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Before I could read, I remember trying to read. And once I learnt to read it was all that interested me. When asked for her memories of my childhood, my sister says all she can remember is me sitting curled in a corner with my head hidden in a book.

I read whether I understood what I read or not. I’d got through the Iliad by seven, and spent the rest of my youth devouring pretty much anything else I could get my hands on, from Nancy Drew to Jane Austen.

Reading was and is my escape, my solace. What I read isn’t important; the back of a cereal packet will do, but a book is better.

But it turns out that the medium really does not matter. I never thought I’d buy an e-reader but I downloaded the Kindle software onto the iPad that Vodafone lent me for a month and I was converted within minutes.

Flying on Ryanair to Austria to stay at the Mayr clinic the weight limit was just 17kg and the iPad saved my reading bacon, given that I can polish off most novels in three hours or so. I needed a lot of books to take my mind off the Mayr purging detox regimen.

But love the iPad as I did (thank you Vodafone), I’m not in the market for a £500 shiny toy. So I bought a Kindle instead.

It’s incredibly light, and easy to read, with back & forth page turning buttons on each side, so that you can read one-handed. It can store up to 3,500 books, with up to one month battery life if you turn the wireless off when you aren’t buying books.

They come in two models: wi-fi, and wi-fi +free 3G. With wi-fi you have to manually link to a network to access the online store. With 3G you can access your home Amazon account automatically in 100 countries worldwide.

Many books are out of domain, so classics like Little Women and Pride & Prejudice are free, and there’s a discount on most bestsellers.

The 3G worked like a dream in California over the past ten days. When someone I met recommended the new Sebastian Faulks as we sat chatting by the Four Seasons Los Angeles pool, I was able to log on, find, buy and download it in under a minute.

I’ll still buy hardbacks, first editions, photography books and books I love to add to the 3000+ books I already own, but the novels I swallow, the dictionaries I need for work: those are all going on the Kindle. And I am not alone: Amazon reports that they sell 180 ebooks for every 100 print books.

(And on Twitter tonight agent Jonny Geller posted that, “ebook sales coming in from top selling authors in US is jaw dropping. what was predicted to be 5-15% of print sale is closer to 35-50%.” Altho when I checked in with him, he says that this is based on a small range of commercial & literary books in the past three months, not exact science.)

Wi-Fi Kindle: £109/ $139
Wi-Fi Kindle 3G (3G + Wi-Fi) £149 /89

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28 comments

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Thanks Sasha, I’ve been wondering whether or not to ask for one for Christmas and now you’ve persuaded me! Cx

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I never thought that we’d be happy moving off version 1.0 (the book), but am also considering going electronic in the book department.

A really good, positive review

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thank you! LLGxx

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You are so funny. Never sure whether this blog is a parody.

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backhanded compliment if i’ve ever seen one

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inclined to agree! LLGxx

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So true – my husband and I love the Kindle and so many of our friends are converting as well. The classics are my favorites and I’ve plowed through “Emma”, “Anna Karenina”, “The Legend of Sleepy hollow” among many other titles.

Later this year, Amazon will allow you to share a book with a fellow Kindle user once. Can’t wait to share novels with my friends!

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Seriously, my Kindle for iPad has changed my life. I am reading more than I ever have before in my entire life–and I’m a big reader. Any time anyone recommends a book…boom…downloaded. I flew from Chicago to Israel recently and then from Chicago to Chile and it was so lovely to carry just the iPad, but yet a ridiculous number of books. Love.

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EXACTLY! LLGxx

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Your timing is spot on, I spent hours researching Kindles yesterday! My best friends as a kid were the old ladies in my village library. I read everything I can get my hands on and can’t stand being on the tube without something to read. Will still buy great books in hardback as I like filled bookshelves but am planning to start using e-books to supplement that. So thanks for your review!

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yes! bookshelves AND the Kindle – the way forward LLGxx

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I’ve recently bought an iPad and love it.Fantastic like you say for reading-especially in bed!
Wasn’t aware of the kindle looks excellent and very good value.

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The KIndle software for the iPad works brilliantly too LLGxx

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Ok thats the second time you’ve mentioned the person you met by the pool isn’t anyone else intrigued?

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oh: but it’s not their blog! I don’t mention anyone unless I have their express permission…LLGxx

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My Husband got me the Kindle for Christmas last year and it is so easy to carry around…

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Yes – so lightweight! LLGxx

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I was never sure whether I would get eye strain from using these, but you have me wavering. Of course I would never give up my bookshelves, but I am trying to be selective with these now because it is getting out of control. All the books I truly love I am trying to get nice copies of (for instance, I am collecting hardcover Georgette Heyers with the old illustrated dustjackets), but for throwaway fiction this would be ideal.

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oh yes, vintage Heyers: my idea of bliss LLGxx

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Never thought I like it but my husband bought me one a month back and I think it is great. Yesterday I discovered I could lean it up against a pillow (although much lighter than most books) and then gently push the button to switch pages. Love it! Also love the easy and often cheap downloading of old classics.

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I’m exactly the same – cldn’t be without it now. LLGxx

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