Thinking I would have a lot of spare time during my cycle around Europe this summer I thought it would be a good idea to take a book. However which book should I take? Go lightweight and thin, I would be sure to read it before I’d even got off the ferry in Spain. However go heavy and fat, I would probably resent the extra weight the whole cycle, especially if I didn’t finish it. I needed a book that would be light to carry but that would fulfil my need to read. Luckily, as some of you may have guessed, my answer came with an Amazon Kindle.
The Kindle was brought out by Amazon in 2007. It is a superb piece of engineering and solves many problems. I know there is a whole debate as to having a real book and turning pages vs. reading off a screen. I think both have their pros, I myself thought I would never be converted to reading off a screen. However I must stress, don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.
The Kindle uses a clever ‘E-ink’ display which reflects light like ordinary paper, so that your eyes don’t tire like they would reading a backlit screen –like a computer. I found amazing how similar to reading an actual book it is, I actually find I can read easier for longer on a kindle than I can a normal book. I think this is due to the kindle’s low weight and also you don’t have to strain your eyes as you can change the font or size of the font. You can also change the margins and if you are feeling really tired some versions will read the book to you, just like an audiobook! When I first tried the kindle I found all these features amazing; I feel that they really add to the reading and make it easier and more fun.
One of the best things about the kindle I think though is the ‘kindle store’, containing millions of books and easily accessible from every device so that you can purchase books at any time. It is a feature which makes kindle stand out from all other e-readers. In a similar way that Apple stood out with the iTunes store and beat all their other competitors. A great feature on kindle is that if you are reading a book on your kindle app, on your phone, but then continue to read on your kindle the pages automatically sync so you can just carry on where you left off. A simple but very effective feature I think.
What does all this have to do with adventuring though? Well as I was saying I took a kindle with me around Europe. My brother was kind enough to lend me his. I think it is an ideal adventure gadget as unlike many other things you don’t really have to charge it! A full charge will last you a month on the standard kindle, 2 months if you have the new ‘paper white’. This is super as you don’t have to bother with charging you can just read. Also some kindles come with built in 3G, this is where they are onto a winner! A battery life of up to two months with the added bonus of having 3G coverage to download more books, send emails and surf the internet. This 3G coverage is subscription free and available in many countries. An absolute winner if you are travelling and need to update your blog, send an email or book a hotel. A bloggers travelling companion that can almost do it all!
I highly recommend a kindle, especially with the most basic model from only £69 and books on the kindle store being so cheap you will make your money back in no time. You really can’t lose out.