents. So you can actually carry your office documents and files and even other books in PDF format on the Kindle and read them without any problems. You can even play music on the Kindle, have books read out to you, play a few games and view pictures. Now, how is that for versatility.
Yes, we know the paper book brigade will loyally defend traditional books, but we cannot help but feel that the Kindle does have its benefits, especially for those who travel.