Kindle me Gently

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

As a child if you wanted something to read (or you were being forced encouraged to read by your over zealous parents who wanted to make sure you were on the track to greatness, at seven) you were probably taken to the library; I was taken to the garage.

My dad worked in publishing for all of his working life, and as a result, we were always surrounded by books: shelves were stacked high around the house and the garage was always full of boxes of books. My brother and I were always encouraged – although not forced! – to read, and from an early age books became part of my inner-circle; I remember rooting through those boxes in the garage, excitedly looking for my next read. And this love affair with books has continued throughout my life (well, maybe not during my MBA, but come on, three years of management books).

Home doesn’t feel like home unless there are book shelves (although we don’t keep everything we read as there is a lot of competition for space in our two-bedroom apartment – and shoes are important too). Libraries fascinate me, particularly the old-fashioned, grand ones with leather-bound books and big leather arm chairs: shelves and shelves of knowledge. And I find myself irrationally suspicious of people who don’t read.

I’m not in any way a snob about my choice of reading material; I was always brought up to read what I enjoy: sometimes that might be what is considered a well-written book, sometimes that might be utter trash (yes, I did give Fifty Shades a go).

Although, the love affair went through a rocky patch when I was unwell, and I didn’t have the energy to read; it was one of the many casualties of those dark days plastered to the bed or sofa. And you always knew when the CFS wasn’t so bad, as a book would bravely re-emerge on the bedside table.

A love like this is hard to give up – and I just can’t bring myself to even consider getting a Kindle. Which is a little weird when all the writing I do is on-line (here and other websites), and I happily read articles on-line. But that’s not the same, is it? Reading short pieces is a different type of reading to curling up with your book in bed (can you even curl up with a Kindle? They just don’t look that friendly).

Although, I use technology for so many areas of my life: my iPad and iPhone are definitely part of my inner-circle. And, like most of us, the Internet has changed the way I do many of my day-to-day activities, from banking, to shopping, to blogging, to Googling anything I urgently need to know. And I certainly don’t write anything without using Google, Wikipedia, and Wiktionary; I’m not reaching out for my Oxford English Dictionary, or Thesaurus – to be closer to books.

But to swap from books to a Kindle, oh, it just feels wrong. I know, I know, you can store all those books in one place, it’s so convenient, it’s this, it’s that. But – but, it isn’t a book (yes, I am stamping my feet). And they’re ugly aren’t they? It’s going to take more than a funky cover to sex up a Kindle.

I like the look of books; I like seeing one on my bedside table (and a Kindle of ugliness would be offensive to my silver crocodile print bedside cabinet); I like looking at the bookshelf in the lounge with all our Rough Guides and reminding ourselves of the places we’ve been (or even better the ones we’re going to); I like how a book feels; I like putting my book mark in place (no page folding here); I like, I like, I like…

But I’m sure there was plenty of people clinging onto their CDs when iPods first came out. And the first converters to Planet Pod no doubt sneered at those CD clingers, knowing they would eventually succumb. And yes, smug Kindle readers, I know you are sneering at me. Digital book sales are rising, and no doubt the trend – and sneering – will continue. But I just don’t care. (Yes, more feet stamping.)

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8 thoughts on “Kindle me Gently

  1. I hear so many people make the arguments you do. As a tried and tested Kindle user I can confirm that you are at a high risk of being converted if you try. They are actually easier to hold than a book, less chance of losing your page, multiple data storage and access points plus loads of free books available from Amazon and other sites!

    Also think of the space you save. I travel with thousands of books everytime I get on a plane or train, all in my kindle!

    Since you like reading on computers and iPads so much, why don’t you try loading the app up for free. You’ll then soon appreciate how easy it is to use. Load up some freebie Amazon books and take it for a ride. Hey, you won’t even have to buy a kindle!

    Fair play to you though. I hear a few people say they prefer a book, I just think it is all a matter of time. I look forward to the day that you tell me you have a kindle.

    • Hey again (if you come back again, you’ll have to go crazy and share your name with me!)

      Oh, you’ve almost made me want to try one. Almost.

      You’ve reminded me of when we did a six month trip in a motor-home (around Eastern Europe) a few years ago and we took boxes of books with us. And I’m sure you’re right (that hurt a little to say) that if we were in that situation again, it would be Kindle all the way.

      When I succumb – which I’m sure we all will – you can wear the Crown of Smugness!

      Karen

      • Hey this is the first time I have read your Blog-The Guy is my fiance and he suggested I have a look as I have CFS and Fibromyalgia too. I just love the way you write and I had to reply to this as it made me chuckle (admitting he is right is always painful believe me:)).
        He got me a Kindle a couple of years ago and I have to say I was reluctant-i adore books just the feel and smell of them-his could this gadget that seemed more like a boys toy to me-ever compare?but I have discovered that rather than giving up actual books the kindle kind of compliments them…I still buy books,that will never change,but my kindle is just perfect for holidays and general travel. My days of overweight suitcases laden with enough books to last two weeks of sun worship and reading are gone:) I am now lucky enough to have a Kindle fire which is also great but not so much for the reading. I find it bizarre though that my original kindle is now out of favour with stockists-it’s as close as you get to a book:)
        Anyway I have rambled enough. I just wanted to say hi really and please keep doing what you are doing…I have a feeling it will always help me in darkest moments to read your blog.

        Caroline xxx

  2. Karen I hear what you’re saying about books. I used to think like that too, until I got a Kindle!

    For me, the best thing about the Kindle is the space and weight saved over a book. More room in my suitcase, no need for larger handbags (I must have a book on me at all times).

    And you can curl up with a Kindle. They’re much easier to hold than a book.

    I admit though that switching on my Kindle to start a new (e) book is never going to feel the same as admiring the shiny newness of a new (paper) book before cracking it open. I do miss that.
    And there will always be times when an actual book is preferable to an ebook. So one’s bookshelves need never be bare!

    • Hey Helen

      Oh, you are very convincing! Especially as I know how you feel about books…

      It sounds like if I try one that will be it!

      And I do like the idea of keeping the book shelves looking lovely. Maybe if I wasn’t at home so much I’d be more inclined to try one… we shall see. (Have you tried to convert Mike yet? It would be less Amazon parcels for me to take in.)

      Xx

  3. Pingback: A strange request | Nureen(ography)

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