I got a Kindle for my birthday not quite two years ago. Since then, Lynne bought one for her dad Christmas '09, I gave one to my daughter for her birthday last year, a brother-in-laws bought one for one of Lynne's sisters and I bought another for my other daughter, and Lynne (having only just finally made up her mind not to waight for a tablet computer she likes) plans to buy one really soon (depriving me of one of those golden perfect-gift opportunities). We like the Kindle so much we've actually re-purchased several books we have in our paper collection or have gotten on loan from friends so we can read them on the Kindle.
* When you hear about a nifty book from PBS/NPR/NYT/???, you can usually download a free sample, then save it until you're looking for a new book to read. I rarely buy a book these days without downloading the freebie. As a result, I'm reading more books I absolutely love and wasting less time and money on books I wish I hadn't wasted my time and money on.
* When I come across a word I don't know on my Kindle, I just highlight the word and click. There are all sorts of cheap, useful reference tools you can buy and have at your fingertips, from the CIA World Factbook to Bartlet's Quotations.
* If you like classic literature, like Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, A Christmas Story, you can get them for free or really cheap (because the $1-$2 pay versions are often formatted better for Kindle reading).
* The Kindle opens to whatever book and page you were reading when you last set it down.
* You're not tied to just the Kindle. Lynne moves her reading back and forth between her computer, Android phone, and my Kindle. When she picks up her reading on a new device, she simply syncs the Kindle and it brings her to the page she was last reading.
* Big, thick, heavy books are not big, thick, or heavy when you read them on a Kindle.
* You can haul your whole library with you without taking up the space or weight
* Once you're done reading a book, you can delete it from your Kindle and Amazon will remember you bought it and allow you to re-load your copy for free.
So, we love them. But what are the disadvantages?
* I have never had a paperback tell me it's batteries are low and I need to charge it before I can read it.
* If you're the kind of person who reads a book once and never looks at it again, used book stores are cheaper. (Otherwise, see what I had to say about being able to take your entire library with you.)
* You can not loan a Kindle book to a friend who also has a Kindle. (Though you can get together with several friends or family members and register your Kindle to a common account so you can all share the books you buy.)
* Some pictures and illustrations do not work well on the Kindle.
* It is harder to flip back through the pages you've read, looking for a passage that suddenly seems pertinent during a plot twist. (I find I do this sometimes when I'm reading a mystery/thriller.)
* You can annotate passages in the margins, but the annotation tool is very limited. If you like to write annotations in the margins of your books, the Kindle may not work well for you.
* You can buy a book in a bookstore fairly anonymously. When you buy an e-book, not only is that purchase is registered in the library list the vendor keeps for you, your reading habits for each book are tracked. (Which is how the Kindle knows where you are in a book as you move from device to device.) Amazon's computers not only know what you've bought, they also know what you're reading and when you're reading it.
* If you're the paranoid type and have the 3G Kindle, AT&T can track your movements the same way they can track a cell phone.
* And, lastly, when you buy a Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, or Apple iPad, you tie your book buying habits and fortunes to one particular vendor who may or may not sell the book you want to read, and may go out of business or be sold or change policies.