Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kindle Your Passion for eReaders

I love, love, love the Amazon Kindle. It has (almost) nothing to do with being an author of ebooks, and everything to do with being a voracious reader. (Though people reading my books on their Kindles is pretty darn cool.)

*cough*cough*

Okay, okay. It also has about 80% to do with being able to hide my purchases from my husband. Granted, he doesn't say a word about how many books I buy. He just gives me "the look." In order to avoid "the look," I buy ebooks and we're both happy. He gets to pretend I've gone 24hrs without a new purchase, and I get to horde to my heart's content.

This post is about accessorizing your Kindle. I'll probably do these posts often, because the Kindle is something I'm passionate about, and is a device I've seen through each generation.

Okay, here we go. We're going to touch on cases and lights today. Here are my top picks.

There are several designer cases made for the various versions of Kindle. Some make my fingers curl with want, but the elastic strap meant to hold my eReader secure…keeps me from coughing up$70 or more for a designer name when the cases suffer such a basic design flaw.

Granted, times are a changin’. There are other methods to secure your Kindle. In addition to elastic straps, there are a few more options. Such as a hard plastic shell secured to the case back, allowing your Kindle to snap into place and he held secure. This Speck case was popular for K2, and I like it. It has the hard plastic shell-snap, and a built-in stand.

I will admit, when I got my b’day surprise of the K3, I went a little nuts in the comparison shopping department. I have loved Kindle from day one, stolen Dad’s repeatedly, but this was my first mine, all mine, reader.

I wanted the very light and very thin K3 as secure as I could get it without the awkwardness of elastic or fabric cupped corners. Amazon, amazingly enough, created the perfect solution. For once, a manufacturer listened to their customers and took their requests to heart. (It took three versions of Kindle before it happened…but that’s neither here nor there.)

This is the case in question. It’s leather, made by Amazon, and has hooks in the bend. The K3 is manufactured to fit this case. It’s such a simple thing to hook it in, then you’re golden. That Kindle isn’t going anywhere. I like the case itself, too. It’s a nice pebbled leather exterior with a very soft gray interior to minimize damage to your screen. The version I liked above is without a light.
ETA: I have been made aware of an issue with the Amazon case. The same hooks that hold it secure also seem to be causing spontaneous resets among other issues. Instead of my full endorsement, I'll have to downgrade this to a "buy at your own risk." Sad, considering how much I love that cover. If you've suffered the same issue, then contact Amazon's Kindle Support.
Yes, I know. It’s hard to believe it gets better, but it does! This is the same case, just the lighted version. I wanted that case in a bad way. Since Kindle isn’t back lit, which reduces eyestrain, I knew a light was a must. I love the way the light is built into this case. It’s so handy, and really just perfect. The hooks on this model are metal instead of plastic. The metal is conductive, and uses your Kindle to power its light, so you never have to worry about batteries. You do, however, have to worry about draining your Kindle’s battery in the process. BUT–and you knew there had to be one–the coolness of the light is offset by the fact it super illuminates the upper right hand corner while leaving the lower left hand corner in darksville. This can’t be changed, since the plastic light arm has some flexibility, but nowhere near enough to fix this issue.

Although my OCD nature rebelled, it’s still rebelling actually, I bought the standard case. This decision was due largely to the staff at Best Buy. They not only encouraged me to pick the case that was right for me, they took the box to the service desk and opened it so my Kindle could try on her new coat (don’t judge me) before I shelled out any money.

They also carry M-Edge products, which are pretty fantastic. I would have gone with their covers if not for the whole hook=safety thing. Anyway, the customer service lady picked up their most popular M-Edge light and asked if I was interested in it. I was still pouting, considering how important the whole “light” thing was, when she opened that box and turned the light on. All I could say was “whoa.” It was brilliant. Plus, the flexible neck meant I could bend it any way I wanted to. It has a flat piece of plastic on the back, which I slip behind the Kindle and it’s held there as securely as if I were using it in a regular paperback.

There are two cool things about that light. One, it uses AAA batteries instead of some funky watch battery you would kill yourself looking for a replacement for. And two, I can angle it so that my entire Kindle is bathed in the exact same level of light. I love that. I am so compulsive, I require that kind of perfection to function. So while I wish I had the built-in light, it only takes one night spent reading  to appreciate the beauty of my M-Edge.

The plain Kindle case is $34 or so. The lighted is $54 more or less. The M-Edge light is around $20. If you mix and match, you’re still out the same amount of money, but I believe the M-Edge is a much better investment for my money. I’ve been very pleased with it.

Since I like people to judge for themselves, here is a video of someone reading with their built-in Kindle light.


And here is the M-Edge case with the M-Edge light.

I will say, that video shows a bright pinpoint of light, but I adjust so there is the same level of lighting with no issues. I guess it’s about your preference and how much work you’re willing to put into perfection.

Other favorite case options include most M-Edge products as well as anything by Oberon. Their designs are hand tooled leather and just gorgeous.

While I'm thinking about it, you might be interested in these resources as well:

Kindleboards - An online community geared towards all things Kindle. It covers everything from reviews of the devices and accessories to book reviews and recommendations to device malfunctions and possible solutions. There are also hacks--like the one for a custom screen saver.

eReader IQ - Who doesn't like a freebie every now and again? Sometimes a free first book in a series leads to the entire set being purchased by happy readers. This site shows Amazon's daily free read offerings. They also offer an email option if you'd like the titles/authors emailed to you as they become available.

9 comments:

stacey said...

I Know there Great! I Read a book and loved it and right away orderd the 2&3 Book to it and had it sent with in a min or so it's so cool when you want to read the book the next day when you wake up and don't want to run out and get it from the book store you just want to read it right away.and some books you just don't want others to know what your reading.and the covers give it away with Kindle you do not have that problem.
sasluvbooks(at)yahoo(dot)com

Tracy Rowan said...

I had to make a comment here about the hinged case. I haven't heard of any problems with the lighted ones, but the unlighted ones seem to be causing a lot of grief to K3 owners, myself included.

I had a hinged cover for my K2 and all was well; I didn't even have a problem with the hinges cracking the Kindle case. But with the K3, the trouble began as soon as the cover began to loosen up and become more flexible. My Kindle would freeze and then reboot. At first it was occasionally, but then it grew more and more frequent.

I thought perhaps it was that I had too many titles on it (500+) in spite of the fact that I still had a tremendous amount of free space left. So I removed anything that was read, but it didn't help.

Then it began to freeze and reboot constantly, and it lost all my collections and froze the clock. In desperation I began to read about other people's Kindle problems in the forums on Amazon.com and as people eliminated one possibility after another over a series of months, the one thing that stood out was the the overwhelming majority of problems were occurring with the hinged, unlighted cover.

I contacted Amazon.com's Kindle help line, and they were wonderful, spending almost an hour on the phone with me, but never once mentioning the cover issue. When I brought it up, there seemed to be a total disconnect about the subject, but the service guy said that it might be worth taking it off just to see if the situation changed. I told him I already had and that the unit hadn't frozen or rebooted once since.

A couple of days later Amazon.com called to see if everything was still okay with my K3. I offered to send them the old cover and they reimbursed me for it and sent a postage paid label. However, since then, dead air. They've never commented in public about the issue, AFAIK. The best explanation I've seen was that the hinges, which had no contacts in them, were touching the contacts inside the unit and short-circuiting them. I can't help but wonder how long that can go on before there's permanent damage.

In any event, I thought that your post was very good, but needed a caveat in re the hinged covers.

I currently use an M-Edge cover and carry a tiny clip-on light in case I need it when I'm out. All is well, I've rebuilt my collections and haven't suffered a single problem since. The K3 is an extraordinary unit, and I feel guilty loving it so much more than my K2. *g*

Hailey Edwards said...

Stacey, you're right on about that. I like the privacy of having my books on Kindle. I don't care what anyone thinks of my reading choices ... but ... when I'm around kids, I have to be careful of the covers/titles. Kindle eliminates that worry for me. :)

Tracy, I hadn't heard that about the cases. I will definitely add a note in my blog post, as well as in others I've done on a similar topic. I'll also poke around and see if I can't find some sites to, well, cite.

That's a disturbing possibility that I hadn't considered. I don't fold my cover (I think it's a holdover from refusing to crack book spines? LOL) so I haven't encountered that issue. I know several Kindle owners who do, and this concerns me.

As you said, if the hinges are potentially damaging your unit with every use--that's something purchasers should be made aware of. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for letting me know.

I've recommended the case so many times, and I'd hate to think someone's Kindle could be damaged because of it.

Cindy L said...

I had a hard time choosing a case. I have a K2 and drove my hubby crazy trying to find the right one. The reason I love my Kindle is that it doesn't cost me a fortune to buy books and they aren't taking over my house. It's also allowed me to find new authors with the free reads. Not to mention winning some great ebooks...like Everlong! And I've already told you how much I loved it and can't wait for Evermine

Hailey Edwards said...

I agree 100% I have four bookcases in my office filled with my favorite authors. I buy one paper/hardback copy and have it signed, then buy the digital copy to read. (I know, it's my secret shame. LOL) But I'm willing to try so many more new authors with the Kindle. Love that sample downloading feature. ;)

And I'm still thrilled you enjoyed Everlong. I started plotting Everafter (Nesvia and Rideal) today. I'd like to wrap up the sister's part of the series this year if I can. :)

jo pearse said...

If you are looking for Kindle Reading Lights I found a great one online and after going through all the reviews decided it was best value for money and had the best reviews. I found this website http://www.kindlereadinglight.co.uk easy to use and helpful with info and alternatives. The price is good and light is powerful and robust. Thoughts welcome
Cheers
Jo

Hailey Edwards said...

Very nice. I do like the look of it. If my M-Edge dies on me, I'll give it a shot. :)

Cindy L said...

Hailey have you used the text to speech yet? I actually used it for the first time with Everlong. I had some things to do around the house and didn't want to put it down so I thought I would try it out. You get used to it after a while.

Hailey Edwards said...

I did! It's actually not that bad. You're right. You do get used to it. Especially since I "own" that voice.

I bought Natural Reader software to read my books back to me after I've written them-in an attempt to check for flow and awkward sentences. So, I was surprised to have a "Hey, I know this guy!" moment. LOL