About eight million people have apparently received a new Kindle this year. So who are these people?
Fortunately, Amazon’s shared some very interesting stories from Kindle owners on the Kindle’s Facebook page. And one of the most fascinating responses came from Eddie R., who apparently leads a very adventurous life. He’d written to tell Amazon that “I do Third World missionary work, and in the past I had taken anywhere from 25 to 40 pounds of regular books as resource material. That has now been reduced due to my Kindle.”
But Eddie’s adventures with his Kindle were just beginning, since he also told Amazon that “I recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. I took my Kindle with me, reading it all the way to the top, which was equal to carrying 100 books up the mountain with a very different weight factor. One of the real benefits is the length of time the battery stays charged 10-12 hours (without wifi) which enabled me to read every night (with a mountain climbing head lamp on), over a seven-day period. I am a very satisfied user!”
Of course, you don’t have to go to Africa to appreciate the Kindle. Barbie G. has a new baby, and she shared with Amazon that “In the first year with my 2nd Generation Kindle, I read 66 books. That was with two kids and a full-time job. It’s great to be able to read while feeding my baby her bottle…!” And a woman named Deborah A. loved how easy it is to turn pages with her Kindle. “The other day I was on the train and was knitting and reading… With a book I usually have to put down the knitting, turn the page, put something on the book to keep it open, then resume my knitting…and all of that I’d have to do for every couple of pages. The Kindle’s page turn bars/buttons on each side are perfect!”
But one of the most fascinating stories came from Vaughn R, who’d actually been part of one of the major news stories of 2010. “As a ‘survivor’ of the Carnival Splendor ‘cruise to nowhere’ I’d like to thank you for making the Kindle, which really helped turn my'”nightmare’ trip into a pleasure.” On its first day the California cruise ship had experienced a fire in its engine room, leaving the 3,299 passengers stranded on board 55 miles from the coastline without any electricity, air conditioning, or hot water, according to one news report. “While other passengers were haplessly ‘dead in the water’ due to the dead batteries on their iPads, my Kindle easily lasted the entire trip even though I used it nearly all day, every day.
“I was able to relax comfortably topside, reading in the bright sun, and enjoy my unexpected extended stay in the middle of the Pacific ocean while reading a large ‘stack’ of books which were loaded on my ultra-thin and light Kindle…”
Vaughn’s story got me wondering if anyone’s reading their Kindle while they’re stuck at an airport — and it turns out the answer is a big yes. “I was on that plane stuck for 12 hours on the tarmac at JFK yesterday,” one Kindle owner posted this afternoon in Amazon’s Kindle forum. “Thank goodness I had my Kindle!” And it turns out it’s a fairly common experience. “Recently, while waiting for my flight at the airport, a voice on a loudspeaker informed the passengers that our plane was delayed because of bad weather,” remembered Sandy B. on the Kindle’s Facebook page, “and it might be two hours before our flight departed.
“Two blissful hours of reading my Kindle sounded like a delicious escape from work, laundry, dishes and bookkeeping.” Instead of being upset about the delay, she wrote Amazon to tell them that she was actually happy about it. “Waiting is WONDERFUL with my Kindle!”
Probably my favorite comment came from a woman named Mary L., who e-mailed Amazon with the ultimate compliment about her Kindle: “It has literally ‘re-kindled’ my love of reading.” But another user thought the name had an even spicier origin. “I was on a ferry ride recently and watched with great amusement as a young man used his Kindle, as ‘chick-bait’. He sat near a group of attractive young women and began reading. It didn’t take more than a few seconds before one of them approached him to ask for a closer look. A man with a Kindle is far more interesting than a man with the latest cologne or the flashiest car… No wonder you called it ‘Kindle'”
This Monday Amazon’s CEO finally shared a story of his own, making the point that the Kindle doesn’t necessarily compete with the iPad. “We’re seeing that many of the people who are buying Kindles also own an LCD tablet. Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies, and web browsing and their Kindles for reading sessions.” Amazon isn’t feeling threatened by Apple’s products, and even bragged in their announcement about a customer who ordered an Apple Mac Mini on Christmas Eve — Friday, December 24, at 1:41 p.m. — and actually received in the same day, less than seven hours later in Woodinville, Washington. But Amazon is still beating Apple in the war of the ebooks, according to another detail in the announcement. Amazon’s three most popular ebooks over the last five weeks were John Grisham’s The Confession, Decision Points by George Bush, and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand — all books which are unavailable in Apple’s iBookstore. And Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos still had one more story to tell, with a very happy ending.
“On Christmas Day, more people turned on new Kindles for the first time, downloaded more Kindle Buy Once, Read Everywhere apps, and purchased more Kindle books than on any other day in history!”