I’m a cheapskate.
In short, that’s the reason I read more e-books than hardcopies. Aside from the main reason of not enough budget for that many books (I live in Indonesia, so if I want to buy imported paperback books in English, which I read mostly even more than those in my mother tongue, I have to search high and low, or buy online, which is a little costly too), I don’t have the space to store all of them. I’m living away from home, in a rent house that’s about the size of your room, maybe even smaller. E-books is the perfect choice because then I can take as many books without taking up as much space. And when it’s time to come back home, I won’t have to send boxes of books. An external harddisk will do.
So far, I’ve always been reading the books on my laptop. On a small, portable table (wow, that sounds redundant), without using any chair, which (automatically) turns my back into that of an octogenarian. In order to ease my aching back, I opt for more comfortable positions for reading. Sometimes I lie on my stomach. Just about anything to make reading a book on laptop so much comfier. Well … I often lie or sit a bit far off the screen and zoom the book in, so that I can read it without glasses. Oh yeah, I wear glasses. One of the perks of being a bookworm, I suppose.
Solution: An E-reader Device
So … I thought about buying a tablet for the longest time. On a low budget, I was left wondering, what should I get? After browsing through the internet and reading lots and lots of reviews comparing all kinds of tablets, I made the
bold and courageous decision to get a Kindle Fire (1st Generation) through a friend who was in the US at the time. That was the end of November 2012. Aaaaand, because she was only going back to Indonesia in Juli 2013, I would have to wait for her because being a cheapskate, I didn’t want to spend more on the delivery (which is kind of a lot, mind you). Aaaaand, because I spent too much time choosing and, consequently, ordered it too close to Christmas shopping time, the Kindle was caught in the so-called Christmas bulk traffic. My friend only received it sometime after Christmas. I can’t remember if it was already January.
Kindle Problems and Limitations and How to Get Around It
I had to read virtually all pages of the Amazon Help to learn about the use of this Kindle Fire. Because Amazon Indonesia does not exist, I had to register with a US address (using the aforementioned friend’s). I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to shop for e-books at the Kindle Store because I don’t own a credit card and had no intention to apply for one just yet. But, we absolutely can buy e-books from the Amazon Kindle Store without a credit card on file, worldwide. From that US Amazon account. The strategy is called gift cards. I had another friend of mine buy me a gift card, which I then redeemed. Just in case I wanted to buy any paid books. So far I only “buy” free e-books offered by Amazon, though.
Classic e-books such as the works of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, etc. are available on Amazon Kindle Store and are free because they already are in the public domain. There are also new free e-books offered in a limited time. I usually browse for daily free e-books in Daily Free Books. The site is pretty extensive, and you can search by genre, ranking, and stars. All this while, without the actual device in my hand, I also send e-books to my Kindle e-mail address, free of charge. Of course, I will have to send ones in the format that are readable on Kindle.
In addition, I also sent the galleys I got from NetGalley (sign up first, sent in a request, then download is possible if your request is approved by the publisher) to my Kindle (after putting my Kindle e-mail address into the account settings).
Now I can already read those books through the Kindle Cloud Reader, even if I haven’t got the Kindle Fire device. I can access it on a computer (my old laptop or the old office PC I was assigned to). When I finally have the Kindle, I will also be able to put in my already-owned e-books through the computer.
Unfortunately, I’m still having problems with downloading apps. I don’t have a US credit card, so I can’t buy any app, even the free ones. Kindle Fire HD comes with a VPN (virtual private network) feature that can help you mask the location of the Kindle, as if you’re using it in the US using a US IP address. Too bad it’s not available on the Kindle Fire. I’ve browsed through the internet for a way to get around this and came across tutorials to side-load or root the Kindle Fire, but I’ll have to study them religiously
seeing that I’m practically technologically illiterate.
Aaaaand, so because I’m outside of US, I will not be able to enjoy the privileges of the one-month Kindle Prime trial and download videos. I kinda want to. But that’s OK. I still have enough video stashed in my 4 harddisks (over 2 TB of movies and TV series and Korean variety shows
most of which I can’t access at the moment due to my HDD giving up on me, but wish me luck on recovering the data once I find the nearest data recovery center or do it myself when I have the time), though it wouldn’t hurt to enjoy this feature.
So, anyone who reads this, assuming that someone does, if you (please) could help me get around the problem of using Kindle Fire outside of US, especially setting up a VPN. If anyone of you have already tried that before (setting up a VPN) or know someone who did, or know someone who knows someone who did, please contact me on this blog. Or just share. We all love sharing, after all.
Are you Indonesian? Read the Indonesian post here.