I've been using the Kindle ebook reader for a while now, and have come to rely on it for a lot of things I do in my work. I thought I'd outline why I now regard it as essential. Now, before we go any further, I'd like to say that I'm not being paid by Amazon to promote their stuff. If you decide to buy a KIndle yourself via the link I'll provide, I'll earn 5% of the price in affiliate income, but that's as far as any financial relationship goes.
Also, for all I know, other ebook readers may be even better. I originally bought myself a Nook, which I really liked. But the customer support and the ebook bargains were nowhere near as good as the Kindle's.
Anyway, here's how I get the most out of my Kindle. By the way, it's a Kindle Paperwhite with wi-fi and free 3g. Oh, and that's the affiliate link I was telling you about.
I used to either print off PDFs to read them on my travels, or cart a laptop around with me. I don't like doing the latter, because I don't fancy being mugged. Unfortunately, if I have to read research reports or white papers, the print-out can run to a couple of hundred pages. Keeping them together is a nightmare, they weigh a lot, and it's not exactly environmentally-friendly.
Fortunately, you can read PDFs on the Kindle. All you have to do is find your Kindle's email address, and then send the PDFs by email to your KIndle with the word "convert" in the subject line. (You can find the Kindle's email address by logging in to your Amazon account and then click on Your Account and then click on Manage your content and devices. Then click on the tab labelled Your devices. Your device and its email address will be listed there.)
Read book samples
Even if you prefer printed books, it can be quite handy to read a sample of the Kindle version. Kind of like try before you buy. Note that you don't need an actual Kindle to take advantage of this facility; all you need is the Kindle app.
I tend to use this to obtain samples of education books that look promising.
You can highlight passages and make notes about them on the Kindle. In fact, you can even share them on social media.
Another thing you can do is go to www.kindle.amazon.com, log in using your Amazon credentials, then go to the tab labelled Your highlights. There you will see all the sections you annotated or highlighted, so you can copy and paste them into a document or presentation.
I subscribe to the New York Review of Books on the Kindle, not least because it is much cheaper than buying the print version in the UK. Some blogs can be subscribed to as well -- mine for instance!
Here is the link for people in Europe: UK subscription site
And here's the link for people who buy from Amazon.com: USA subscription site.
I also have a writing blog called Write!, at www.writersknowhow.org, where I write about technology for writers and writing, and review books about writing. That's available on the Kindle too. Same price as the other one. Here are the links:
I'm not sure where the subscriptions are available from apart from Europe and the USA, so if you live somewhere else I'd suggest trying the one that fits in with where you usually buy stuff from Amazon. (I did try to find this out, honest!) I'd be interested to hear your experiences.
There's a two week free trial if you're not sure.
Carry your library around
Finally, I always have a book with me wherever I go. Having a Kindle means I can carry quite a few around without killing myself in the process. The benefit of having a 3g version is that if you forget to download the book you want to read before leaving home (which I frequently do), it doesn't matter because you're not dependent on their being a wi-fi connection. (All the books etc are stored in the cloud of course, but you can download them to individual devices and apps.)
I think the argument between print vs digital books is dead as far as the reader is concerned. Why not have both. Printed books offer particular advantages, especially ones that contain coloured diagrams and tables. Digital books offer other advantages.
Also, I realise that Apple's iBooks can be very colorful and multimedia -- but most of the books I buy are available in Kindle format, but not iBook format.
Amazon is a company that many people, including authors, like to hate. But it does get quite a few things right, and the Kindle is one of those things. It's easy to use, light, and you can acquire a lot of content for it. As an educator, what's not to like?