Before I moved to Bali, I used to love browsing in bookstores. Even if I didn’t buy anything, I just enjoyed flipping through books. I loved looking at travel guidebooks, thinking about where I would go on my next holiday. Even though I am a bit of a computer geek, I always liked reading real, physical books. I think since I spent so much time looking at a computer, I didn’t want to read books looking at a screen.
There are some bookstores in Bali, like Periplus and Ganesha, but nothing close to where I live. The range can also be quite limited and you often see Periplus taken over by whatever is in fashion at the time, vampire books for example.
So I went online and ordered books from Amazon. The downside was that I would then have to wait two weeks or more for the books to be delivered to Bali. Sometimes during the time between when I ordered the books and they finally arrived, I lost interest in the book and not even finish it! As much as I enjoy reading, I do have a bad habit of starting a new book before finishing the previous one.
One day, I found something I wanted to read on Amazon and there was a message, “Read it now on your computer.” Now, I have read books and pdfs in the past on my laptop, I didn’t enjoy the experience much at all. I was dubious, but since I really wanted to read the book straight away, I downloaded the app on my laptop and bought the book. It was there instantaneously – no need to wait two weeks for it to be delivered.
I was surprised how good the PC Kindle app was, nothing like reading a PDF in Adobe reader. I had noticed more tourists reading on e-readers, so I ordered a Kindle from Amazon. Since they didn’t deliver to Indonesia, I had it sent to Australia to wait for someone to bring it over.
When I eventually got it, I didn’t like the form factor at all. It was definitely not something Apple would have designed. I got the cheapest one available, but I was buying a new one I would buy the new “paper white” model.
I did though get used to reading on it though, and in some ways I enjoy reading on it more. For some reason, I seem to read books faster on the Kindle. I have no idea why. It could be psychological. For example, I bought the book “Shantaram”, which has over 900 pages, and I didn’t even read it to the end. I recently read it again on the Kindle I seemed to breeze right through it.
A Kindle is good because you can pull it out anytime and it is easy to carry around – perfect for waiting in immigration offices! They also have a feature where it remembers the page you are reading, so if you pick up another device, like a smart phone, you can continue exactly where you left off.
I believe now you can get products other than books sent to Indonesia from Amazon, but I am yet to try it. I would probably be concerned about what customs will charge. If anyone has tried this yet, please let me know if the comments.
So I will leave it over to you, what is the one thing you would recommend people bring to Bali?