2008 Gift Giving Guide: The ultimate gift

This installment of the Unclutterer Gift Giving Guide explores what we have decided to be the most decadent present this year that you could give someone to help organize the home or office.

Last year, I recommended the Fujitsu ScanSnap (available for the Mac and PC) as the ultimate organizing gift in our guide. A year has passed, and I still believe that it is the best organizing product on the market.

That being said, it wouldn’t be much fun for you to read the same article two years in a row. So, coming in a close second as the ultimate gift is this year’s nomination: The Kindle.

For people who read while traveling and commuting, read more than five books a month, and/or read a major newspaper on a daily basis, the Kindle is a life-changing product. The amount of paper clutter that it has the ability to reduce in your home can be measured in trees and forests, not stacks of paper. Yes, it is expensive (but can be cost effective for daily users over time). Yes, we acknowledge that it is not a perfect gift for everyone (especially people who don’t spend hours a day consuming media in paper form). And, yes, we know that there are competing products on the market that have similar capabilities (but less selection of books and services).

Acknowledging all of these points, we still highly recommend the Kindle as our most decadent clutter-reducing present of the year.

57 Comments for “2008 Gift Giving Guide: The ultimate gift”

  1. posted by Monkey's Momma on

    I really, really want a Kindle. Have been wanting one since they came out, but I am waiting for the second generation!

  2. posted by Malena on

    Another Deb – I think you’re right. Scanning would be such a pain that I’d realize it really wasn’t that important after all! I think I’m gonna save up for a ScanSnap. Surely that won’t take long if I hoard all the change I find lying around the house… I’m thinking a separate hard drive would be appropriate in order to avoid computer clutter overload? And back up that on cd’s? (I’m so not technical. And paranoid.)

  3. posted by Mike on

    Seriously — doesn’t the fact that the kindle is on the big side, very unwieldly, and only capable of doing ONE thing make it a wildly expensive unitasker? Do we really live in an era where something that big can only do one thing? And not even super-well?

    I’ll take my iPhone with itunes and stanza over it any day of the week.

  4. posted by Valerie on

    There is so much debate about this little book-reader! Like anything else, one should shop around and find the price and features that’s right for you. There are a lot of e-book readers out there.

    I received my Kindle 2 weeks ago (it’s my Christmas present) and I absolutely love this thing!

    I have read 2 long novels on it so far and am almost finished with another. I have lots of content on it already, but paid almost nothing (or nothing) for most of it.

    I do not get eyestrain with it (it’s not back-lit like a PC screen). I can adjust the text size. I read faster with the Kindle (not sure why). I also purchased a small book light, but haven’t needed it so far. I have no camplaint with the speed the pages change.

    * If I find a book in another format, I can email the file to my kindle email address and they will convert it. There is a free address that can be used, although the Kindle Boards say they are not charging anyone 10 cents per conversion, even through the other address. They will convert several file types. You can send documents to yourself, or store them on an SD card. Or, I can download to my PC and import into the Kindle anything in several formats (most notably .mobi).

    * It will hold about 200 books, and an SD card can be installed so you can add as much as 8 GB+ more space.

    * It will play mp3 files and audio books. It has speakers or a head-phone jack. You can listen to background music while you read.

    * You can put pictures on it.

    * The screensavers are really nice. You can change them if you want to add new ones.

    * You can use it for email, and receive email using gMail or receive email from anyone you add to your allowed address list.

    * I can search online through Google.

    * It has a basic web browser.

    * You can receive sample chapters to read to decide if you might want to buy the book later.

    * It has a built-in dictionary I can use at any time to get a definition.

    * It saves my place in the book when I put it on ‘sleep’ or turn it off.

    * My purchased books are saved on Amazon’s web site, so I can erase them from my Kindle after I read them, and go back and get them again later if I want to.

    * I can make bookmarks of important pages, highlights of parts of pages, notes, etc. You can put important papers on it, if you want.

    * If you have one and want to share books with a spouse or relative, etc. just add them to the same account… like the iPod, you can 5 (or six) Kindles registered to the same account.

    * I have had almost no trouble with the page-turning keys that many complain about (although they should be smaller).

    I live in the country and have to go a few miles to use the Whispernet, but I bought the Kindle for reading and to reduce my book clutter. I go to an area with the Whispernet reception almost daily, anyway. If I want a book immediately, I can download it to my PC, hook in with the USB, and copy it to the Kindle.

    We aren’t the type of people that go out and bring home tons of books on purpose, but they really do pile up over the years, and I hate to throw them away (I know that makes no sense at all). Most of my web browsing, news reading, email, etc. I would rather do on my PC, so that wasn’t much of a factor in my purchase.

    I still have books and will keep buying ‘Dead Tree’ copies of books that I really care about, but most of the books I read I do not really want to keep forever (I just had no good outlet for getting rid of them without tossing them). That being said, I have 4 large shelves of books I will keep most of the rest of my life.

    We do not have a very good library in our small TX county (it’s mostly religious and kids’ books), and it is a long drive from where I live (30 mins. each way). Books collect a lot of dust here. They are difficult to get rid of (emotionally and IRL). My daughter had a moving sale and had to try to give her books away for free, and even then she was stuck with most of them. There is now a Friends of the Library group where I can give my previously-read books to a good cause (finally!).

    I am a little bit irked that a new version might be coming out ‘soon’, but from what I have read about it, there won’t be anything about it that would make me regret not waiting to buy this.

    I think that spending this much money is an individual decision, and I have wanted one of these readers since they first came out. I understand the expense, since Amazon has to pay Verizon for the Whispernet connectivity. I am a fairly active Amazon shopper, anyway. The DRM issue isn’t very important to me, personally… I will leave that to others.

    For anyone that might be interested in the Kindle, there is an independent and very active, helpful, and friendly message board I found at:
    http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php

    Now and then they have listings for used Kindles for sale.

  5. posted by …The 2008 Holiday Gift Guides are here? at Didnt You Hear… on

    [...] The Washington Times – Holiday Gift Guide (All) Unclutterer – Gift Giving Guide: Experience Giving, The Ultimate Gift, Useful Gifts Under $35, (Tech) About:PC – PC Holiday Gift Guide (Tech) Ars Technica – Holiday Gift [...]

  6. posted by Jen Hachigian on

    Hi,

    I’m new here, so I don’t know if anyone’s posted this link:
    http://www.manybooks.net

    ManyBooks offers free eBooks formatted for the electronic device of your choice, including the Kindle and Sony readers. Anything that’s out-of-copyright should be available here.

    -+-

    ManyBooks, the Sony eBookstore and my local library all helped to stem the tide of physical books flooding my bookshelves. However, I still buy physical books if I cannot find them in electronic format or at the library. For example, the Vampire Hunter D series, most graphic novels and “how-to” books on animation are not available in electronic format or at my library.

    So, despite electronic reading and my library, I’m still drowning in physical books. I need to purge more physical books from my out-of-control collection. :^(

    Jen :^)

  7. Avatar of

    posted by Suzy on

    Libraries do not lend people lend Kindle versions of books yet, which means you would have to buy every book you’d like to read on the Kindle. Sure, the Kindle would be saving you from having physical clutter, but what about digital clutter?
    When it comes to keeping clutter to a minimum, I am a firm believer in the library.

    Still, if there is going to be a system to allows libraries to lend out Kindle versions of books, I’ll be first in line to use that service as keeping a book on a Kindle would make it more portable and probably easier in use than a book.

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