That question has been on my mind lately. In late August, I am going to Europe for a couple of weeks to visit friends and family. For the first week or so of the trip I will be traveling alone. I plan to fly with Ryan Air (an airline known for their cheap ticket prices. The cheap ticket prices mean that other travel luxuries (such as checked luggage) are not an option…unless you want to pay extra) and therefore I plan to only take a carry-on bag. When I travel I usually take many books with me because I know that I will have a lot of waiting ahead of me (waiting for the plane to take off, waiting to get to the next destination, layovers, etc.) and for me, waiting is most bearable when I have something to do. I prefer to read in these situations to keep myself occupied, and also to keep myself company. I feel less alone, somehow, when I’m immersed in another world, even if it is fictional.
Anyway, considering that I’ll be gone for several days and will need more than one change of clothes, I can’t afford to take heavy books with me (especially because I plan to be reading Infinite Jest this summer, which might count as a second carry-on). However, I could purchase a Kindle Fire, buy the e-book of Infinite Jest and ensure that I use the last couple of weeks of summer to read complete the challenge. With the Kindle Fire, I could also bring other books, a couple of movies, and magazines (not to mention the option to go online).
It sounded like a no-brainer at first. The Kindle Fire is portable and can store thousands of books and other forms of entertainment. Theoretically, if I could pick up a wi-fi signal in a cafe or airport, I could blog during layovers or while waiting for friends. But I’m hesitant about the purchase for a few reasons. Here are my personal pros and cons to buying a Kindle Fire.
Pro #1: The Kindle Fire can store many many many more books than I can carry with me. I could make some major progress on my TBR pile.
Pro #2: Wi-fi means I would have the ability to blog while waiting for various forms of transportation. I could also access facebook, and considering that I won’t have my cell phone with me, it would be nice to have some way to contact the people I’m supposed to be meeting.
Pro #3: Thinking in the long term, owning a Kindle Fire would allow me to become much more familiar with the device. Many patrons come in the library each week with questions, and it would be nice to know the answers instead of having to ask another librarian or Google.
Con #1: Although I think that the device is affordable ($199) it would be coming out of my trip budget, and it may just be an extra expense that isn’t necessary. I’m the kind of person who thoroughly considers big purchases (if you couldn’t already tell) and I wouldn’t want to regret buying it.
Con #2: In addition to my passport, other ID, money, and camera, it would be one more important thing to keep track of on the trip.
Con #3: Thinking in the long term, I’m a person who reads library books, almost exclusively. I’m around books all day and I always wind up taking a few home with me. I try to avoid buying books, and by the same token I would try to avoid buying e-books. I could take advantage of the download library, but I have heard about the epic waiting lists for popular titles, so I’m not sure that it would be a main source of reading material for me. Would I use the Kindle Fire enough to make it worth my while?
As you can see, there are three jelly beans on each side of the scale (Boy Meets World, anyone?) So, here’s where you come in. If you have a Kindle Fire (or an opinion about them) what do you think are the pros and cons? Please leave your advice in the comments 🙂
I will probably be blogging about my trip as it draws near (or, at the very least, I plan to post pictures while I’m traveling). For future reference, I will refer to my upcoming vacation as the:
Amazing Western European Sojourn Of Mythic Experiences!