Amazon’s Kindle Reader

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2010 • all rights reserved

Amazon’s Kindle reader has truly changed the way books are carried on cruising boats.  With a Kindle, you can greatly expand your on-board library and have much greater access to books wherever you are — no more searching for books in English when you’re in foreign countries, or waiting for titles you want to be shipped to you.

  • Image of Amazon's Kindle ReaderWeighing less than just one paperback, they can hold the contents of 3,500 books (the least expensive Kindles hold 1,400), enabling cruisers to have far larger libraries.  Talk about saving both weight and space!
  • A single charge will last about a month (with the Wi-Fi turned off), so they’re not a power hog.  You can charge from a standard wall outlet or via USB from your computer.  You can also purchase aftermarket “car chargers” to charge from a 12v cigarette lighter — just make sure to get one designed for the Kindle you have.
  • Easily read in bright sunlight.
  • Enlarge the font (type size) at the touch of a button — very helpful if reading in low light conditions.
  • Download books via Wi-Fi at any internet cafe or other place (such as most marinas) with Wi-Fi, or via 3G wireless in the US and 100 foreign countries — much easier than having books mailed to you.
  • Most titles are cheaper on Kindle than on paper.
  • You can also store and read PDF files on your Kindle — and more and more owners manuals are available as PDF’s (in fact, some are ONLY available as PDFs and others are free as PDFs and must be purchased if you want a paper copy).
  • You don’t need to connect the Kindle to a computer to download publications.
  • Just as with traditional books, you can “check out” a Kindle book before buying it — the first chapter is available for free and then, if you like it, you can download the whole thing in less than a minute.
Kindle wasn’t available when we were cruising.  But when we sold Que Tal, we had over 200 books on board, from reference books to cookbooks to light reading.  And every time we’d return to the US, at least one of our carry-on bags would be nothing but books we were taking back to the boat.

We actually would have liked to have more books on board, but space and weight considerations prevented this.  With Kindle, we still would have had some titles as traditional books (not everything is available on Kindle yet, although over one million titles are), but we could have put many on the Kindle.  And we wouldn’t have had to devote so much of our luggage space to books on trips to the US.

More and more cruisers are turning to Kindle to considerably improve their options for books.  While you still can’t get books in the middle of the ocean, you can get them anywhere there’s Wi-fi coverage (most marinas and internet cafes) or 3G cell phone coverage in over 100 countries (check coverage areas), depending on which model you get.

In addition to best-selling fiction and non-fiction, Amazon offers a number of titles of interest to cruisers — and more are available every day.  You can also subscribe to a variety of newspapers and magazines.  There are also a lot of cookbooks available for Kindle and since they don’t take up any extra space, there’s no reason not to have several aboard.  I also really like the idea of being able to store (and refer to) owners’ manuals in PDF form on the Kindle.

NOTE:  You can also read Kindle books on your PC, most tablets and smartphones with free downloadable apps from Amazon, and once you buy a book you can use it on any or all of the platforms.  Some subscriptions are only available on the Kindle itself.  For many reference books, including cookbooks, the illustrations are easier to see on the larger screen of a PC.

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Comments

  1. YES! While you have concentrated on Amazon’s Kindle, readers should be aware that there are a number of other readers. The Nook is another that can download via the internet, as well as Sony. These companies have versions with wifi, and others without wifi (at a more modest price). For those versions, one downloads books onto a computer, and then uploads them into the device.

    I have a Sony reader (non-wifi.) The thing I like about my Sony is that it is able to use several different formats.

    Also, there is a free software, Calibre, which can convert book file formats to whatever format your reader uses (except for Kindle).

    The whole ereader technology is a wonderful advancement for us book-lovers!! (Especially cruisers!)

    • Carolyn Shearlock says:

      Thanks for the extra info. I’m finding that the whole area of e-readers is changing, literally, almost daily. Faster than I can keep up with it, but I agree that it’s fantastic for cruisers to reduce the space and weight taken up by books!

  2. Lisa Novak says:

    Help! I am sure I had read you were releasing your cookbook on Kindle. Some how I can not find the info on that now. I really want to purchase it before we start cruising again in December. You have done an excellent job.

    Lisa

    • Carolyn Shearlock says:

      We are planning to release the cookbook on Kindle as well as paperback. Unfortunately, International Marine — the publisher — estimates that it won’t be out until late spring 2012.

      Thanks for the interest!

      -C

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