I took delivery of the new Kindle 2 (distributed solely by Amazon) a few days ago and I have to tell you, I have been in informational download heaven ever since.
A few pertinent facts, from the viewpoint of someone who is looking at this from a bunker mentality:
1. Amazon price is $369.00 plus shipping. Reasonable if you recognize the info capacity the unit provides wherever you are, wherever you want to go.
2. The unit is the height and width of a larger paperback, the thickness of a piece of corrugated cardboard ... 8" x 5.3" x 0.36", 10.2 ounces. In other words--amazingly portable and lightweight.
3. You buy your Kindle and they ship it to you pre-programmed with your Amazon account info. The wireless network you use to download books and periodicals is free and near as I can tell--it is pretty much everywhere. You can turn your wireless connection off when you are not going to download anything.
4. Much of the Kindle content you can download is actually free. I've downloaded the KJV Bible, the Encyclopedia Britannica, several collections of the greatest novels in history, several current best-sellers that appeal to me, many how-to books that I'll probably never open until I have to, and of course many of the best survival-type books on the market. I've spent about $150 on all that.
5. I will continue to build my handheld library as I think of the types of knowledge I want to have on hand. The thing holds about 1000 books! So far, I'm up to about 25, I think.
6. Oh ... and as for actually using it and reading off the screen--it's a pleasure.
7. Get this--it has "read-to-me" mode that allows you to multi-task or have several people listen at once. The voice is variable and speed is adjustable.
8. Battery life, by all reports and from what I have gathered so far is amazing. Use it continuously; with wireless turned off you'll be reading for two weeks before you need another charge. Charging takes about 4 hours. You can do it from an outlet or via a supplied USB cable. What that means to bunker rats like me is that you can easily recharge it using any number of solar or hand-crank charging units available out there.
Hence ... everything else can literally collapse around me, yet me and mine in our bunker (or on the road) will have enough of the basic useful wisdom of civilization at our fingertips to scratch out a new life from the ruins (or so the plan goes).
March 29 update: I now have well over 100 books and reference volumes on my Kindle 2. I am ecstatic about the amount of information at my fingertips to be referenced at will!
Get Ready ... Seriously - http://www.safecastleroyal.com