16 Feb 2011

Ode to My Kindle.

A few months ago, I got myself a Kindle.

It had been a difficult decision to make, because I really, really love books. I'm one of those people who washes her hands before touching them. I read them half-open to avoid wear and tear. I only lend copies to people I trust with my life books.

Part of what made this such a tough decision was the fact that I resented the idea of an electronic device replacing those paper wonders: hardcovers and paperbacks to store, display, fondle, re-read and share. I was afraid the practicality of technology would destroy the magic of reading.

Isn't it pretty?
Now that I've had my Kindle for a couple of months, I can only say I absolutely adore it - as well as its burgundy cover.

I've always been a passionate reader, but now I read even more. I carry it around wherever I go. I've discovered new authors, genres, styles of writing that I might never have come into contact with if it hadn't been for my e-reader.

I especially love the 'samples' option. At amazon.com, you can download a free sample of every novel that's available for your type (and nationality) of Kindle.

A sample usually consists of the first 1 to 3 chapters. It's become my new novel test: if, after reading the sample, I really want to know what happens next, and the style of writing doesn't turn me off, then I buy the book.

My Kindle has changed the way I read. The first page of a novel has always been important. It's what I look at in a bookstore, when I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to buy the book. The cover, the back flap and the first page.

With my Kindle, I don't really care about the cover. Most of the time I don't even see it. I look at reviews, download a sample, and read that. They have to draw me in. I also take that into account in my own writing.

What I find most interesting is that my Kindle doesn't replace books. I still buy paper copies of the ones I really like, the ones I want to lend out, the ones I want to display in my bookcases, stare at and thumb through. It's simply another medium, another way of reading.

This is also why Kindle books need to be cheaper than paper copies. They don't have the same value, so they shouldn't be priced the same. Sure, e-books have advantages: the sample option and the instant download as the most important ones.

But they're not books. You can't touch them, they're virtually invisible (compared to a book on a shelf), and they don't have the social charm of paper books: you can't share them and you don't interact about them with your friends, like you would with a book that's lying around in your living room or proudly perched on a shelf.

Do you own an e-reader? Would you consider getting one?
If you have one: what does it mean to you? Has it changed how you read?
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  1. I got a kindle for xmas. Love it love it love it! :)

  2. I got a kindle for christmas, too. I didn't think I would love it like I do. I love books as objects and my kindle will never replace those. I read faster and more efficiently on a kindle (since it's not quite as easy to see how many pages I've read); I've become more adept at finding free books to read--and so read a wider variety.

    I love being able to send PDFs to my kindle and being able to read a newspaper on it, too. I sound like a salesperson, I know. But I didn't expect to like it so darn much!

  3. Me too! It's also helped me discover many new authors, usually more recent ones, that I wouldn't necessarily have looked at in a bookstore.


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