Should I get a Kindle Fire?

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!

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8 Comments

Filed under the joys of reading

8 responses to “Should I get a Kindle Fire?

  1. Kara

    I bought a Kindle Fire several months ago. I love it. To address your concerns: #1 I’ve totally gotten my money’s worth already. It replaced my laptop almost completely. I think the money is worth it. #2 It is small enough and thin enough that it’s not a great burden to carry around. I keep mine in my purse along with my wallet. I love being able to just slip it out at any time. And there are all kinds of different types of covers so you can get one that works the best for you. And #3 The download library isn’t the only place to get ebooks. I get a lot of ARCS from netgalley and you can always get the classics. If you’re looking for the popular titles, I’m afraid you are stuck either buying them or waiting forever. That is a bummer. But one thing that could help with your trip….when you purchase a Fire you get a free month of Amazon Prime which means access to videos and books for free. I downloaded several books while I had the access and they’ve stayed on my device after my trial was over, so you wouldn’t have to rush to read them during that month.

    • That’s funny that you mentioned netgalley because I just came across the site yesterday and I think it’s an awesome way to get books.

      Good point about Amazon Prime-I had forgotten about that option. I think part of my hesitance has to do with my loyalty to books. For a while, I thought that I would give up on print books if I got a Kindle, and I didn’t want that to happen. Now, I’m thinking that the Kindle might just be another way for me to access great books and it can act as a supplement to my (extremely heavy) book bag.

      Thanks for your advice and happy reading 🙂

      • Kara

        I felt that way about books too at first, but it has become a second tool. I still read paper books and have at least one with me at all times, but I also like having a dozen options at my fingertips, too.

  2. I’m offering a more-or-less unsolicited opinion here. Yes … you asked, but you don’t know enough about me to trust my “two cents.” We both know Cat’s blog (wildnightin), so maybe you can ask her if you should follow my advice.

    First of all, what a cool trip! Secondly, definitely buy the Kindle Fire. My Kindle (pre-Fire) was the best present I have ever bought myself. Even though it will come out of your limited trip budget, it will be worth every penny. There are also so many free out-of-copyright books you can download, and more library systems are offering e-books to lend. I really think you’d enjoy it on your trip and for a long time to come.

    • Hi!
      I have been going over this question for a while, so all advice (solicited or not) is greatly appreciated. After I complained about the waiting lists, I realized that it’s a matter of putting books on reserve and (heaven forbid) being patient until they become available. If there is a new book that I need to read right away, I’m probably better off putting a print copy on reserve. Since I work at a library, this shouldn’t be too much trouble 🙂

      I have a lot of planning ahead of me to get everything for the trip in place, but I am looking forward to seeing my international friends and doing some exploring.

      I definitely trust Cat’s opinion: I followed your blog and can’t wait to get a few minutes to read more of it.

  3. Hi. Will you be going back to Santiago de Compostela? Hope you enjoy seeing friends and family.
    As for purchasing the kindle fire… before I was given a kindle for Christmas I couldn’t stand e-readers. Then I packed my suitcase for the flight back to France and found that I had a lot more space in it. If you’re reading Infinite Jest then you may appreciate being able to carry the ‘lite’ version around.
    You don’t have to buy books on it unless you want to (or arrive in a country where you can’t get the sequel to the amazing book you’ve just finished and need to know what happens next). There are so many (free) old books out there just waiting to be re-discovered and a plethora of (free)self-published gems that people have yet to introduce to the world.
    The two issues I’ve had with my kindle are, firstly, that it shows what % of a book I’ve read, which feels very un-natural after years of seeing the page numbers and feeling the weight shift. Secondly, in areas that look a little rough, I don’t feel comfortable whipping out £85 of technology and sitting there with it. Which has meant that one or two long waits at the train station have been dull.
    Good luck with making your decision! 🙂

  4. You bring up some good points: I didn’t realize about the percentage feature (in terms of how much of the book I’ve read). That would probably take some getting used to. In that same vein, I am very fond of flipping back and forth in a book (usually to re-read sections). I have heard that this is a little more difficult with an e-reader. Also, good point about waiting in rough areas…I can imagine that would be uncomfortable.

    I will probably not have time to visit SDC this time, unfortunately. I am going to keep most of the locations a secret for now, because of an upcoming blog feature (to be revealed later this week). I have been meaning to ask: where do you live in England? If you will be there in late August, I am planning to be in Manchester and would love to meet you for tea, if at all possible. Feel free to add me on goodreads: The Lupine Librarian (Abby) if you want to message about it 🙂

    After all of the positive feedback about the Kindle Fire, I am seriously thinking about getting one for the trip (and I’m sure I’ll use it a lot after the trip as well).

  5. Pingback: Kindle Fire vs Ipad 3 | Kindle Fire vs Ipad 3

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