Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lightening the load

Image via tommysadvice.com

When I was accepted to the NEH 2010, I promptly printed out all of the readings, put them in plastic sleeves, and organized them into a 3-ring binder. I was dismayed when I picked it up and realized it weighed a ton, so in a fit of eco irresponsibility, I photocopied them back-to-back and ditched the binder. And they still weighed a ton. I seriously considered buying a Kindle although I'd heard that manipulating PDF docs onto it was a pain in butt, but the matter became moot once I had to drop out of the trip.

I'm glad I waited because this year's new Kindle, the 4th generation I believe, is completely PDF friendly. I downloaded all the PDF articles from the syllabus in about ten minutes with no problems. I did encounter resistance with the non-PDF's, though. I tried sending some of them to my Kindle email expecting Amazon to convert and send them back to me -- one of the services they provide with the device -- but anything that was not clearly a personal document must have triggered copyright issues, and those articles won't open on the Kindle. I'll have to keep working on this, maybe cutting and pasting into Microsoft Word and seeing if that works.

But overall, I'm very pleased with my new toy. I'm not a tech geek and am usually the last person to get any new device -- a Walkman, a personal CD player, a home computer, a laptop, a cell phone, an iPod, etc. But I love that I can freely download most classics because they're in the public domain and have downloaded Joyce's Ulysses with the optimistic belief that sabbatical is the perfect time to tackle a book like that. And once it becomes possible to share copies of eBooks with friends, the Kindle will come closer to being a real alternative to a hard copy book. But for now, I'm still a dust mites/mold kind of girl!

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