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Are you considering getting a Kindle but are not sure if you would like it or how you would use it? Maybe this will help with your decision: Picture this: your daughter has a paper to write on Aesop's Fables that's due tomorrow. She forgot the book at school and it's late enough that the school is locked up tight as a drum. Your local Borders store closed last week and the closest Barnes & Noble is over 45 minutes away. All of her classmates need their books to write their papers and the library is closed, so borrowing a copy is out of the question. What to do? Imagine this: your mother's eyesight has been fading for years, to the point where she has difficulty with her favorite pastime - reading books. Large print books are too heavy for her and she has dropped out of her book club. You miss seeing the light in her eyes when she talks about her new favorite book. How can you help? Consider this: your son was assigned A Tale of Two Cities in English class but there are a lot of new vocabulary words for him in that book. He slogs through the book, spending more time with the dictionary than with Dickens. He loses his place repeatedly as he is stopping too often to look up words, failing to appreciate the novel or get immersed in the plot. How can he improve his reading? Another scenario: you are packing for a weeklong trip and you are close to the weight limit on your luggage. You have a choice of packing either another outfit or the novel you want to read, the 1000+ page book Under the Dome, by Stephen King. Which to choose?

A Kindle eReader ($139 for the Wi-Fi only model) solves all of these problems. How can Kindle help? You whip out your Kindle and download Aesop's fables for free. That's right, $0. The book is on your Kindle within seconds from when you go to the Kindle Store on your device (Go to Menu, Shop in the Kindle Store, Search for the book and press Buy). Your daughter can even search for terms on the Kindle by typing words on the Kindle's keyboard. No late night trips to the bookstore only to find the book is sold out. Easy, instant and free! You give your mom a Kindle and help her increase the font size to where she can read the words easily. (This is easily done by clicking on the AA button on the keyboard and selecting the font size that works best for her). You show her how easy it is to find the book she wants to read on her Kindle, no computer necessary, and download it for her. You smile with delight a week later as she excitedly tells you about her new favorite book, The House at Sugar Beach, by Helene Cooper, and that she has re-joined her book club.

You hand your son your Kindle with A Tale of Two Cities ready for him on the screen (this book is also free on the Kindle). He moves the cursor to a word he doesn't know and sees the dictionary definition pop up on the screen. He finishes the book before the due date and gets an A on his English test. You tuck your Kindle into your purse (or man-purse/murse), as it only weighs 8.5oz (240g) and is small in size, 7.5" x 4.8" x 0.335" (19cm x 12cm x 0.85cm). You pack your extra outfit in your suitcase plus have room leftover for souvenirs. No need to pack the power cord as the charge on the Kindle will last a month. You smile as you read Under the Dome on the beach while sipping your piĂƒÂąa colada, knowing that the money you saved on buying the Kindle version of the book paid for your drink!

Plenty of other reasons exist to get a Kindle, including having the ability to highlight your favorite passages and share them on Facebook and Twitter, or the ability to share your books with, and borrow books from, other Kindle users. You can browse the web with the Kindle and check email. You can even read the Kindle in the bathtub or swimming pool with the help of a gallon-sized Ziplock bag. With the money you save on buying eBooks, the Kindle might even pay for itself. Many people ask me why I have a Kindle if I have an iPad (the iPad has a Kindle app available so you can read your Kindle books on your iPad). I still enjoy reading on my Kindle over my iPad because my Kindle is lighter weight and easier on the eyes as the Kindle uses E Ink on its screen while the iPad has a backlit screen. I compare it to having a camera when you have a cell phone with a camera. The cell phone camera is fine for everyday pictures, but for more important pictures, I still want to use my camera. People tell me they don't want to read eBooks because they like the feel of a book in their hands and they enjoy the smell of books. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to take books away from anyone. You can still read paper books (the tech world calls them DTB, Dead Tree Books) even if you have a Kindle. But you may find many instances in your life when having a Kindle can be wonderful.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr is the author of the personal technology blog, designed to explain personal technology in plain English. The world of personal technology is exciting and changing rapidly, but can be confusing. The Wonder of Tech brings you developments in an easy to understand way that will get you excited about using technology. The Wonder of Tech brings the wonder of personal technology to you!

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Kindle to the Rescue  

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