The Kindle – A Real Alternative For Newspapers

I really love reading newspapers that are printed on paper.  I use computers all day and don’t need another computer to look at when I am trying to relax with a cup of coffee at my local Tim Horton’s donut shop.

My paper of choice is the Globe and Mail but there are no Sunday editions so on Sunday I would go to the local variety store to purchase a copy of the weekend edition of Wall Street Journal. I also like reading the New York Times and I would sometimes travel thirty minutes to the nearest Chapters bookstore to get a copy.

Three months ago, the local variety store stopped carrying the WSJ and I faced a crisis of what to read.  While I didn’t mind the 30 minute drive to Chapters to pick up a copy of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal on occasion, it was something I didn’t want to do on a weekly basis.

Why Kindle?

I considered the Samsung Tablet, the Koba, and the Playbook by Blackberry.  In theory, newspapers should be available and readable on these products, but I saw no clear indications from the newspaper publishers or the product manufacturers that either the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal could be read on these products.  Only Amazon clearly stated that theNYT’s was geared to the Kindle. Unfortunately, the WSJ is not available via the Amazon website. I also found the Samsung a bit big for newspaper reading and the Koba too small.  The Koba touch screen model was slow in response.

Why do they make it so difficult to buy?

My first choice was the Kindle Fire but it is not available in Canada.  At the moment, Amazon is not selling it to Canadians online which I found very maddening. However, in hind sight, Amazon may have done me a favour with the recent problems being reported in the U.S.

I next tried to purchase a Kindle with keyboard and the 3G wireless system but by the time all the taxes and duties were added I was going to pay over $500 for a device being advertised for $200.  By this point, I gave up and decided to get use to reading non-fiction while drinking my coffee.

A week later I walked into my neighbourhood Staples office supply store and discovered that they had the Kindle with keyboard and 3G wireless system.

Was it worth the money and effort?

Yes!  Here are my reasons why:

1.)    Reading a newspaper on a Kindle is a pleasure.  The screen is not hard on the eyes and if you purchase the kindle book cover with light, then reading in poor light conditions is great.

2.)    I order a lot of books and DVDs with my Amazon.ca account and their one-click system for subscribing to newspapers is almost too easy.  I can see why some view the Kindles as little money machines for Amazon.  I also buy a lot books from Chapters when I am in their stores, so they should not fear any loss of business from me.  The only loser is my local variety store who will not get anymore impulse buying of lottery tickets.

3.)    The 3G wireless is even better than I first thought.  Every day, the New York Times is delivered to my Kindle.  No worries.  I also like the fact that I can buy individual papers and magazines.  The selections of magazines, however, could be better.

4.)    The total cost to me for the Kindle was $250.00 Canadian and I feel this is very affordable.  Over the course of 2012, I will spend more money on the coffee than what it cost me to buy the Kindle.

Dislikes:

1.)    I could not buy a Kindle Fire in Canada and there were all the additional costs of trying to buy online.  Amazon is so good with their online ordering and pricing that it came as a great surprise that I could get my first choice and that my second choice would cost twice the advertised price.

2.)    The Kindle is still a bit heavy for holding with one hand.  It is like a heavy book opened on the first page.

3.)   Battery life is only good for two to three days if you are reading a newspaper with the 3G wireless system on.  This can be a problem if you forgot to charge it and you are on the road without the power cord.

About Chris Erskine

Visual Artist and independent film-maker. Try to post summaries of my artistic activities once per month. View all posts by Chris Erskine

2 responses to “The Kindle – A Real Alternative For Newspapers

  • Ed Sernie

    Very interesting review. I will have to keep this in mind, the next time I buy a paper. How are you finding the Kindle after 1.5 years?

    • Chris

      Hi Ed,

      Good to hear from you. Yes, the Kindle is working quite well. I still prefer paper to digital but it is really nice to have access to the New York Times anywhere and at anytime. We were at the Cottage two weeks ago, didn’t even get good cell phone coverage, but I could still get the NYTs. I also like the fact that when I see a reference to a book in the paper, I can immediately download the book and start reading it. Again, I still prefer print books but if it is something I will only read once, then the cheap price and quick access make up for the lost of a print copy.

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