I’ve really wanted a Kindle for months, but I didn’t *need* one. I am able to read tons of free eBooks from Gutenberg.org on my PDA, an old Toshiba e800 running Vade Mecum. I wanted the Kindle in addition for two reasons: first, so when my DH and I go somewhere together, I could take along something for him to read so he doesn’t get cranky; and second, to be able to take along a ton of books in a very small space when travelling (Amazon says Kindle’s capacity is 3500 average books; my PDA can only store 2-3 before impacting the rest of its functions). Many people rave about Kindle’s e-Ink technology being incredibly easy to read. I never had a problem reading my backlighted, color PDA, so that aspect didn’t influence me. After getting my Kindle, I found a lot of free or very-low-priced eBooks for the Kindle on Amazon.com itself, but nothing so compelling that it made the Kindle a must-have. I don’t have a problem reading the Kindle, but I don’t find it better or worse than my PDA. (Its battery use is sure more efficient, though. The instructions say it can go a month without needing a charge if you leave the WiFi off!)

Now, however, I’ve discovered periodical subscriptions, and the Kindle may have to join the PDA in my purse whenever leaving the house. I like reading magazines and newspapers, but I don’t need more paper piling up in my house, and newspapers are messy and awkward to get folded as I read through them.

I started with four subs through Amazon.com: Home Business, Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, and the Denver Post. I actually live 100 miles north of Denver, but our local paper is a bad joke. Amazon starts all Kindle subscriptions with a 14-day free trial, which I thought was a great idea, and I was curious to see what was included and how easy or difficult it was to read through a periodical on a small eReader.

I also started a thread on Amazon’s Kindle discussion board, asking what other users had thought about the subscription option. One responder mentioned getting subscriptions free through Calibre, a program I was already using to convert eBooks in other formats to Kindle format. But Calibre is a much fancier program than I am used to using, and frankly it intimidates me. So I hesitantly poked around it and I was able to find its capability to grab publications and send them to my Kindle. I actually knew my Kindle’s free.kindle.com email address, so I entered that, and used my gmail.com address for Calibre to send the files from. I cancelled my Amazon.com trials for Denver Post, Reader’s Digest, and Newsweek, and set them up to come via Calibre instead.

This morning, I got some lovely email messages from Amazon that there were files ready to download onto my Kindle, and the names are the ones I set up on Calibre. I’m going to skim the Amazon.com subscription files before downloading the Calibre files, since they may overwrite the Amazon files and I want to compare apples to apples. Stay tuned for further developments!

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