Over a month ago I bought myself an Amazon Kindle. For those of you who haven’t seen these or heard of them, the Kindle is an electronic book-reading device.

I should mention that this decision was a bit of a dilemma for me. On the one hand, I am a techy guy who loves gadgets. On top of it, I’m a big Apple user and am very interested in devices like the iPad. But on the other hand, I love books. Real books, with real paper. I hate to read longer documents on computer screens, and only do so when absolutely necessary.

But I bought a Kindle. And I love it. Here’s what sold me (and a few reasons I bought this rather than just saving up for an iPad).

Reading on a Kindle is like reading a book. It really is. It’s not a back-lit screen, but what they call their e-ink technology. It doesn’t seem to cause the same kind of eye strain that you would have with an LCD display, nor do you get glare from surrounding light. I know that the iPad has a great e-book reader, and there is even a Kindle app which can be used on the iPad and iPhone. But for the reading experience, the Kindle display wins hands-down.

Shelf Space –  I am now getting to the point that I really don’t have much more room in my study at church for too many more books. My shelves are nearly full. I don’t think this means that I will never buy a hard-cover book again, just that I need to be more judicious about which books deserve a place on my shelf. I’ll save the paper for books that I will want to have on hand, like reference books, lexicons, and some of those classics that I’ll want to fill with marginal notes and highlights. But for many volumes, I will be happy to be able to carry them all around in an 8.5 ounce device.

Cost – The Kindle is available for as low as $114. Obviously, this doesn’t really compare to something like the iPad, because the Kindle basically does one thing, and does it very well. The iPad does lots of things really well. And that is reflected in the price. There are also free readers available for Mac and PC, iPhone and iPad, Android, etc. Additionally, many of the books available on Amazon are cheaper in Kindle format than their print counterparts. And no one has to pay to ship an e-book to you since it is immediately available on your devices. I already prefer to buy books from, because their books prices are generally cheaper and because it’s easier to qualify for free shipping than most other online retailers. The Kindle store even has books from smaller publishers like Concordia Publishing House, which carries a great selection of Lutheran material.

Another great feature is the ability to send personal documents to read on the Kindle. This is great for longer documents (Word, PDF, RTF) that I have on my computer, but in order to read it I would either need to read it on the computer screen or print it out. Most often, these are things like essays and papers. Reading it on the Kindle is much more pleasant than any alternative.

The Kindle even gives me the ability to share highlighting and notes. It’s that much easier than typing out interesting quotes and then posting them to something like a Tumblr account. Here all I need to do is select the section, type a note, and post.

So, as you can tell, I’m sold. If you do lots of reading, and would appreciate the portability and convenience, I would highly recommend the Kindle. If you’re not interested in an e-reader, but want all the features of the iPad, go ahead and save your pennies. I hope that someday I might be able to have that, too. [One interesting side note: I have talked to a few people who have never been avid readers, but having this device has sparked their desire to read considerably more.]

If you are already a Kindle user, go ahead and follow me here.