Monday, October 18, 2010

Kindle for PC: I'm Lovin' it!

Earlier this summer our son called to tell me a fellow was giving away free goats along Highway 2. Free Goats? Sure. As someone who once owned two adorable pygmy goats, I knew, in this case, free didn’t exactly mean FREE. It meant a continuous supply of alfalfa pellets and, all too often, treks around our acreage rattling a can of those pellets to bribe the little rascals to return home after ANOTHER escape, followed by ANOTHER fence repair.

Free is seldom free.

But recently I discovered something truly free. This may be old news to some, but if not, you might find it useful, and fun.

A week or so ago, while browsing the ebook section of Amazon.com, I noticed a link in the right column that read Available on your PC. So I checked it out, wondering how I could read Amazon’s ebooks without a Kindle.

With digital publishing and ebooks growing in popularity, folks can choose from a variety of gadgets for downloading and reading ebooks. Barnes & Noble offers the Nook. Amazon offers the Kindle. Apple offers the Ipad. And there are others. But, priced anywhere from $139 to $499 and up, I’m not ready to lay down my money for one. (Not to mention the fact that I am still working through a stack of print books on my side table.) But, at times, browsing through an ebook on my laptop, which is fairly small and lightweight, would be handy.

Because Kindle readers begin at $139, I guessed the Kindle for PC would cost a few dollars. Instead, it surprised me to find that Amazon does not charge for the program.

So I clicked a few buttons and downloaded the program and it was ready to receive ebooks. I downloaded sample chapters of a book and tested it. I found that I could make notes in the sidebar as I read, highlight words and sentences, adjust font size, scroll through the book both vertically and horizontally, and change the color of the book's pages. Wow. And I’m sure there are other tricks I have not yet discovered.

So far I have purchased one ebook, a mystery for $2.99. But even if I don’t use it for buying many books, it is a great place to download sample chapters to read at my leisure and discover new books and writers, rather than paging through Amazon’s, sometimes clumsy, Search Inside tool.

And, although you might argue that Kindle for PC is not really free because it is a platform for purchasing ebooks from Amazon, to me, it is certainly “more free” than goats.

2 comments:

Mary Jane Honegger said...

Hey Nancy, thanks for letting us know about the free Kindle program through Amazon. I’m just learning about the Kindle myself since my daughter-in-law presented me with one following my recent 10-day babysitting gig down in California. The combination thank-you-for-babysitting, happy birthday gift put me on the fast track to learn about electronic books; and like you, I found they are easy to use. Not sure the Kindle will ever replace my beloved books, but when I hold it I sense the same spirit of adventure I do when I open a new book. With thousands of titles and free first chapter downloads, I’m sure everybody will find something they would enjoy reading, whether using the free program or their own Kindle. Nice goat - yours?

Jennifer Lamont Leo said...

That goat looks like he'd like to eat a Kindle!

Since seeing Mary Jane's Kindle, I've been hinting like mad to get one for Christmas. We'll see...