I know the Kindle is not new – in fact the original Kindle was released in 2007 – but with the latest version of the Kindle 3 with the accompanying price drop and improved international availability its not surprising to hear that Kindle ebook sales are now starting to overtake paperback sales.

Why would you take a Kindle traveling though – well frankly why wouldn’t you.

Top Kindle Features for Travel

  • If like me you chose to travel to warm places and want to read by the beach or the pool -you will know that both the cheapest netbook and the fancier iPad and iPhones have the same problem – you can’t  read because of the screen glare. Kindle’s are advertised as being suitable for the beach – because there is no back lighting – you can read a Kindle anywhere you can read a dead tree book.
  • Its light – its really really light: Kindle is 8.5 oz for the WIFI only version or 8.7oz for the 3G+WIFI – thats about 240 grams. Compare that to the weight of the current Lonely Planet’s Thailand guide at 1.5lbs  (680g). Even a light weight paper back weighs in at 11.2 oz (317g) And the Kindle can hold around 3500 books!
  • Battery life – for the WIFI version with the wireless off its about one month (3 weeks with WIFI on). So for many trips you won’t even need to take a charger! Charging is via a USB cable so its quite like you can share a charger with your phone or just charge it from a your laptop if you are taking one.
  • There’s about 650,000 books to chose from and that’s just from Amazon.com – including a lot of free books which are mainly out of copyright older.
  • You can subscribe to your favourite newspaper or magazine and read it anywhere in the world – without paying the international rate!
  • You can add your own documents in many formats which means you can load your travel notes and reservations on to it.

When A Kindle Won’t Do So Well

  • Its not as forgiving about being dropped or sat on as your average paperback. You probably need a case to protect it.
  • You can’t read in the dark with it like you can a netbook or an iPad. You will need a torch or a book light – you can buy cases with lights integrated. Just like a book really.
  • Its unclear how waterproof it is – most books will survive a quick swim. If you like reading in the bath buy a waterproof case!
  • You will still have to turn it off for take off and landings on most flights – even though with 3G and WIFI switched off it can have no effect on the aircraft’s navigation systems.

If you have an iPad  or other table computer do you need a Kindle?  Surprisingly – maybe – its lighter weight and better screen technology means that although you can read a Kindle book on an iPad – you may prefer to but the Kindle as well. Particularly now the Kindle is at a price point which is less than the average smart phone.

Check out current deals on the Kindle with Amazon

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