Amazon Kindle Fire HD (2012)
As I looked through various K words to decide which one to use for the A to Z Challenge, when I saw Kindle, I went no further. Many of you have heard about my love affair with my Kindle Reader. I’ll explain why I’m so addicted, or I mean dependent on the silly little device. My husband surprised me with a Kindle Fire HD in 2012 for my birthday. I reassured him that I wouldn’t use it that much as he hinted around that I needed one before my birthday. I liked good old-fashioned books that I could hold on to and resist from making dog ears when I stopped, in readiness for my next reading session.
I had finished the last draft of my first novel that would soon go on Amazon and that further confirmed to my husband that I needed a Kindle. So against my secret thoughts of money better spent, I smiled and said, “You always pick the best gifts.”
But I was in for a complete mind twist. First off, I had access to hundreds and thousands, no millions of books at my fingertips. I signed up for all the blogs that featured free Kindle books, and every day was like my birthday or Christmas all over again, as I downloaded free books loaded onto my Kindle – and to the cloud. Occasionally I’d buy a book, to support this great new Indie industry, but my goal was to have endless book on my Kindle to choose from. I couldn’t read fast enough.
Then one day I discovered, quite by accident, that my Kindle Fire was also a reader. By going into the setting, I could turn the Text-to-Speech ‘On,’ and then a sweet-sounding computer voice read the book to me, all by just tapping the arrow. This simple ability became as cool as having a clone, because now I could read all these great books while driving, cooking, cleaning and even sometimes working at the computer.
I’ve always loved books on tape for that reason, but now every single book I had acted like a book on tape, minus the fancy accent. I was now more than hooked. Then I found out another secret that was beyond cool. When I registered my new Kindle I was given a Kindle email address, with no instructions as to why. But here’s what you can do, and I do it all the time. Send a document that you’re currently writing to your email address, and the ‘Reader’ part will read your work to you. It’s great for proofreading for a flow of how your story sounds out loud. Before that time, I’d always read my story out loud, but with the reader function, now I didn’t have to–again a huge timesaver.
I don’t know why, but if and when I’d send a PDF file to my Kindle email, the reader function didn’t work. I experimented with Word DOCs and HTML, and an html always worked, so that’s what I send to my email. Simply copy and save the HTML, then download to you Kindle email address. Instantly it’s there to read.
Now here’s the glitch. A year into my love affair with my Kindle, or maybe two year in, my daughter-in-law told me that the new Kindle Fire HD’s don’t have the reader feature anymore. Since Audible was bought out by Amazon, Amazon removed that feature so they’d encourage people to buy the Audible books.
Luckily Kindle’s are made extremely well, and for a couple of years I had insurance on my Kindle in case something terrible happened and it stopped working. I used the insurance one time. However, last week my Kindle stopped taking a charge and I had flashes of a dead Kindle consume my thoughts. I had to go without my Kindle for a good 24 hours and I wasn’t sure if I’d survive. That might sound melodramatic, but now I know I have dependency issues bringing up genuine time-management needs that I met in the past before my Kindle. It’s not even that I’d have to spend another $200.00 for a new Kindle, although that’s a good chunk of money, but it’s that the Text-to-Speech isn’t in the new ones. I don’t think Amazon considered the impact of trauma that would have on some readers, like me.
Now Amazon has a new ‘talking’ kid on the block. The new Echo that provides hands-free voice control for Pandora, Amazon Music, Spotify, Prime Music, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio. But, if you sent a manuscript to Echo, you might be able to hear what it sounds like read, but there’s no way to mark an error, or make any notes at all.
Echo might have crisp vocals that come across on its dual downward-firing speakers to fill the room, but listening to a book, and certainly an unedited book, is more a private thing that you don’t want to be broadcast out to the world – quite yet. So I’m not sold on the Echo.
In my spare time, which isn’t much, I go on Craig’s list and look if there are any Kindle HD Readers 2012, if I ever find one or even twenty of them, I will stockpile them for the frightful day that my Kindle ever leaves me.
I’d love to hear if anybody else uses the Kindle as I do. Or if anybody has had any luck with the Echo, which is about at the same price point.