I recently purchased a kindle.

Just the basic one, not the Fire or Touch or Onethatcostsasmuchasanipad. And I feel a little weird. Like I’m betraying my childhood of paperbacks and hardcovers. Like I’m ushering a new era of not being able to judge a person by their (book)covers when I enter their home. Empty bookshelves, shudder. As a print journalism grad who has interned for several print papers, I feel a special connection to the tactile reading experience. (Though as a news junkie, the online news aggregates are so good to my addiction.)

I guess I’m one of those people. Technology haters. People who can’t cope with change. People who resisted cassette tapes, then CDs, then iTunes. And I’m not even 25. These are my years to be wildly embracing new ideas and flagrantly ignoring my elders with my passion for forward motion. Right. I don’t know when this moved from kindles to social fights.

Reasons I was reluctant to purchase a Kindle

1) Even though I don’t frequently reread books, I like to have them around. To lend. To stare at.

2) The tactile experience of a book. The smell. Older editions. Bent page corners.

3) My sister’s kindle died a few months after she got it last year. (Granted we had dragged it around on our three weeks of traveling through Morocco. Buses, Peace Corps hosts, etc.)

4) The idea of one day traveling Public Transport and seeing everyone read on their tiny machines is disturbing. Less people-watcher friendly (I like to know what my fellow passengers are reading). Too futuristic. Though I suppose I should just be happy that people are still reading. And it’s not like the metro is filled with people glued to books now.

5) I’m bad at technology. You can’t freeze or break a paperback.

…and BOOKSTORES:

I have never had a trip to a bookstore that I regretted. I have my favourite little rebel stores around town with their “whatever we feel like” selection and their “support local business” bookmarks. But I also love B & N and (rest in peace) Borders. So corporate, etc, but so much candy for my eyes and hands! It’s like walking into a sex shop, only for literature geeks. Everything is bright and tantalizing! The covers, the shelves, the books!

And it’s the only store where you can go in, sit down, and if you have the time, get full free use of their product, just like you would at home, and nobody bats an eye. You can got read the books! And you only pay if you decide to take it home! How is that sound business practise?

– Christophe

Reasons I ignored my qualms and purchased a Kindle

1) They’re cheap. Or relatively cheap. ($80.00) Cheaper than they were. (Though apparently my dad’s first massive calculator that could only do sums was over a hundred dollars, so that’s how it works). This includes a ton of free books available for downloading.

2) Every time I visited their site, Amazon was in my face about buying one. I only have so much will power.

3) I am embarking on a major move and am only bring two suitcases. I cannot pack my books if I want to have winter clothing.

4) They really do seem nifty. They have built in WiFi and a dictionary. They remember page numbers. You have instant access to many (thousands?) titles.

5) The actual reason: I’ve been researching life as an expat in S. Korea and discovered that English books are hard and expensive to come by. There’s no way I can live for a year without access to books in my own language. Also, I joined a wine and book club in Korea and this is the best (only?) way to keep up with the reading.

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10 thoughts on “I recently purchased a kindle.

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  1. You nailed it in your reasons for reluctancy. The aesthetic of holding and (sigh) smelling a book ties it so closely to the memory of the book’s content for me. The words offer a rush, but some of the most important books in my life came to me simply because I found their cover, or oldness, or size interesting.

    Secondly, and this is a bit mindblowing, I also have a sister whose Kindle died shortly after she purchased it. It made me weary. For some reason it bothers me less to store all of my music electronically. I still like to get a cd if it’s a really special album from a band that I love and want to support, but I don’t miss the plastic, always cracked and skipping clutter of my cd collection. Yet to this day, when travelling or moving, my biggest issue in packing is my luggage being overweight because of books. I’ll toss out clothes, toys, and other gadgets, but I’ve got to bring my books.

    I don’t mind seeing folks with kindles on the bus and train, like you said, I’m happy that they’re reading. HOWEVER! It’s tougher to sneak-shoulder-read with a Kindle. That flat black. On a book you can at least scan the cover, author, and back cover. And sometimes the actual pages. I suppose if someone sits in front of you a Kindle has nice large print, but, nah…

    The only thing I would add is (and how could you not think of this, Shivskies!) the experience of bookstores and libraries.

    I love it, I just love it. I have never had a trip to a bookstore that I regretted. I have my favourite little rebel stores around town with their “whatever we feel like” selection and their “support local business” bookmarks. But I also love B & N and (rest in peace) Borders. So corporate, etc, but so much candy for my eyes and hands! It’s like walking into a sex shop, only for literature geeks. Everything is bright and tantalizing! The covers, the shelves, the books!

    And it’s the only store where you can go in, sit down, and if you have the time, get full free use of their product, just like you would at home, and nobody bats an eye. You can got read the books! And you only pay if you decide to take it home! How is that sound business practise?

    Great post, hope you like your Ken-Doll.

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  2. Oh, you are SO right about bookstores! But I bet they’ll turn into record store equivalents where John Cusak type hipsters meet their significant others (“I too prefer thick wads of paper to technology. Let’s date!)

    I think I’ll go edit this and quote you. That’s probably bad blog etiquette. oh well. Thanks for the input!

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  3. I agree with everything! I walk by bookstores now and sniff and I feel like I must look like a newly sober drug addict trying to get a contact high from some less responsible user! (too dramatic?) But living at my moms isn’t conducive to my reading habits! Haha! Get the case that the book light attaches to and works off the same battery. I’ve never been satisfied with a book light but theirs is good. I got the entire Alexandre Dumas collection for free…. It’s transcribed by some guy and there are lots of typos! Haha but I don’t care! It’s still fun to read (maybe more so) and it was free! I love having the dictionary right there too! (except when there are typos! Then I just get confused! Haha).

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  4. I’ve been experiencing the same struggle. I agree with Chris and Chantel, I LOVE book stores, and I love seeing books all over my apartment, being able to lend them out, etc. also. But considering how much I travel, every ounce I have to carry becomes a burden after a few days. Then again, you don’t have to recharge a book, or turn it off on a plane…still torn. For now, if I need extra reading material, I have the Kindle app on my iPod, and I have a few books on there, but the screen is pretty freakin tiny.

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  5. I just got the kindle for my birthday in november, and I have one book on there that I haven’t finished. I still have so many other books laying around that I want to finish, and what I’ve come to realize is I really love real books. I love writing in my books, underlining, writing comments, and although you can highlight parts in a kindle the experience is not nearly the same.

    And I definitely agree with all the comments about bookstores. It will be a sad, sad day if/when bookstores start disappearing.

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  6. Ha ha you guys are silly. You are getting nostalgic over big box bookstores. They have only been around 20 years and all they did was put little bookstores out of business. You may be too young to remember but all the sentimental readers were complaining about them the same way younger people complain about digital books now. You should watch “you’ve got mail”

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  7. yeah, I enjoyed “you’ve got mail,” and I like to think I appreciate the little bookstores more than the big ones. But honestly, the big ones are pretty cool too. I just like having rooms with piles of books. It seems like a bigger leap to go from book chain to digital than corner store to book chain…

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