March 26, 2011 in Washington Voices

A leap of digital proportions

By The Spokesman-Review
 

So, I have a Kindle.

Amazon.com’s bestselling compact reading device arrived over the holidays. My fingers were itching to locate the on button and enter the digital reading realm.

Kindle boasts a flawless screen, ease of use and 3G Wi-Fi that downloads a variety of reading materials through wireless connection. I found the on button and, in a few clicks, I was on my way … to feeling guilty.

Leaping into the digital reading realm felt like a betrayal. Would my true bookstore hobbit nature, the one that thrives on a plethora of paper pulp to release my adventurous imagination, be appeased with this newfangled gizmo?

Kindle had its work cut out for it.

First, I had to purchase an e-book. For a bookworm, surfing the Kindle bookstore is akin to a chocoholic strolling through the Chocolate Apothecary. So many delicacies, so little time. To sweeten the Kindle pot, e-books cost less than their print cousins and thousands of books can be downloaded for free.

After 15 minutes, however, I was yearning for parchment between fingers and the familiarity of beloved bookstores. Pangs of doubt crept in, but dedicated readers will plow through purgatory to find a book. I forged on.

Book found, gift card dinged – I stepped back and held my breath. The book downloaded in less than a minute. That was cool. Guilt complex ebbed a bit.

Next, I had to read a book on Kindle. There are several reasons I STA-it to work. One reason is the 25 minute/two times a weekday uninterrupted read time. I’ve blown through many a newspaper and book because of STA.

On my first Kindle commute home, I pulled out the device, clicked on the book and … well, it was different. Kindle’s weight takes getting used to. After 10 minutes of tapping the next page button and sighing over the loss of pulpy paper between my paws, doubt, once again, crept in.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, I decided, and building my Kindle connection was traveling the same course. Besides, dedicated readers will plow through purgatory to read a book. I forged on. Soon, Kindle and I connected like Avatars with their environment.

The last transitional leap was the newspaper. Did you know you can bypass the paper and ink of old by downloading local, national, and international newspapers and magazines to Kindle? No kidding. I thought this would be the toughest transition for nothing says ‘I’m informed’ like news ink on my face. But dedicated readers will plow through purgatory to read…well, anything. I forged on.

The Spokesman-Review’s digital paper arrives every morning like clockwork. Out of town? The paper follows. Rain, snow, sleet, and hail can’t touch this. Still, like everything with Kindle, it takes getting used to. The graphics are few, ads are absent but delivery and reading is top notch.

As the weeks have slipped into months, this newfangled gizmo is filling my reading niche nicely. The guilt was subsiding, but Kindle had one more test to ace before my traitor-ridden conscience would be quieted.

It needed to pass the Grammie Test.

The Grammie Test shouldn’t be confused with the Grammy Awards for this Grammie involves a lot more than entertainment. It involves Mikayla who, at 7 years of age, is the ultimate whiz with all things digital.

So, what is a Grammie Test? To Mikayla, I’m “Grammie.” The test? If Mikayla likes it, Grammie likes it.

Kindle had its work cut out for it.

During a recent visit, Mikayla latched onto Kindle’s workings faster than its 3G network. We perused oodles of children’s e-books until a Junie B. book was found. Gift card dinged, we stepped back and held our breaths. The book downloaded before you could say SpongeBob SquarePants. I had the privilege of listening to Junie B.’s adventures in Mikayla’s voice.

There’s nothing better than your granddaughter reading to you. Nothing.

So, I have a Kindle. It passed the Grammie Test. My conscience is at peace. Next up, Apple’s iPad 2. Will it pass the Grammie Test?

Mikayla and I will keep you posted.

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