I Love My Kindle

Over many years of traveling together, Kenny and I have highly (overly?) engineered our packing and our travel gear collection. Packing for the fall actually involved very little new gear acquisition – we’re at the point now where we walk around REI and can’t find anything that we need (a true sign that we’ve lived in Seattle too long?) But one of the items we did pick up, and which I now cannot live without, was the Kindle 2.

The most obvious reason that I love the Kindle is the space that it saves– it’s much easier to slide a Kindle into my bag than trying to cram in 10 or more books. And now that all of the Lonely Planets are available on the Kindle, we don’t even need to carry bulky guide books (and while we were on the fence before, this move puts us firmly on the LP side of the Lonely Planet v. Rough Guide debate). It’s also much easier to find the books that we want in the Kindle Store than it was in Indian bookstores. And of course purchasing and then downloading a book instantly certainly beats waiting two days for it to arrive in the mail.

I also love the huge selection of public domain books, which is still most of what I’m reading on the Kindle. I feel like I’ve been reading The Count of Monte Cristo for months… I was also able to purchase much of our recommended reading list for our AJWS assignments in Thailand.

I have only a couple of complaints:

  • While the battery life is really quite good, I never have any idea how much battery I have left. The battery meter seems to jump from 50% down to empty quite suddenly.
  • Availability of books is still not as good as it could be (although of course much better than availability of non-best-seller English books in Indian bookstores).

So far, sharing one Kindle has worked out pretty well; we’ll see how we do in Thailand…

LP available on the Kindle!

One thing that takes up space (and weight) in the pack are guidebooks. Before we left the states, we searched for Kindle versions of any guidebook for India/Nepal to no avail. Tonight when we were online waiting for today’s torrential downpour to end we noticed that Lonely Planet has just published Kindle versions of most (all?) of their guidebooks, including the new version of Nepal that was published a few weeks ago (after we had already left the States; we have the previous version from 2006). It looks like our local travel guru Rick Steves is starting to Kindle-ize his catalog as well.

Of course, the Kindle version may be of limited use in the field – a paperback LP may mark you as a tourist, but it certainly doesn’t attract any extra attention…