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I originally purchased my Amazon Kindle solely for travel: as much as I love the feel of physical books, it just isn’t practical to carry several books in my suitcase. I figured I’d “make do” with the Kindle while traveling to save valuable space and weight in my carry on.
These days, I have my entire book collection with me at all times (it holds up to 1,000 books) and yet it weighs less than a single paperback. I can read to my heart’s delight on flights and bus rides, when I’m up late from jet lag, or while I’m sunbathing on the beach and not worry about running out of things to read. Since I can finish three or more books in a week, that’s not something to be taken lightly.
Sure enough, the Amazon Kindle is perfect for travel. The built-in backlight is a traveler’s dream. Because of it, I’ve read late at night on camping trips even without electricity and in hostels where fellow travelers are trying to sleep. I’ve stopped worrying about waking my husband from bright lights or the sound of page turns even when he’s mere inches away. Plus, I’ve never run out of battery, even on ultra long flights (unlike with laptops and tablets which die after a few hours).
But the real reason I love my Kindle is because I’m reading for free now. I’ve found hundreds of great e-books available to borrow from my local library and often check out half a dozen before a trip. Unlike physical books, I can return books along the way, download new ones as I go, and I never have to worry about losing or ruining them.
Although my library has a decent selection of ebooks, I’ve supplemented this with free Kindle books through my Amazon Prime subscription. Each month, Prime members are offered one free book (to own) through their Kindle First program and one free book (to borrow) through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. I’ve also earned free Amazon kindle ebooks by selecting No Rush Shipping when shopping for other Amazon items. Combined with always free ebooks and limited-time free ebooks, you may never need to buy a book again.
My Kindle has paid for itself now that I’m not spending money at used book stores or garage sales (and especially not buying brand new books!). However, if you’re not ready to buy yet another travel gadget, you can still take advantage of free Kindle books by downloading the Kindle app to read on your existing phone or tablet. I find the glare on my iPad overbearing for reading, but it does work in a pinch.
I personally use the Kindle Paperwhite, which serves me well. I’ve heard the Kindle Voyage is a worthy upgrade, but I haven’t yet splurged. In either case, I’d recommend purchasing the special offers version to save $20. The offers themselves aren’t intrusive since they only appear on the lock screen and not while you’re reading.
Little known fact: you can actually remove special offers from your device later if you find them bothersome. In your Amazon account, go to Manage Your Devices and edit your Special Offers to “unsubscribe.” You’ll pay a one time $20 fee and you won’t see any more offers. (Note: you don’t actually get a new Kindle).
I read exclusively on my Kindle now and haven’t bought a book — real or electronic — in over a year. Some of my favorite travel books are in my Amazon store, though I’m sure there are still many more to discover (please share yours!).
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Share your thoughts!
If you’re a bibliophile, do you use an e-reader or do you still prefer real books? What influences your preference?
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