A few weeks ago, a my coworker Andi asked me if I had tried out the Kindle Reader for my iPhone.
“I haven’t. Why?”
She had downloaded it on her iPod Touch and was in love with the application as it combined yet one more passion on the device – reading. Turned out Andi got hooked after talking to her cubicle neighbor Amy. Amy is a sales person surrounded by IT people who can’t be sold anything. So, I figured either she was a much better sales person that I thought she was – or maybe she was onto something.
Since it was a free app, I downloaded it on my iPhone and bought a cheap book. Given the screen size of my iPhone, I felt like the world’s fastest reader; I was turning pages constantly given how few words there were on the screen. Overall, I found it okay – not spectacular, but doable in a pinch.
Funny how you can eat words sometimes. I started using it constantly. In fact, when I was in Seattle on vacation, I didn’t even bring a book because I had on loaded on my iPhone. And, when I finished reading it one afternoon, I downloaded a new one within seconds. I was clearly hooked.
Friday, we were having an impromptu hall conversation about the new iPhone. Amy, Hans (the service guy), Andi, and myself. Three of us had iPhones leaving Andi to rant about how she is getting one (her husband doesn’t know it yet.) Hans has a first generation iPhone so will be upgrading. Amy is a geek at heart – and has owned every version they have released to date – and isn’t stopping now. I made the comment that getting the software upgrade was all I really wanted, so I’d be keeping mine. Amy made the comment that going from the 3G iPhone to the latest one wasn’t going to be the leap it was with the Kindle.
I had forgotten that Amy had a Kindle.
I tried not begging to see it. But, I’m surrounded by geeks – the other did for me. I got to play with it – and was in love. I wanted one.
And then Amy said something that struck a cord with me. Actually it was two things. The first is that she no longer has the book storage problem at home. She always has her library at her fingertips where ever she is. In fact, she downloaded a book recently right as they were closing the doors of the airplane. She had realized a minute before that she was almost done with her current book. And yes, it takes seconds to download. So, that was her first comment that resinated with me.
The second one was much more powerful. She said “I like to think that my reading habit has less environmental impact using this.”
Fuck. She used the environment in her argument. Now she had me thinking.
When I was relating the story to Garbanzo later that evening, I made that statement. He raised his eyebrow and said “how, less paper?”
Oh, no – it is greater than that. We buy most of my books online. So, that’s no cardboard for packaging, no paper invoices, no shipping which means some minor carbon reductions there. And, the mailman will be happier. And, if they sell fewer books – then it starts having impact on paper, transportation to warehouses, etc.
Okay – I can see why she thinks more environmentally friendly when you start tracing it all back. Damn her sales person skills!
Early Saturday morning, I looked at the Kindle on Amazon. I ruled out the huge one. I wasn’t going to drop that kind of money on it. I looked at the latest of the 6-inch ones. That plus carrying case was still almost $400. That talked me out of it quickly. I started looking at the used first generation Kindles, but there wasn’t that much of a price difference, in my opinion – not enough for me to buy old technology.
I decided that maybe with the economic downturn that there might be a chance someone was selling one on Craig’s List. And, there was. A brand new, in the box, latest generation Kindle + carrying case for $100 less than Amazon. I sent email right away.
I heard from the guy at 10am. He had gotten this one as a gift – but had already purchased the new, larger Kindle. He thought he would make someone happy by selling it cheaper than they could get it at Amazon.
We met him at a Starbucks soon after. He told me he had lots of inquiries but most of the emails were rude, except for mine. That’s why I got the first shot at it. Damn, good manners and properly constructed emails paid off.
It was indeed, new in the box. He had everything in original packaging with most of the stuff never having left the box. I played with it. He brought his larger one so that I could compare. I appreciated the fact he did that because it affirmed my feelings that the smaller size was what I wanted. And, I walked out with a Kindle of my very own. I should mention that I was still going back and forth about it – but the evironmental and storage of books arguments had won Garbanzo over as well. I have a LOT of books.
By the time we were halfway home, I had the Kindle re-registered to me and was reading the book I was midway through reading on my iPhone. I used it off and on all day yesterday and am definitely in love with it. While I like everything on one device (the iPhone), I definitely think this warrants a second device.
Oh, and I should mention that if anyone ever has a question about technology that is coming out like the latest iPhone or Kindle, feel free to ask. If I haven’t researched it myself, chances are I know someone who has one….and I’ve played with it. My approach with technology is less sales more application which means I won’t always say you should have one. (Hell, I can create a list of people who have blackberry devices who don’t need them.) I don’t believe in what we call “electronic jewelry” or having technology just to flaunt it. Anyway – just thought I would throw that out there.