Kindling Interest

I should start by saying that holding an open book--whether in bed, on the beach, at the kitchen table while I eat a solitary breakfast, or with my legs slung over the side of an arm chair--provides me one of my greatest pleasures in life. When I bought my son a Kindle two years ago, I perceived it as one of those new-fangled gadgets I could certainly do without. Until American Express, God bless 'em, offered me a free one  if I signed up for their gold card.

It didn't take long to hook me. Between being able to get just about every classic piece of literature for free and the instant gratification (I still watch the book appear magically on my home page each time I order one, and never fail to get a kick out of it) I was a very happy Kindle customer. And despite what many people may think, the Kindle did not become a replacement for books. If anything, owning a Kindle has broadened my reading in ways I did not expect, and would not have happened otherwise. I tend to reach for the same kinds of books: literary fiction, mysteries, and women's fiction.

But because the Kindle affords so many opportunities for free or inexpensive downloads, I have begun to read more romance, YA, and even fantasy--books I would never have picked up otherwise. And in genres I read regularly, I am discovering new authors all the time. When Death of a Cozy Writer was available for free on Amazon, I grabbed it, and G. M. Malliet now has a new fan.

I read lots of Regencies when I was younger, but hadn't opened one for years until Candice Hern offered her backlist for download. That great cover grabbed me! (Not to mention the cover price of $0.00.) I'm generally not a fan of YA and don't know a thing about steampunk, but a free download of Kady Cross' The Strange Case of Finley Jayne opened my mind to genres I ordinarily ignore. The same goes for Julie Kagawa's Summer's Crossing, a YA novella set in the fairy world.

Now I'm curious: are you a Kindle reader? If so, how has it changed your reading habits? If not, why are you a holdout?