My Favorite Kindle Stories From Real Users

Screenshot from new Amazon Kindle TV ad - The Book Lives On

A while back I put out a call to a journalist’s network, asking Kindle users to answer one simple question: what’s your own favorite story about using the Kindle? The answers poured in from all across America, but each person seemed to have a very positive experience that was also very unique! For example, Patrick Kerley, an account supervisor for a PR firm in Washington, D.C., remembered a great Kindle story about his mother. “She and my father were traveling between North Carolina and southern Florida when they blew a tire. The Kindle’s web browser helped them locate a replacement!”

I thought about that story today, because Amazon this fall Amazon didn’t included the free 3G service for web browsing with their new Kindle Touch (and the new $79 Kindle). So the experience of owning a Kindle is a little different today — though of course, it’s also made the new Kindles cheaper. And for Kindle Touch owner’s, Amazon’s still making free 3G service available for browsing in the Kindle Store. So it’s still going to possible for Kindle owners to stumble into their own unique experiences of using their Kindles in unexpected real-life situations.

For example, the free wireless internet access once played an even bigger role for Sophia Chiang, a San Francisco entrepreneur on an extended trip through China. She reported that the Kindle was a great way to buy “uncensored English magazines like Newsweek, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Atlantic Monthly.” Amazon’s Whispernet network actually allowed her to circumvent the Chinese government’s ongoing news censorship.

Her Kindle also let Sophia beam down travel guidebooks that were written in English. “We went on a last minute trip to a more remote part of China and we got our Lonely Planet guide immediately on the Kindle.” Without the Kindle, she reported on her blog, the only alternative would’ve been scrambling around trying to find a Chinese bookstore, and then hoping that they’d have a travel guidebook, in stock, that was written in English!

Because it was a long trip, Sophia was also glad that her Kindle could last for over a week without a recharge. But her last reason was one of the most exciting. Even though I’ve written a lot about children’s books on the Kindle, Sophia is the first person I know who’s actually using the Kindle to buy ebooks for her children. (“Our kids loved the Kindle and loved being able to buy Magic Tree House, ABC Mysteries series even in the middle of the Middle Kingdom.”)

And speaking of kids, I think my all-time personal favorite response probably came from Marc Pittman, who runs a fundraising-education business in Maine. At the time, he described himself as a “proud owner” of an original Kindle 1, and says “I think my happiest moment so far happened at the playground last week. I was using my iPad (*gasp*) when a 5 year old kid ran past, stopped, and shouted ‘Cool Kindle!’

“Kids know where the real innovation is!”

I’d also heard from Andrea McKinnon, a publicist in Burbank who was “an avid book lover, reader and saver” — until her husband dared to give her a Kindle in May as a Mother’s Day gift… Within seven days, Andrea was assigned a 250-page manuscript, and she’d had to read the entire thing before passing it on to a publisher. “My choices? Read 250 pages on my laptop or print out 250 pages.” But wait! There was a third choice — uploading the document to the Kindle, and then reading it as an ebook! And — to cut to the end of the story — Andrea soon began describing herself as “a new Kindle convert.”

“I was also traveling at the time, so along it came with me, to read on the plane and in the hotel, along with the novel I was reading at the time. One small Kindle, two giant tomes en route for work and pleasure!”

And meanwhile, on the opposite coast, a woman named Elaine Bloom was also enjoying her Kindle for an entirely different reason. Elaine described herself as a LinkedIn Strategist, but unfortunately, she also had a broken left leg. (“I fell on ice in a diner parking lot at the beginning of March…”) It was painful, and her foot was constantly kept elevated — which made it difficult to read in different positions, or even turn the pages of a conventional book. But fortunately, with the Kindle “I could easily read it while I was lying down in bed. I could hold it in one hand and use that same hand to hit the button to advance the page. It would have been difficult for me to hold a book and no way I could read and turn the pages with one hand.” The grateful New Jersey woman reported that the Kindle “saved my sanity….I was able to do a lot of reading when I couldn’t do anything else.

“The only other thing I could do was watch daytime television — which could drive you crazy!”

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