I didn’t want to. I wanted to hate this technical interloper into the printed pages of my English-major life. I really, really did.
Keith got one. It was black print on a gray background. I mocked it. Repeatedly. I wanted to hate it. I really, really did.
I love books. I love the smell, the touch, the sight of them. I love walking into someone’s house and seeing a huge bookshelf filled with books. I could care less which books they are reading; I have just always loved seeing books on shelves.
Yes, I am a book freak. It’s no wonder I have an English degree with a concentration in literature.
I was born for books; my mother read to me incessantly when I was a small child. She fostered my love of reading, and my love of books. Hardcover, paperback, it didn’t matter – I was bound from my earliest memories to love books.
Then the Kindle came along. Now, I am very computer savvy, I love technology, and I am very good at navigating my way through the current technological morass, but eBooks? BLASPHEMY!!!! Books were the last bastion of my childhood; they were my friends, these prettily-covered, interest-filled PAPER entities of knowledge and entertainment, and I was NOT going to give them up without a fight.
And then I discovered I am old. Well, older than I think I am.
Did you know you can change the type size on a Kindle? This is nice, especially when you’re tired and not in the mood to read small type, or, like me, have just barely crossed the threshold into reading glasses, and can go without easily if you just ramp up the type size a notch.
The killer for me was reading a couple of 700-1000 page paperbacks back-to-back. At eighteen, this is a piece of cake; at forty-four, this is an exercise in stamina. I can read a book this long for hours, no problem. It’s holding a book this long for hours that makes my thumbs ache and makes it hard for me to carry on. Now, nine years of factory work did not help this at all, but I suspect that people in my age range have a raft of similar problems. The Kindle is lightweight and feels much like a paperback you can hold in one hand, with the benefit of being able to change pages regardless of whether you’re a rightie or a leftie. Page up/down buttons are on both sides, so regardless of how you naturally would hold a paperback, you’ve got them at your disposal.
And this thing is super-thin. Really, it’s maybe forty pages of a printed mass market paperback. Lightweight, easy to access page turning, and really easy on the eyes type. If you or a loved one is in need of large print books, this is your device. I’m impressed with all the type settings you can have – everything from sixteen-year-old to seventy-year old, no problems.
And Whispernet. Oh, my God, best thing ever! I can get a book on Amazon in like sixty seconds. Win! Also, you can loan some books to your friends. The list is short at the moment, but I suspect Amazon will figure out that this is a good thing, and they will expand their selection. At any rate, getting a Kindle book is generally two or three dollars cheaper than a hardback, and even less than that if you’re willing to wait a bit. And free books – WOW! Almost all the classic authors are free (or damn freaking cheap!). You could read for years and spend NOTHING.
Also, all your books are archived on Amazon, so if for some random reason you blow up your Kindle (I cannot figure out how you could do this, but I’m sure one of you will) all your books are saved online. You can get them back easily. WIN!
I wanted to hate this thing. I really, really did. But now that I’ve read a few books on it (and have held several HUGE paperbacks in the interim) I have to say, I DO love my Kindle. And I am looking at digitizing my library. I think I can sell my paperbacks at minimal cost to others (to fund my Kindle book passion), and minimize my living space at the same time. I could cull 300 sq. ft. from my living space if I did not need room for my books, easily.
Still, it will be hard to part with my books. I will keep my collector’s books, and some history books, but all my contemporary books will eventually be digitized. I do love the sight, smell, and feel of “real” books, but I’ve discovered that the experience that comes from the reading of a book, whether digitized or paper, is much the same.