Kindle and the future of e-books

If one were to ask me to name the most used app in my iphone other than Facebook, it would be the Kindle E-reader from Amazon for the iphone. I am an avid reader and I make an effort to read on a regular basis. I even surf and shop around Amazon from time to time to keep myself updated on what are the hottest books to read at any point of time during the year. Previously, I would either borrow from the library or buy the physical book at Kinokuniya bookstore at Orchard. This year however I am not going to buy any novels at all. Instead, if I want to read a particular book, I would get it digitally and in mere seconds from the Amazon Kindle store. I even terminated my membership from Kinokuniya just last month and decided not to renew it for 2011.Here’s why.

Purchasing books on Amazon is painless and instantaneous.

Granted, the kindle device is relatively inexpensive and a great thing to carry around with you. Its small, light and you dont have to charge the device in excess of a month before the batteries run out. It looks great whether you are indoors or outdoors and the screen looks like a printed page. Last but not least, you can carry an entire library with you at all times. But the Kindle app for the iphone does exactly the same thing. I was swayed in reading my books purchased in this format because buying a book painless and instantaneous. I dont have to travel all the way down town, stop at Orchard MRT and head to Takashimaya to get my book. Now, I can just switch on my computer, open Firefox and type; and immediately i can start shopping and searching for the books i want to buy. Purchasing is super easy. Just create an account, tag your account to your credit/debit card and almost immediately when you see a book you are interested in buying, you simply click the “one click buy” option and the book will immediately be delivered to your iphone Kindle app. The app in your iphone automatically syncs with your amazon account whenever you open the app and any books purchased will immediately be downloaded to your phone. You can re-download the books anytime and anywhere because Amazon keeps a record of all the books  that you purchased. So if you are changing phones or upgrading to another new version of iphone in the future, simply re-download the app and it will sync your account and all the books will be restored back. It is that painless and simple. Each book is a file and rarely exceed 1mb and you can keep thousands of books in your iphone’s vast space.

Not sure if the book is the one for you? Most e-books out there on sale have sample pages in which you can download for free before actually buying the book itself. So if you are not sure if you like the book or not, simply download the sample pages before making your purchase.

It’s cheaper than buying the physical book.

A typical paperback novel at Kinokuniya can cost you anything between SGD 17 to SGD21, while a hardcover can easily fetch you SGD40 to SGD60. Discounting the hardcover pricing, at Amazon, an e-book costs anywhere between USD7.99 to USD9.99. In today’s weakened US currency, you are looking at a direct conversion of anything between SGD10 to SGD13 for a book. That is considered significant savings already. Not only that, Amazon also sells classics at absolutely no extra cost. Have the sudden urge to read Mount of Monte Cristo, or Sherlock Holmes? Amazon has an extensive list of classics that are all free to read and when you  click the one click buy option, no amount is charged to your credit/debit card.What is even better is that there are no shipping costs in which you must pay, because everything is digital.

Amazon’s collection of e-books are extensive

Think that the collection of e-books are simply a collection of old books? Wrong! Their collection of e-books totals more than 1 million titles. Most e-books are released at the same time when the physical copy of the book is launched so you are never left out as you wait for your next installment written by your favourite authors. Most books are also competitively priced as well, sometimes favouring the E-book versions in terms of pricing. The e-book versions usually much cheaper than what you would get when you buy a newly launched hardcover edition of the book.

Travel light, save the environment
Granted, you may not get the physical book itself, but consider this: For me I like to travel light. I never like the idea of carrying my book wherever I go no matter the size of it. The iphone itself is small, compact and fits in your pocket. It is already a great device to do so many things a smartphone can do. What is the harm of treating your phone as a book to read while you are, say, commuting, or waiting for someone somewhere? In no time at all you can open the app in your phone and your book is there waiting to be read. Having a book to read without the actual book itself means that less trees are being cut to create a book. So in essence you are saving the environment in the long run. Considering the carbon footprint of creating an iphone and a book, the iphone definitely have a higher carbon footprint. But the more e-books you read, the less trees are cut and when less trees that are cut, soon you would be emitting lower carbon footprint in the long run.

iPhone’s Retinal Display shows text just like a printed page

Now some of you might be wondering, wouldn’t reading text for extended periods of time on your small iPhone screen be strenuous to your eyes? Well personally, it doesn’t. With the iPhone’s Retinal display, the texts shown on screen are just like printed pages off a book. The high resolution screen means that the words are sharp and crisp. Additionally, the Kindle app for iPhone have several setting in which you can select to make you reading experience more comfortable. Firstly you can set the size of the font that you are most comfortable. I prefer to set at a larger font so that I don’t have to strain my eyes too much and you can even set the screen colour. You can either set white background with black fonts or black backgrounds with white fonts and even in sepia mode. I prefer having a black background with white fonts as it is easier on the eyes. The app is robust, allowing you arrange your books by title or author with the picture of the book cover itself. Loading of the app is almost instantaneous and when choosing the book, there is no loading screen at all. Instead it will immediately go straight to the page that you last read. It has copy, highlight, and bookmark, functions, allowing you to take note of certain passages while you are doing research or quoting a sentence or two from the book.

Finally the app is free on the itunes store

Yes, its free. You can get the app at no cost on the itunes store and using your computer or notebook you can immediately start browsing for books free or paid ones in the store at your own convenience, 24/7.

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