Prior to leaving for St. Louis, I had wonderful images in my mind of sitting back in a chair next to Maggie’s hospital bed and reading. There is nothing more relaxing than getting lost in a good book, and a hospital room is a good place to do just that.
Well, something happened between those dreamy scenes and actually getting to St. Louis. My wife, Kathi, got a hold of my Kindle and I haven’t held it since.
What you have to know about my wife to really appreciate this story is that she is as close to anti-gadget as anyone I’ve ever met. She just started using a cell phone last year for goodness sakes. She used my Kindle during the holidays and liked it a lot, but never really took to it if you know what I mean. It didn’t become a part of her daily routine of reading.
That all changed during this trip.
Four hours in to our trip, Kathi had just finished reading a Sherlock Holmes paper-based book and was really interested in reading another. She lamented that she didn’t bring any others with her. Always one who enjoys bringing happiness to my wife, I picked up the Kindle and handed it to her, and told her to search the Kindle Store for one. I was sure they had converted some. You should have seen the look on her face when she found several listed. She clicked "buy" and within 30 seconds to a minute, they were downloaded to the Kindle, and she was off and reading some more Sherlock Holmes books. All done from our car traveling on I-70 in the middle of Kansas.
Every now and then, I glanced over and could tell she was " in to the book ". During a gas break, I asked her how she was enjoying the Kindle. She told me that she was surprised at how she was able to connect with the story and not get distracted by the gadget. It wasn’t long before she consumed that book and was back on the Kindle Store, with no help by me by the way, looking for more books.
From that moment on, the Kindle was in her purse everywhere we went: MEG testing center, hotels, hospital room, and traveling back home. When we were not taking care of Maggie, she was reading. When we were sleeping in a hotel, I would find her snuggled up in bed reading just like she does with paper based books. On one occasion, a nurse came in to our room, and we naturally started talking about books we were reading. She mentioned a book that sounded intriguing to my wife, and within minutes of the nurse leaving, Kathi had found it on the Kindle Store, purchased it, and was already glancing through the forward. I think Kathi bought 4 – 6 books during our trip, and was frequently browsing the Kindle Store while we were traveling home.
Not all is wonderful and glorious in Kindle-land for her, though. First of all, my wife likes to read at night, and has noticed that it is a little difficult in poor lighting. She wants some back-lighting bad. Secondly, although she likes the location and feel of the Next Page button, it does get accidentally pressed more times than she would like. Third, not all the books she wanted to read were available in the Kindle Store. For example, a friend called during the hospital stay and mentioned a book. We went to look for it in the Kindle Store, but couldn’t find it. Unfortunately, there was no Kindle Edition yet.
I knew that the Kindle had changed ownership without my consent, when I started hearing her say things like "Can you hand me my Kindle?", "Did you charge my Kindle last night?". The last nail in the coffin occurred after we got home. I walked up stairs to put away some things and noticed that the charger was on her side of the bed with the Kindle already plugged in. Nothing much has changed in the days after getting home and being settled. She’s still reading at night and still calling it her Kindle. In fact, she’s purchased 3 – 4 more books since getting home.
She connected with the Kindle for multiple reasons. First of all, when she wanted to look for something different to read, she could. And, for the most part, she could instantly buy it and begin reading it no matter where we were. Second, she was able to get in to the book and not get distracted by the gadget itself. As ugly as the Kindle is, the layout and design allow a reader to get lost in a book much easier than say a Pocket PC or UMPC. Third, the battery life is outstanding. She read and read without worry of the current battery charge. The only caveat to that was the wireless. Because the wireless is a major drain on battery, she had to remember to turn off the wireless when not using it. Those three things are huge and are the major reasons why I no longer own a Kindle, and why my anti-gadget wife owns it instead.