I've always enjoyed reading novels, but over the years it became more of a pain than a pleasure. I kept buying books, but would only manage two or three paragraphs before falling asleep. There are a collection of reasons for this disturbing problem that I won't get into, but for whatever reason, it sucked the fun right out of a favorite pasttime.
And then came the Kindle. For me, it changed everything.
I find that it doesn't replace the feeling of curling up with a good book because it doesn't need to. I cuddle up in my favorite chair, fold back the fine leather cover (purchased separately) and start reading, yet never disturb my comfy position because "pages are turned" with a mere twitch of a thumb.
And to address a criticism often noted, that one doesn't want to look at a screen for entertainment after looking at a screen all day for work, within moments of reading on a Kindle for the first time you'll forget that it's a screen because it isn't anything like a screen. Without the backlighting on a computer monitor, looking at a Kindle page is quite the same as looking at a piece of paper.
Some owners like the Kindle because of the customized type sizes or the ability to sample books before purchase or the ability to download the digital purchases to multiple Kindles on the same account. Some owners appreciate the built in dictionary, the wireless download feature, the ability to carry favorite books during frequent travels in one handy, lightweight "container." And some people have health concerns that once interfered with reading, a concern that the Kindle overcomes.
Some folks in the general public get unnecessarily riled about this amazing tool -- often people who have never seen a Kindle -- because of the digital rights management or they don't trust Amazon or whatever. My digital book purchases are stored at Amazon, safely, and if it looks like they're going to disappear, I'll re-download all of my purchases into the Kindle and be on my way. A library full of books in one convenient package.
The price point seems too high, true. But since the Kindle version books usually run from free to $9.99, it creates a savings per unit (UPDATE May 2009 -- I'm finding many more new releases falling into the $12 to $15 range, not a lot, but enough to annoy). On the other hand, if you're like me, your book budget could soar because your former pasttime will be rekindled (I couldn't resist).