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.