A few months ago I posted about switching to a ‘digital lifestyle’. Back then I was talking about switching to a digital music and film library with my iMac as the entertainment hub. I’m sticking to it well and it’s saving me money – digital downloads are cheaper and I don’t have to pay for a TV license. What I’ve been keen to do since is do the same with my small book collection. I like the idea of saving space and having the luxury of having a collection of reading materials at my disposal, almost like having an iPod to read on. When the iPad was released I was excited about it and thought I may end up getting one. For me the iPad is like a large iPhone with enough storage space for many books, plus I liked the idea of being able to check e-mails or tweet on the go – but hang on, I can do all that stuff already on my existing phone. With prices starting at £429, the iPad is an expensive option for simply reading, even with the vast array of apps available to download. So I’ve been considering getting some sort of e-reader instead.
A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from Amazon about their new product out soon called the ‘Kindle’. There is already a version of this available but this is a new, sleek and smaller model. The ‘Kindle’ is Amazon’s e-reader which can also read PDF files and can link to the Amazon store through your Wi-fi connection or by 3G connection (if you buy the 3G version).
The Kindle has a 6″ screen which displays one page at a time. At first I was a bit concerned that it may be too small but when you think about it, the iPad displays 2 pages at a time so there really isn’t much difference, plus you can change the size of the text to something more suitable for you. If you opt for the £149 version you also get free 3G connection which means you can download books, magazines and newspapers anywhere even if there is no Wi-Fi network in range. This is a very useful feature especially when developers are working on ways to get web browsing available on this device. This also handy for ‘sharing passages’ on Facebook and Twitter which is also possible on this device.
The internal storage of this device is 4GB which is not really on par with the iPad, but definitely beats many other e-readers on the market. All it seems to be missing really is a colour screen, but I think I can live with that. Given the £109 and £149 price tags this is a very competitive e-reader and I think pretty good value for money. I also think despite the probable dominance the iPad will probably have in the future, this product will have longevity as Amazon will always likely keep it going so books will always be available for purchase.
Amazon have recently opened their online Kindle store which you can start downloading books, newspapers and magazines from. If you don’t have a Kindle yet, you can use one of their apps which are available for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android. The selection of books is pretty good so far but the newspaper and magazine selection could do with some improving. Hopefully in the not too distant future we’ll see music magazines available for the Kindle.
So how does this help musicians?
Well as this is a music website I suppose I better come up with how I can apply this to the musical side of life. Here are a few ideas I’ve had so far in how I can make use of this item if I get one:
- Reading on tour – This will help keep the boredom away when I’m traveling to another gig.
- School Parents evening? The Kindle has the capability of displaying a number of files in various formats. Perhaps having this ready with assessment grades for pupils will save dragging a folder along.
- Song lyrics – Jotting down some lyrical ideas? Maybe bring a lot of lyrics and ideas along to a rehearsal in PDF format.
- Blogging – The Kindle can already display a large number of blogs, maybe one day we’ll be able to update blogs with this device.
There’s a few ideas, feel free to suggest some more. I am seriously tempted by this product so maybe I’ll post a review of the item if I take the plunge. You can pre-order the Kindle by clicking the relevant product below.
If you want to see a Kindle in action, watch the video below: