Your Book Reviewer Vacations With The Kindle

This is the first of a three-part review series.  I’m going to be telling you about more than just a book.  I’m going to share my experiences with a Kindle eReader, a couple of books about karma and how they  impacted my recent vacation, business and my life.  So fasten your seat belts because your brain cells will be shifting during this read.

The Kindle 3 With Wi-Fi – Great for Casual Reading, Not So Great for Referencing

Since I’ve been doing a little more travel this year, I decided to take the plunge and purchase a Kindle.  I wasn’t sure if I’d like the Kindle or not, but I was committed to doing some reading on the plane and on the beach, so I picked up the Kindle 3 Wi-Fi version.

I love the physical action of reading, flipping through pages, taking notes in margins or on those first empty pages of the book, so I wasn’t quite sure how I would react to a Kindle reading experience.  But I was determined to give it a try because the mere thought of carrying three or four hardcover books with me didn’t seem appealing at all.

A Tour of Some Basic Features

Amazon’s Kindle made a brilliant first impression with me when my Kindle arrived literally ready to buy books.  If you purchase your Kindle from Amazon directly, you will receive a device that is personalized, registered and connected to your existing Amazon account.  This alone made me happy to have purchased this from Amazon instead of elsewhere. I’m sure it’s not hard to register and connect the Kindle, but Amazon understands that if you buy a Kindle, the first thing you want to do is download something and read it!  Way to show your customers some love, Amazon!

One of the great features of the Wi-Fi Kindle is its ability to click over to the Kindle store and purchase books with just the click of the button.  For an avid reader, this can get financially dangerous!

Amazon has always been known for its strong upsell — er, recommendation features, and the Kindle 3 does a wonderful job of that.  When I finished reading my first book, the Kindle gave me a list of books by the same author that I might like, as well as books on similar subjects.

Another feature I love is the ability to email and convert PDF files into a Kindle format.  Amazon will give you a unique email address.  Then whenever you want to convert a document to the Kindle, just email the document as an attachment with the words “convert” in the subject line.  And magically, within a few minutes, your book, document or report is now on your Kindle ready to read.

I was hoping to receive my review copies of books on the Kindle and save some trees, but I’m not so sure if that’s a good idea.  Overall, I have to say that I very much missed the ability to ruffle through pages and quickly go forward and backward within a book.  There is a “clipping” feature that will allow you to highlight and save clips and notes for the book you’re reading.  I used that a little bit, but it didn’t compare to the physical act of dog-earing the page for future reference.  The Kindle is designed to “get you lost in the book” (that’s a quote from Kindle).  I love how they turned what was a negative for me into a positive for someone else.

I did love the fact that I had every bit of reading material I could want available in a very portable and thin package and that I was able to purchase books on the fly.  For portable casual reading, I was satisfied.  For the purposes of reviewing books and keeping track of pages and quotes, I wasn’t.

Books, Singles and Guilty Pleasures All in One Place

And now, for the book choosing portion of my vacation.  Armed with a Kindle and a Wi-Fi connection, I was ready to start purchasing, unencumbered by the bulk and weight of physical books.  The possibilities were endless!  Since I was going on vacation, I decided to choose books that would inspire me and give me food for thought, not just action items and practical how-to’s.

With the Kindle 3, you can also listen to audiobooks and MP3 files.  So I decided to grab Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers using the Audible application.

Of course, the Kindle has an easy and direct way to buy all kinds of reading material from the ridiculous to the sublime and at price points that even make a book addict like me smile.   My current addiction is to the $.99 Kindle Singles – these are stories and articles at various lengths (some are practically novellas) and about a broad range of topics.  Be careful; it’s easy to get hooked.   I mean how can you say no to a $.99 extended reading and entertainment experience?  I haven’t been able to.

For example, I downloaded “The Happiness Manifesto: How Nations and People Can Nurture Well-Being” by Nic Marks.  This was a fascinating article about measuring economic growth and happiness and how to get a measurement that encompasses both accurately.  As my guilty pleasure, I also downloaded several Kindle Singles by John Locke, an author who writes hysterical stories with a recurring character named Donovan Creed, an assassin and generally smooth-talking, wild and crazy guy.

And for the book reviews you’ll be reading in the next two parts, I chose The Diamond Cutter, a recommendation from a fellow entrepreneur and business book addict, written by Michael Roach, a fully ordained monk in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition who decided to put the text of the Buddhist book The Diamond Cutter to the test as an executive for Andin Diamonds in New York.  Now that ought to be an interesting read!

When I finished The Diamond Cutter, the Kindle gave me a list of other books by Michael Roach. I chose Karmic Management because it looked like it would be an applied perspective of the principles covered in The Diamond Cutter. The review for Karmic Management will be covered in part two of this review.

As for the Kindle?  It has a permanent home on my nightstand and allows me to instantly switch from a business book to a Kindle Single or guilty pleasure.  I’ve started carrying it in my briefcase.

Do you own a Kindle or Nook or read books with your iPad?  What’s been your experience, and what are your device’s favorite features and why?

Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."