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First of all a disclaimer:  I LOVE my Kindle. (Every marketing professional working with today’s fractured communication channels needs one – but more on that below) In fact, I love my Kindle so much that when that nasty little housecleaner I hired (because I felt sorry for her) stole my Kindle (which had been a birthday gift from my sweetie-patootie), I immediately got onto the computer to order another one.

(Imagine that housecleaner’s surprise when she finally figured out that I was able to deauthorize my Kindle with the kind help of Kindle support staff – and he also did something that prevents my stolen Kindle from ever being authorized by anyone again… In other words, my stolen Kindle has been rendered useless – forever.)

Why the Kindle is Every Professional’s Best Friend

Let’s face it, most of us have a lot to learn. No, it’s not because we’re all stupid. It’s because the communications landscape is changing at such a rapid pace that we’ve all got to keep seeking information that aids us in mastering the new technologies and opportunities that are available to us – because of this shifting landscape.

Blogs, of course, are a great way to keep on top of this rapidly changing environment. You can read them at your desk. You can read them in Starbucks on your laptop. You can read them on your iPhone or iPad on the bus. And some of these bloggers are at the forefront of how to manage this communications landscape – so you’d better be reading their blogs.

But sometimes, you want to look further in depth into a niche area of this landscape. Maybe you want a general overview of upcoming technologies and how they might affect your career path, or even your bottom line. Maybe you want to read the books published by your favorite bloggers. Maybe you just want to take a break from the overwhelming number of blog entries stacking up that you want to read, and you just want to sit back with a BOOK.

But how the heck do you choose which books to read? There are thousands of books written on how businesses have to adapt to this changing landscape, and any number of them might be great, but any number of them might be duds.

This is where your Kindle comes in.

Reason # 1:  My favorite feature of the Kindle – and my main reason why I think you should have one – is that you can download a sample of a book from the Kindle website to read – and evaluate.

I do this all the time. I my spend spare time seeking books to sample from the Kindle site (like there IS any spare time – okay, so maybe you have to set aside some time to do this…). And let me tell you, I download a lot of samples.

How is this different from just navigating to the Amazon site and using their “Look Inside” feature? Well, you download these samples to your Kindle – and then read them at leisure when you are offline or don’t have access to your G4 network.

Strategic Public Relations: 10 Principles to Harness the Power of PR, by Colleen Moffitt and Jennifer Gehrt

An example of Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature. This timely and relevant book was written by Colleen Moffitt and Jennifer Gehrt, co-owners of Communiqué PR, a Seattle-based PR firm that does amazing work!

For example: I’m a research junkie. I love to scour the internet for information and ideas and novel concepts others are working on.  But I live in the country, outside of a small city in Northern Ontario. I even heat my house with a wood stove – and that’s all. There is no 3G or 4G networks out here! Heck, there isn’t even cell reception out here. So I have to rely on my Mac’s airport to pick up my home wireless connection to allow me to do whatever I want wherever I want in the house. But as soon as I leave my house I have no access to any networks. And the coffee shop that I go to with my sweetie-patootie is about 1.5 miles from our house – and they certainly don’t have free wi-fi.

But I’ve always got my Kindle. It fits in my pocket, or in the side pocket of my briefcase, or just sits on the dashboard of the van while we drive. And on my Kindle – if I’ve been doing my homework – are tons of samples for me to read and sift through, evaluate, and then decide which books to buy. It’s a great feature. It allows me to sift through the garbage out there that is published because of some great marketing scheme. Rather, I can sift through the samples I’ve downloaded on a broad range of subjects and decide what I’m interested in reading about at that moment.

I found a great book this way just the other day: Strategic Public Relations: 10 Principles to Harness the Power of PR, by Jennifer Gehrt and Colleen Moffitt. (see YESTERDAY’S FIRST POST for a review of this excellent book)

I love it.

Reason # 2:  You Can Organize your Kindle Content Into Categories

Another great feature of the Kindle is the ability to create categories in which to organize all your books. And I LOVE to organize things.

On my Kindle, I’ve got the following categories:

★Marketing Books
★Management Books
★Creating Creativity Books
★Fiction
★Guides
★PR Books
★Excerpts (testing)
★Excerpts (to buy)

Notice the last two categories; these are where I store my downloaded samples. First of all they go into the Excerpts (testing) category, and IF I like the sample enough to want to buy the book, I move them into the Excerpts (to buy) category.

And the duds? I just delete those stinkers.

Reason # 3:  It’s Simple to Buy Books After Evaluating the Sample:

You can set up your Kindle with your encrypted credit card info (which isn’t stored on your Kindle, anyway – it’s stored on the very secure Amazon servers) and, when you decide it’s time to buy (like, when you get your paycheque), then you just go to the sample, use the very simple navigation tools to open a page that allows you to just buy the book right there. And Amazon’s “Whispernet” technology downloads within about a minute – as long as you’re linked to the internet. If you are not currently connected, then it will process the payment and download the book as soon as you turn it on in an area where you can connect.

Simply wonderful.

On average, I usually have about 25 – 30 samples in my Excerpts (testing) category, and fewer in my Excerpts (to buy) category. Because some of these excerpts really tell me that I do not want to buy the book. Either the info is outdated, or the writing is too questionable, or I just simply find out that I’m not interested in this particular book.

This method of downloading samples to evaluate allows you to make choices of which books to buy based on your interests, your needs (what you need to learn), your desires (the fiction books you sample) and your goals.

Now THAT’s a lesson in content marketing, eh?

Reason # 4:  You Can Download Documents to Your Kindle to Read Offline

You can download documents to your Kindle, either from the cloud or from your computer – and read them at leisure when you’re away from your desk or laptop.

Wow.

When I downloaded a great whitepaper from KC Associates that further explained the conceptual basis for developing their Web Presence Optimization (WPO) solutions, I then downloaded it to my Kindle, and when I went out for coffee with my Sweetie-Patootie in the early afternoon, that’s when I read it and got even more excited about their ideas. (see my OTHER POST from yesterday). So when I got back home, I was ready to blog about them and their exciting solution for getting the big picture of your WPO.

And…

Reason # 5:  You Can Read Your Kindle Books on Your Other Devices

Amazon has apps to download and read your books for the iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows PC, etc. (I’m not sure about Blackberry, though. I should check this out…)

With this feature, you can read your books and samples anywhere. Simply anywhere. Simply ingenius. And the best part about it is that if you start reading a book on your Kindle, then continue that book on your iPad on the bus because you forgot your kindle at home, you’ll find that Amazon has synched your devices so that when you open your book on the other device, it opens to the last page you were reading on your Kindle. Or whichever device you were last using it on.

Wow. I really like this.

Summing up:

So, you see why I love my Kindle? And do you see why I think YOU should get one, too? I hope so. Because if you really want to stay on top of what is happening with your communications strategies, then you’ve really got to do some in-depth reading.

And sometimes, you just need to wind down – remember the Fiction category?

So, what eBook reader do YOU use (if you use one). Leave a comment raving about it’s great features and why it is the best thing since sliced bread. It would be great to hear.

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

A view of what my Kindle looks like, thanks to Amazon for the fair use photo.