Should You Buy an Amazon Kindle?

Amazon's wireless reading device, the Kindle, has been called everything from "amazing" to "revolutionary." It holds dozens of books, but it's the size of a paperback. It's also one of Oprah's favorite things... but is it right for you? Here's what Flashlight Worthy's co-founders, Peter and Eric, think:

Eric says: Buy a Kindle

There are few things that unequivocally changed the way we read: movable type, paperback binding, and maybe Cliff's Notes. Now I think there's an addition to the list: the Amazon Kindle.

I've had a Kindle for a few years now and have fallen madly in love with my little book-bearing buddy.

The Kindle's so small and light, I toss in my bag and bring it along wherever I go — no more being stuck in line at the DMV, waiting at the doctor's office or getting a quick bite at a restaurant with nothing to read. The screen is incredibly crisp and clear and it's a snap to use (the controls aren't much more than on/off and "next page"!).

One of the best things about the Kindle is it can hold approximately 3,500 books; I'm regularly working my way through several books simultaneously (a non-fiction title, a fiction title and maybe a blog feed or an e-book) and there's no more forgetting a book (or forgetting where I left off!) since they're all together in one place. When I fly cross-country, knowing I have a virtual pile of books with me is the only thing that keeps me sane for 5 hours in coach.

I also love that I can subscribe to TIME Magazine, the New York Times, or nearly 100 other magazines, newspapers and blogs, and have them delivered automatically, wirelessly, to my Kindle. Really, it's like magic: I wake up in the morning and fresh reading material is waiting for me. Plus, over that same wireless connection, I can shop for books right on the device (and they're cheaper than the archaic paper versions, too); it's really an endless font of reading material... there's always something new.

All in all, I find myself reaching for my Kindle constantly, and bringing it with me everywhere I go. It's changed how I read and I wouldn't want to go back to old-fashioned, paper-filled books!

Want to know more? See the Kindle on Amazon.

— Eric Mueller
Flashlight Worthy co-founder

Peter says: Don't Buy a Kindle

First of all, I'm not against technology. I have an iPhone, I got one of the very first TiVos, and make my living working in the internet industry.

I admit, the Kindle's appealing. It's lighter than a hardcover. You can carry multiple books on vacation with no additional weight or bulk. And whenever a book appeals to you, wherever you are... magic! You can buy it directly from the Kindle and it will download immediately.

But some things — and I very much include books in this category — are sacred.

Books are full of sense memory. They each have their own thickness and color and design and font. But on a Kindle, every book is exactly the same. Same font. Same size. Same style. Same, same, same.

Books are history. When you look at your shelf you see a record of all that you learned and enjoyed. You remember where you were when you were reading each book. But on a Kindle, all the books are bits and bytes, invisible to the eye. Nothing more than a list of titles on the screen.

Books reflect who you are. Some books you choose to keep and display in your living room. Others are for the more private den. And some, that you feel don't reflect you, are banished from sight. Not so with a Kindle. No one knows what you've read when all your books are locked away on a Kindle.

Books start conversations when people spy what you're reading at the airport or on the subway. (Who knows? Maybe that's how you'll meet your spouse.) Not with a Kindle. No one can tell what the heck you're reading on a Kindle. It might be "War and Peace" or it might be a take-out menu.

But maybe you're not the romantic I am — you might live on the other side of your brain. So, go ahead, if you think the Kindle might be right for you, go take a look.

But if you do buy one, promise me you'll buy a good, has-a-real-cover, ink-on-paper book every time you pass an old-fashioned, independent, cat-in-the-window bookstore?

— Peter Steinberg
Flashlight Worthy co-founder

Made up your mind?


You've read our take on the Kindle, now see what you think... check out the Amazon Kindle page and make your decision.