My best inanimate friends here are my smartphone for all the useful apps I’ve downloaded, and which I use on a daily basis, and my Kindle. If you’re an avid reader, or even just someone who likes to bring a good book with you on holiday a few times a year, I don’t think you’d regret investing in a Kindle. Why?
1. All books in Colombia are expensive, unless you go to a second-hand bookstore in the center, such as the enchanting Librería Merlin, or buy from a street book-seller. You will spend a lot more on a novel in Spanish or English from one of the national bookstores, like Librería Nacional or Panamerica than you normally would in the UK (no Penguin Classics here!), whereas on the Kindle, most books cost between £3-£7 ($4.50-$7.50) and there are also thousands of books which you can download for free or for less than a dollar. Another great thing about the Kindle is that you can download a free sample, which normally includes the first few chapters of a book, to see if it grips you or not before you commit to buying.
2. The English-language books you can find there are limited. You’ll be able to get hold of the classics and world-famous authors such as J K Rowling, but unless you manage to get involved in a book-swap with other expats, it’s slim pickings. With the Kindle, you have access to the hundreds of thousands of books on sale on Amazon, including all of the latest releases, and they will be a lot cheaper than buying them in a Colombian bookstore or getting someone from home to post you a hard-copy!
3. Because of my Kindle, I’ve been able to participate in a monthly book-club that a few of my friends and I set up here. Whenever we’re choosing our next book, we know that we’ll all be able to download it onto our Kindles instantly and for a reasonable price. Our book-club is a social event that I really enjoy, so I’m really glad I invested in my Kindle!
4. If you have a PDF file (or other format of a book/article), you can easily send this through to your Kindle so that you can read it comfortably in bed, when you’re out and about, or on holiday; in other words, you’re not just restricted to reading articles on your laptop. All you need to do is find out your Kindle email address (eg. firstname.lastname@example.org) by checking on Amazon’s website, and then attach the PDF to an email sent from your normal email account, and send it to your Kindle email address with “Convert” in the subject title. It will then be converted into the Kindle .mobi format and voila! You can start reading it on your Kindle!