Like most—maybe all— writers, I learned to write by writing and, by example, by reading books. ~ Francine Prose
For my birthday I got myself the cheapest Amazon Kindle in the range—the one that doesn’t have all the touch-screen related bells and whistles that might confuse my student budget—and the first thing I was pleased by was its size.
This makes it easy to carry around as it can slip without difficulty into anything from a clutch to a back-pack.
Writers will love it because this feature will allow you to use any free time you have to brush up on your writing skills by reading from the classics the Kindle carries so effortlessly.
The Amazon Kindle can store up to fourteen thousand books. This means that the cute little 5.3” by 8.0” e-reader can hold anything from an e-version of your favourite glossy-magazine to the monolithic classics every writer should own. This means you can switch from reading one book to another at the click of a button so if you’re a big reader this is great because you don’t have to worry about carrying five books on holiday. I’ve actually read fifteen books since buying this device in June.
Writers will love it because you don’t have to carry ten-pound-books that scream “amateur novelist” to public places. This takes away the threat of the book’s cover inviting over-eager literature undergrads to use the book’s title as an opportunity to start a debate about the political motives of the author which will just confuse you.
The Kindle allows you to group your books into several categories.
Writers will love it because your classics don’t have to mixed together with the autobiographies of your favorite trashy reality star. This means the temptation to abandon the ‘hard part’ of Crime and Punishment for Kim Kardashian’s life story won’t be so strong.
This is actually the main reason I bought the Kindle. You’ll be surprised how hard it is to find books by African writers in certain chain book-stores in my African country.
I wanted the kindle so I could be able to buy online the books that I couldn’t find at the store—mainly books by contemporary African writers and classical African American literature; which are my sort of thing at the moment.
Writers will love it because it is important to have access to the sort of books you’d like to write and it’s scary to leave this in the hands of your local book store. Also sites like Amazon.com are very easy to shop from and you can have almost any book with just one click. You have the option of buying a book via your computer and transferring it your Kindle or using a wireless connection to shop directly from your Kindle. (Amazon.com gives you the option of downloading samples of books you’re interested in buying for free straight to your Kindle, which is great.)
The Kindle has a very simple design. The one I have is grey and hassle-free. There are two page-turning buttons on both sides of the device. It has a great E-ink display that looks like it has the feel of a ‘real’ page. It’s also pretty sturdy-looking. The screen isn’t fragile or anything and the device itself isn’t too affected by dropping it.
Writers will love it because the display isn’t a source of light so your eyes won’t be too negatively affected by reading for long periods of time. You can prop yourself under your lamp at night and read it like you would a book. Also, the page-turners being located on both sides allow you to read propped up on an elbow in bed on either side. This is really convenient if you’re as lazy as I am and find the idea of having to choose between lounging and reading too stressful.
The Kindle comes with a single white cable that you connect to your computer or laptop via the USB slot to charge it or transfer books from PC to Kindle and vice versa.
I love the cable because I discovered that I can also use it to charge my Blackberry and other devices like Nokia phones and cameras that have the same micro-USB slot. This makes it very convenient because you only need to carry one cable for all these devices. (Unless you use an Apple device then you’re as screwed as you were at the beginning of this article.)
Also there’s a bunch of cute Kindle-pouches you can buy that can be used to store your device and protect it from spills and the like.
This is helpful to me because I’m currently going through an obsession with owning as many ‘girly’ accessories in garish colours as possible. So maybe this reason is has more to do with the way I’m choosing to deal with the fact that this is my last year as a teenage girl than it has to do with helping writers. [looks away]
This is by far my favourite feature of the kindle. The hardest part about reading classic literature, after one overcomes the difficulty of relating with characters in often unimaginable circumstances and environments, is the language that many of the most respected writers used. Very often you find they use words that haven’t been used in ‘everyday conversation’ since the fifties. The Kindle has this dictionary feature that allows you to shift the cursor (with the directional buttons at the bottom of the device) next to a word and the definition will pop up on the screen above (or below) the page you’re reading.
Writers will love it because it makes reading all those heavy classics a breeze as you don’t have to stop every five words to look for a physical or electronic dictionary and you certainly don’t have to ignore words you don’t know or risk losing the plot by guessing incorrectly the meaning of words you don’t understand. I’ve learned so many new words (that you won’t find in this post) from the kindle by carrying a note-book where I jot down the words I encounter in the books I read along with the definition the Kindle provides. A bigger is always a bonus for any writer.
The Kindle has a battery life rivaling the sun. You can have it on for weeks without having to charge it. This is an especially awesome feature for those of us used to the disappointment of Blackberry devices. [insert sad laugh]
There are a lot of features that I’ve left out but the ones I listed are the most important for writers. But if I’ve forgotten another bonus for writers feel free to leave it in the comments section below.