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It's Cyber Monday! Some of you may be scrambling to snatch up every amazing deal or, like me, you're finding yourself constantly having to talk yourself out of "amazing" deals for things you don't really need. I've sworn off Amazon.com for the day (probably not really), but for those who may be enticed by the site's FIREDEAL, which takes $30 off the Kindle Fire tablet, here are a few things to consider about Amazon's Kindle.
Here's the fine print:
Today only, save $30 on Kindle Fire (with or without special offers). Enter promotional code:FIREDEAL at checkout.
It's an OK deal and certainly brings the cost of the basic Amazon tablet down well below the $150 mark. Unfortunately, Amazon isn't extending the promotion to any of their other Kindle devices.
If you're still on the fence about this offer, here are a couple pieces of advice from a Kindle fan who's always eager to talk up these devices. First off, so I'm not misrepresenting myself here, I've tinkered with the Kindle Fire, but I own a Kindle Touch. I use the eReader for reading books and an iPad 2 for all of my tablet-using needs.
Why get an eReader? If you're an avid reader who despises clutter, it's time. I get it. People like their books. They like to hold them and touch the pages. I'm personally partial to the smell of old books, so I'm not passing judgment on the appreciation of an actual book. However, books tend to take up space and paperbacks tend to fall apart over time (especially if you're a fan of re-reading books), which are two reasons an eReader can really come in handy. And why take one book with you on a trip or a long commute when you can have your whole collection in one device? There's also the added benefit of instantly (or within seconds) having the next book you want to read purchased, downloaded and ready to go as opposed to having to order it online or visit a store to pick up the actual book. No wait. Virtually instant gratification if you're within range of wifi.
Why get a Kindle? I have a little experience with iTunes eBooks, but most of my eReading experience is with the Kindle and Amazon.com. When it came to choosing an eReader, I went with the Kindle over the Nook because I shop at Amazon more than Barnes & Noble. For me, familiarity with the store and positive customer reviews sold me on the Kindle, but others may take a closer look at other eReader devices before making their choice. So while I can't offer much of a comparison between the Kindle and other devices/eBook stores, I'm beyond satisfied with the selection and pricing of Amazon's eBooks. From classics to new releases, it's not often that I'm looking for a book that Amazon doesn't have available for the Kindle. And the prices for the books are usually reasonable. I also opt to receive the daily email, which notifies me of which books are on sale each day.
The site also offers the added benefit to Prime subscribers to borrow one book per month from their Kindle Owner's Lending Library (the selection there is limited but there are plenty of options to choose from). And Kindle now has lending capabilities, which - depending on whether or not the publisher permits it - allows you to lend a book to another Kindle user. Amazon has also incorporated the fantastic Whispersync for Voice feature, which offers a discount on certain audiobooks (if you own the Kindle version of the book) and syncs between the eBook and the audiobook, so you can easily switch between book to audiobook and back without having to find your place. More on that here.
Should you get the Fire or the Kindle eReader? : If you're just looking for something to read books on, I'd personally recommend going with one of Amazon's Kindle e-Readers, like the Kindle Paperwhite or if you're on a budget, the basic Kindle. The Fire (and the Fire HD) offer oodles of extra options, including a shiny colorful viewing experience, web-browsing, video and app capabilities and social networking features (Facebook, Twitter, etc), but for reading a book, you're looking at a backlit screen, which can cause some strain on the eyes. Comparing the Fire to the Kindle as an eReader is like comparing a computer screen to an actual book. Kindle's eReaders do not have backlit screens, which means you aren't staring at a light while you're reading. So if you're looking for something that's mainly for reading and you aren't especially interested in all of the tablet add-ons (or you already have an alternative device with those features), the Fire may not be the best option.
Save money with the Special Offers version: The price difference between the "With Special Offers" and "Without Special Offers" is only $15, but you're probably better off going with the cheaper option and putting that extra $15 toward a couple of books. The ads included in the "With Special Offers" version show up as the screensaver display on the Fire's lock screen. They aren't annoying, spammy pop-ups that get in the way of you actually using the device. It's just a difference in what you see on the screen when the device is locked (not in use). And if the Fire works like the Kindle eReader, you should be able to lose the Special Offers by paying the difference later on if you decide you really hate them.
Thinking about getting an iPad or some other tablet instead of the Kindle Fire?: If you're shopping around for other tablets, don't think that rules out using Amazon for your eBook shopping needs. Kindle has a free app for various devices, including Android smartphones, the iPhone, iPad and computers (Windows and Mac), which will allow you to access Kindle books through alternate devices. It's worth noting (in case this is a deal breaker, if you're a Prime subscriber) that the Kindle Owner's Lending Library is only accessible through Kindle devices. So if that's a big feature for you, you'd need a Kindle to take advantage of that. But if you're enticed by Amazon's library of eBooks and more sold on another tablet, you don't need a Kindle to buy and read Kindle books.
This is all based on my experience with the Kindle and Amazon.com. Considering there's still a few hours left on the deal, I thought I'd share it for those of you who are still uncertain about purchasing a Kindle. Those of you who are fans of other eReaders and eBook sources (Barnes & Noble, iTunes, etc), feel free to weigh in with a comment below!
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