Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Using the Kindle Reader Overseas

I got a Kindle ebook reader for Christmas. I've been eyeing it for years, but was waiting for it to become available overseas. When it finally did this past year, my mom got me one for Christmas.

It is the perfect device for a bibliophile who travels a lot. It is compact, holds tons of books, and is easy on the eyes. I also use it for working with files. I just marked a student's master's thesis while reading it on the Kindle. Had I read the paper on the computer screen, the 62 pages would have really worn me out, and left me in no mood for further reading for a little while. But with the Kindle, it was like reading it on paper, and as soon as I finished keying in the notes for the student, I went right on to reading my novel.

I have downloaded some great material for the Kindle as well, most of it free, though I did pay for a few books. I've got roughly 400 titles in it now. I bought a copy of the Lonely Planet guide to China, which I always like to have a copy of, and will find especially useful when I take guests to Beijing and Xi'an in May. The Kindle weighs less and takes up less space than the paper version of the book, and can carry all the other 300+ titles I've got loaded in it as well. I think it is the perfect way to travel. I've made plenty of trips in the past while carrying lots of books, and it can be very tiring. I hope this makes that easier.

I know that there are a lot of people who are not quite sold on the ebook readers that are out these days, and I understand the objections, but I do have to say... it's a nice fit for my lifestyle!

There's only one drawback I've found so far. The $1.99 download fee per book if you use the Whispernet network while overseas seems excessive to me. I believe that if they lower that fee, the device is going to become even more popular with users overseas.

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Malcolm R. Campbell said...

One of the reasons many of us (authors) are involved in Operation E-Book Drop providing e-books for troops, is because members of the military complained that their Kindles wouldn't work overseas.

Maybe this problem was confined to war theaters such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

What has been your experience? Does Kindle depend on a nearby Wi Fi set up or what?


silken said...

very exciting! I saw someone on the plane reading their kindle. glad it works well for you!

hifidel said...

The Kindle has always been usable overseas, Malcolm, you just had to download books through the computer rather than using Amazon's dedicated network. I actually still download via the computer, saving the $1.99 per book fee. That's a pretty hefty amount, being that I have nearly 400 titles on the device. I would think they could do it for something much less than $1.99 per title. But, anyway... it's actually a fairly small drawback.

As far as getting online, it doesn't browse the whole web anyway, but only limited sites. I can do that from both Singapore and China. I don't think it is available in every country yet, though.

Silken, it is perfect for traveling. I would think that anyone who both travels and reads a lot would love this device. I've loved having it for commutes on the train here in Shanghai too.