Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Coveting Literacy

There are a lot of posts out there right now about how the current economy is making people less covetous and materialistic. Living overseas away from many of the “things” that make consumerism so rampant, I have found myself purchasing less “stuff” and focusing on what’s important in life – like my family and health.

Maintaining my mental health has always been important to me. Yet I frequently let it fall to the wayside in favour of all those pesky things that arise every day under the auspices of “life.” To battle this descent into reality, I attempt to keep certain rituals in my life sacrosanct. In addition to blogging, the one thing I know is key to my sanity is reading. I have spent a fortune on books in my lifetime and will read virtually anything I can get my hands on.

One of the worst parts of living overseas is my inability to purchase books as soon as they’re released. I usually have to wait until either I go home in the summer, Hubby goes to the UK, or we have generous mules friends come to visit.

All of which brings us to my new obsession – the Kindle. I want one of these so badly, it shames me on many levels. Not the least of which is that I have been so anti-Kindle for so long. I love books. I love how they feel and smell. I love curling up with a good book in bed and have been rather militant in my condescending manner toward e-books. “You can’t curl up with a computer!”

But I want to! I really, really do!

I want to be able to download the latest book the day it comes out rather than waiting six months until I go home. I want to pack a slim, lightweight device rather than four heavy books every time I go away on vacation.

Sadly, Amazon does not want me to have my heart’s desire. In addition to the ridiculous price tag for the device ($359 ) and the books ($9.99 and upwards for new releases), is the simple fact that they refuse to ship the Kindle outside of the United States. Because they hate me.

In the States, people purchase an e-book and it downloads wirelessly directly to their device. People who have Kindles overseas, download the book to their computers, and then upload them to their devices. For this and (I assume) other reasons, Amazon won’t ship overseas.

So now, I have to wait until a willing mule friend visits Cairo and can bring me this necessity for living. I know I shouldn’t want “things” and the Kindle is hardly a life or death purchase but I can’t help it! I want to read on my next vacation without having to pay excess baggage fees. *sigh*

Any other Kindle users out there? Any Kindle haters?

32 comments:

Jennifer H said...

I have played with my mom's Kindle and like it a lot. The ability to search within text and look up words on the fly is awesome for a non-linear reader like me.

My only complaint is that it seems to be limited to a single font for everything. For some reason, typefaces are really important to me in reading (I'm sorry, text in the New York Times just should not look the same as text in a paperback novel). So I will totally get one as soon as they have better font rendering and/or PDF support. I'll always love the physicality of books with pages, but I do really like the idea of carrying lots of different reading material all in one portable package!

Bluefish said...

I don't know what Kindle is, but I'd love to visit Egypt one day!

Juls said...

I, too...want a kindle. That's horrible that they won't ship outside the US! Not even Amazon... Barnes & Noble?!? Wow- that's crazeeness!

LadyFi said...

As Amazon don't ship Kindles outside the US, I haven't really thought about it... Still, I'm hoping for an iPhone and I think/hope that it is possible to download e-books to it...

Protege said...

Ok, I must be very ignorant, I have no idea what "Kindle" is, but I am off now to do a search.;)))(the link from your blog to kindle did not work for me).
But I think it must have something to do with reading.;)) I agree with you; there is nothing like curling up with a good book - my preference is in front of a fireplace in winter. Life is all about simple and small pleasures.;))

Nicole said...

Since I a) think it's still too expensive b) can't lay my hands on it c) have a slow Internet connection and d) they probably wouldn't allow downloads in Eastern EU countries
I haven't even considered it.
Heck I can't even use their offer for MP3s :(

Casey said...

Booo! That sucks. I get so ticked when people don't ship to APO, so I can only imagine how magnified the issues is for a true overseas address. If it makes you feel any better they won't ship it to an APO either!

Kat said...

I'm ordering one next week when I'm in the states! Ordering 2 really wouldn't be a problem so if you are looking for a mule, I can bring it back on July 2.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like The Kindle may be the solution to your father's latest craze of reading/listening to his iPod. His complaint is that he would rather see the words and be able to 'flip backwards" to check on passages...The Kindle sounds like the answer.
When is your bday? :)
merthyrmum

Gaston Studio said...

Being a book lover all my life, I was surprised at easily I fell in love withg the Kindle and got one just 6 months ago. I love it and feel I'm saving trees by downloading my books now instead of buying hardbacks.

If Kindle had been available when I lived in Cairo, I'd of had one for an absolute certainty; couldn't find anything decent to read in the 80s!

Buy one, you'll love it!!
Jane

bitsofeverything said...

I totally want one too! And I like the idea that I won't have to pack books anymore and can get the WSJ in a second...nice!

bitsofeverything said...

Oh - and I don't think Amazon will ship any electronics overseas - I tried to do that with a camera and they wouldn't ship it. Don't know why.

DiPaola Momma said...

Oh I ran into traveler haters in Italy last summer too.. NETFLIX you suck! As for the kindle.. well see I have this fettish for the smell of books...sick huh? I just couldn't bring myself to buy one of those things. I know, I know it's very tech backwards of me. I could save a few trees, be green..yada yada. But I heart my books. I got your comment about the book club I'm doing this summer. How about I send you some of the books from the list? When I get it all done peruse it and pick a few. I'll send you paper backs (used if I can get em cheap) and if they are only hard back I'll beg the God's of materialism for more stratch and send what I can. Will that work? I want ya to join in the fun!

Evy said...

I have always been adamantly against e-books for the same reasons you list - I love the feel and the smell of a book, I love snuggling in bed with a book before bed. Even my husband is very disappointed with me, because I refuse to read his work-in-progress book - I want it printed out, on paper, which is a waste of paper, but I just can't make myself read on the computer.

I also have the same problem as you - I live in Bulgaria, and Amazon refuses to ship anything nice and interesting. I have to rely on my hubby's sister in the US to buy thins for me and ship them.

I don't know if I am for or against Kindle, but it really looks like a nice little device. Now, if they would make it so that everyone can use it...

The Lucky Mrs. T said...

I too have looked at the kindle. But, they keep coming out with newer versions, and (I'm sure) they will continue to refine it as they progress in versions.

Can someone stateside order it for you and ship it that way?

I have a kindle application for my iPhone but have never used it. I believe I can download any books available on kindle to my phone. I am sure you could do the same - or possibly to an iPod Touch. The price might be a little better. It would be worth checking into.

Best of luck, and I would love to hear your review when you get it!
Over from SITS. :)

Kat said...

I would be happy to have it sent here and then ship it to you. But it looks like you might have one in your hands in July.

I don't have one...I love the idea of it...but honestly, I don't buy a lot of books. I get most of mine from the library. I just can't justify the cost. Yet. Though I keep thinking of ways to justify it :-)

I have a friend that wanted one...and then just ended up buying a mini computer. She said the size is similar to the kindle...the price is similar...and she can still get online and do other applications as well...

the ungourmet said...

I have never seen this but it looks really cool! My husband would freak out! He is a high tech junkie!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I can only be on the computer so long before it hurts my eyes. so I am still in the I love to hold a book camp. But I can totally see why you would want one.

Roxane said...

I'd never heard of it before! But if there is ever a book you want or need i'm sure we could coordinate something :)
That being said I feel a bit old school about books thought. I like them all on a book shelf, dusty, and between book ends. Of course mine are piled up on the floor, but in a perfect world there would be book ends!

Jacki said...

I am not quite sure about using one...I love to read, but I like to hold the books in my hand.

Although, I bet they would be perfect for using on airplanes. Doesn't take up much room at all.

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm just happy when people say they still read. As a writer, it's music to my ears.

Sturgmom said...

I'm anti-kindle, but I completely undetstand why you would want one. I still don't get what the problem is with shipping overseas. Dang Amazon! Have you checked ebay?

Betty said...

I guess you missed my post about it here: http://bettywiens.blogspot.com/2009/05/newest-gadget.html

It´s on my wishlist for my birthday/Christmas/Mother´s Day and whatever other occasion there is.... :)

Jemma Ruby said...

I read your post and just had to find a way to get this to you- go to DHL now!! They have a new service that they just launched and they deliver stuff rom the USA to wherever you are in the world for minimum cost. In the UAE it is something like 60 AED per half kilo so it cant be that bad for Cairo. I am going to be a poor woman now due to this service, I tell you. DHL easyshop, I checked and they have it in egypt- th kindle can be yours without a mule in just a few short weeks!!
http://www.borderlinx.com/dhl/eg/en/index.html

zelzee said...

You lost me at Kindle.......I have no idea what one is!

I think it is something I will use for a few months and end up putting it in the garage sale..... sorta like my juicer and treadmill.

shopannies said...

egypt would be so cool to visit one day

Noah's Mommy said...

I'm so surprised they won't ship to you...that's not nice...I hope you get one soon....thanks so much for stopping by on my feature day over at SITS...I'm so happy you did....

Grand Pooba said...

What do ya mean you can't cuddle up with the computer! My labtop is my teddy bear, I can't sleep without him ;)

Connie said...

I asked my geek, I mean, my husband, and he says that in the US, it makes sense to have a Kindle for the way you can download books... Can't do that overseas :p I have an older Sony PRS-505 book reader, with over 230 books on it right now, and use Calibre (a free/shareware eBook manager (it's wonderful!). My husband has an Iliad book reader, which is way too much for me... I just want to read, not launch the next space shuttle. The Iliad would not ship to APO, the Sony shipped easily... from J&R Electronics or Amazon.. we forget which.
As for buying books... you can use, but do not need, Amazon.. there are so many (legally and not so) free books out there, and more and more reasonably priced for sale. Sure, some of the free stuff is old, but I am so behind :p Even big authors are getting in on it too - like CJ Cherryh, she's planning on selling her out of print books as eBooks in future.

Now all I need is more free time to sit and read :D

Brenda said...

I wonder if I would like Kindle. I kind of think I would, but I am waiting for the price to come down. Like the ipod, I think eventually it will be cheaper to own and use one. Then I don´t have to cart around as many books! And its small enough to read in bed, thats what matter to me :)

Jeve (aka John and Steve) said...

My partner LOVES his Kindle. He will take it wherever he goes.

Saw this via Best Posts of the Week. Mine was featured too!

John
http://johnandstevearehavingababy.blogspot.com

Tiffany said...

I LOVE my Kindle! I've had it here in Cairo for about a year (it's the first-generation one) and I absolutely adore it. Since it doesn't have a backlight it's nothing like a computer screen and it's BRILLIANT having hundreds of books with me wherever I go. I'm a voracious reader and having it here has saved my brain - I just download the books from my laptop and then transfer them with USB. I've never once regretted buying it and I'm very very cheap. And there are tons of free books out there!