To Kindle or not to Kindle?

Extras — By on May 4, 2009 at 11:55 am

kindle twilightby Molly Fergus

I’m entirely unashamed to say that I’ve been zipping through the Twilight series lately. The books are engrossing page-turners that make me look forward to long drive days (and remind me how fun teenage love was).

The only problem? Like Harry Potter, the novels are thick, heavy, and bulky-everything a savvy traveler tries to avoid.

So of course, instead of being logical and thinking about ways to ship the epics home, I’ve started fantasizing about owning a Kindle. The sleek electronic reader can store more than 200 books, newspapers and magazines; bestsellers cost only $9.99; and I could hold my entire library in my palm from now until the day my Kindle crashes.

Plus, it would completely solve the guidebook issue. Can you imagine storing all of, say, Let’s Go: South America on that one ipod-thin machine? Oh, the backpack space you’d save!

At a $359 price point, though, I reach my Kindle conundrum: Is the convenience of an electronic library worth the risk of losing a very expensive gadget if someone steals your stuff?

Lose a guidebook, and you’re only out $25 and some restaurant recommendations. Lose a Kindle, and you’re hating yourself a little bit the rest of the trip. What’s more important? Let’s discuss. I want to hear my fellow travelers’ opinions!

Comment from the LGs: We think that Molly should get a Kindle-and get travel insurance to cover the cost of her electronics should they get lost or stolen!
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  • travel junkie says:

    you know, i’ve never really been into kindle – as cool as it is i love the feel of flipping actual pages and feeling the paper between my fingers. BUT you make a really good point that i, for some reason, hadn’t considered. for someone who travels frequently this would be amazing – enough books to keep you occupied on long train/bus rides and guidebooks for every country you visit!

    with this is mind – i say get it and have it covered under insurance. it’s really no different than bringing a good quality camera on the road or a laptop – both of which are pretty much the norm for travelers nowadays.

  • Cheryl says:

    I would have to agree to get the Kindle. I had a rocketbook – prekindle days and I am still using it. Project Gutenberg stuff now because no longer supported. I also like the ipod touch – I listen to books and podcasts now – plus the wifi is nice if you are in an area where you can use wifi.

  • Danni says:

    wow. i would just like to second travel junkie’s comment. i have never thought that a kindle would be something i would want – i’m old school when it comes to loving my books. but i hate only bringing one with me on trips and having to chance what might be waiting in book exchanges! i’m reconsidering my prior standpoint… thanks! 🙂

  • A. Billy says:

    I’ve been wondering this myself lately. I love to read on the road, but I tend to read very quickly, and I hate carrying so many books with me. (Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE books. I just don’t like carrying them in my backpack when I’m traveling.) The Kindle is perfectly sized, and it can contain so very many books, but… I have two issues with the Kindle.

    First, it’s not backlit. This isn’t a HUGE issue, but I like to read before bed, and the Kindle still requires another light source in order to do that.

    Second, the books for the Kindle still cost a good chunk of change. The new releases and such still run $10 each. I can go to the book mine and pick up four almost new physical books for that price, or I can get a brand new physical book for that. Maybe I’m just being cheap, but I feel like a digital copy of a book should be a bit cheaper than that.

  • Lauren (Lo) says:

    I desperately want a Kindle as I am about to take off for 4-6 months. I traveled this much last year too and really missed having books and my guide book was too heavy! But alas the price point is too much for me right now to invest in. $400 could cover multiple travel destinations…..

  • medaholic says:

    I could see a kindle being useful if you are on the road for a long time. However, how much time will you actually spend reading?

    If your vacation consists of sitting on a beach and relaxing, having your entire library at your fingertips is a luxury. But when you’re hopping from train to train and living in hostels in a packed urban city, keep your head up and soak up the experience of a different culture.