reading on the kindle

Ever since e-readers like the Kindle started popping up, I’ve been thinking – and my husband has been asking me – whether or not I wanted one.  I kept going back and forth.  Yes. No. Yes. No.

I like books.  Yes, the act of reading.  But I also love the actual books – the material experience of getting a book in the mail or at the store, holding the book, putting my name on the inside cover, turning the pages… all of that – I love that. And also I am determined to build my own little personal library, so I didn’t want to stop buying books.

But alas it was time to join the 21st century book-lovers club.  For Christmas, I got the Kindle Fire.  And in the last 8 days, I’ve read two books.  I. Can’t. Put. It. Down.

What I do miss is that I don’t have a tactile (or visual) sense of how far along into the book I am.  (I can, however, click to see what “percentage” of the book I’ve read.)  I do miss seeing page numbers.  I also miss having a pencil in my hand and scribbling in the margins.  I don’t like that when I’m done with the book I can’t put it on my bookshelf to add to my library. Also, my husband reminds me that I can’t get an e-book signed by the author.  So I will not buy Hugo Hamilton’s books on the Kindle because I want to get them signed when I go to his reading in February.

The Kindle is easier to hold. It’s easier to turn the page.  I love that I can highlight and comment. I also love that tapping on a word will bring up the definition of the word.  Perhaps it’s the novelty of it all right now, but I feel like I’m not only reading more… but also faster. I’m not sure why that might be.

I think there will be certain books that are good for the Kindle and others that are better in print copy.  For instance, I just read The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka on the Kindle, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy a print copy to add to my library.  Partly this is because I want to teach this book someday along with her other book, When the Emperor was Divine, and (still) I can’t imagine teaching with the Kindle in my hand.

So. There you have it. I love my Kindle. Amazon has found a way to take even more of my money – as I if I wasn’t already spending most of my earnings on their site (purchasing even glue sticks from them).  It’s just too easy to tap “Download” and “Read Now” – and I don’t  even “see” the money transaction that takes place.  Apparently, Amazon doesn’t even make money on selling the reader itself.  Oh boy. I am in trouble now.

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