OK, so it wasn’t really from Santa. My husband surprised me with this little baby for Christmas. I can always tell when he waits until the last minute to get me a present – it tends to be something I didn’t ask for and usually pretty expensive. What can I say? When the man gets desperate, he has no concept of bargain shopping. One year it was a high end digital camera, another year it was a new laptop. So this year, it’s a Kindle. Not that I’m complaining. *G*
Now, I’ll fess up that I was not a big e-book reader before. Since I’m a writer, I spend way too much time tied to the computer reading my own stuff as it is. I don’t want to read somebody else’s 400 page book on it. However, in an effort to support my writer friends who are e-book published, I have purchased many of their books and they’ve been sitting patiently on my laptop, waiting to be read. So now I can read them, right? Well, turns out not yet. Most of them I purchased in Microsoft Reader format and I soon discovered Kindle won’t read that. But a little Google research turned up this little gem: the ABC Amber LIT Converter. It’s a freeware utility (http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html) that converts Microsoft Reader LIT files to any format (PDF, HTML, CHM, RTF, HLP, DOC, and many more). I chose to go with PDF, since the Kindle supports it without having to pay Amazon to convert it to Kindle format. Lightning fast, I was able to do a batch conversion and all my LIT files became PDF files within seconds. A quick drag-and-drop and all my e-books are now on my new Kindle. However, reading a PDF file on this device leaves a little to be desired. If you open it vertically, it presents the entire page on the screen (can you say teeny, tiny text?). Unfortunately, you can’t enlarge the text with the Text Key like you can with a Kindle book. Instead, you have to rotate the book to landscape format so that it presents the page horizontally, giving you only about half the page and widening it on the screen so the text appears larger. Good enough form me.
So once I cleared that minor hurdle, I’ve had a good old time playing with my new toy. One thing I never knew is you can serf the web with it. Granted, it’s not very web graphic friendly but it works in a pinch if you have to Wikipedia or Google something right away.
Have I been converted over to e-book land? Maybe. I can already tell it’s going to be great when I finish a book and just can’t wait to read the next one in the series. No more jumping in the car to run to B&N at 10pm to buy it or waiting until it comes into the library. Speaking of which, my hubby told me he never wanted to see me with a paper book in my hands again. Then I pointed out that I get most of my books from the library *for free* so he said in that case he didn't want to see me with a newly purchased, non-library book in my hands again. I can live with that.
So far, it's been fun to use and I can definitely see the benefit of carrying numerous books on long trips (not to mention freeing up much needed shelf space in the home office – an ulterior motive on my hubby’s part, I’m sure). I’m not sure I'll risk taking it on the beach though -- I doubt these things are very sand resistant. For that, I'll still need the good, old fashioned paperback for my beach reads.