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Monday, August 29, 2011

What's A Kindle?

I was at a mall about a month ago when I saw an electronics store and I thought of buying a Kindle book light.  I entered the store and approached a saleslady and asked for one.
What’s a Kindle, she asked, with a blank stare.
I must have looked sufficiently puzzled at her “lack of familiarity” with said device, because she turned towards the other saleslady and repeated the question to her.
She didn’t know what a Kindle was, either.
A Kindle is an e-book reading device from Amazon that uses e-ink technology, I might have said, but I didn’t.
I wasn’t particularly interested in informing them of various gadgets that stores such as theirs might have an interest in.
I turned around and left the store, disgusted.
Amazon introduced the first Kindle in 2007; its latest incarnation, the Kindle 3, was released last year. Kindle is a bestseller for Amazon, and is the most popular e-book reader out there. No mass market appeal for Kindle in this part of the world, though; but it has a solid and growing market--mainly book lovers who are also comfortable with the latest tech gadgets. In other words, geeks--the masters of the universe.

I got a Kindle 3 several months ago. Personally, I think this is the greatest invention since indoor plumbing. 
I love how it looks, and its portability. It has a 4gb memory, which means I can carry around an entire bookshelf—nay, a veritable library!—in my hands.

 Plus, the e-ink technology is as soothing to the eyes as the sight of Scarlett Johansson kicking bad guys’ asses in Iron Man 2.

My only beef was, you can’t read on it without external light.
Now some people might find that strange (e-book reader you can’t use without external light), but that is the price for the Kindle e-ink technology; it has no backlight.
E-ink simulates ink printed on paper, so that means less strain to the eyes compared to a back-lighted e-book reader. Plus, e-ink consumes less power, the Kindle can go for a month on a single charge (with wi-fi off). Yes, that's right--a month.
The ink-on-paper simulation is so effective, I sometimes reach for the upper right corner of the Kindle to turn the page. I thought I was holding an actual book.
Like the actual book, you need an external light source to read, especially at night lying on your bed.
So I looked for a Kindle book light.
I tried a few stores, but the Kindle book lights I saw cost about a thousand Philippine pesos, and I refuse to pay for a teeny tiny book light that costs around 13% of the Kindle itself. The Scrooge in me balks at the idea.
There are Kindle book covers that has a built-in book light, but that cover’s price is almost half of a brand-new Kindle.  Besides, I already have a leatherette Kindle cover.
A fortnight ago, I finally got a book light that I think is priced just about right, i.e., dirt cheap.
I got one following a lead after I posted on an online forum a query on where I could get a Kindle book light that “would not cost an arm and an effing leg.”  I was desperate.
Somebody answered that book lights can be had at Ace Hardware, so I went to a hardware store (it was a different hardware store; the nearest Ace Hardware is too far from where I live).
I got a plastic job that promptly falls apart at the slightest pressure.
Also, it has the singular power of causing every person who sees it attached to my Kindle to giggle helplessly.  
The book light is powered by three AAA batteries.

My toes curl in embarrassment just looking at it.
I half-expected my Kindle to ask me to take it to my leader. Looks like a creepy and dorky alien insect, doesn’t it.
I’ve given up using this light; I just leave that damn device lying around in my room.
I once woke up in the middle of the night to see its light shining. Remarkably, it has learned to turn itself on!
There are now many choices when it comes to Kindle book lights, I am relieved to find out.
With luck, I might get an unridiculous -looking one.

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