Wednesday 24 November 2010

To Kindle or not to Kindle?

At A Glance image

Even though I love gadgets and can only be described as an interweb addict, I've always been a book kind of girl. I love the feel and tactility of ink on paper, or the musty smell and yellowing pages of an old paperback. There's something magical about holding a new unread book in your hand, the promise of a unknown world which you can enter just by reading the pages. I want to feel that I own the books I've read, and need to know that I have a book I particularly enjoyed on a shelf where I can pick it up and hold it long after I've finished reading it.

Yesterday as I was getting ready to go to my book group at England's Lane Books, I was considering a stack a books I was planning to recommend to the group. There were five books that I wanted to show for future reads, in addition to the two current month's titles. Seven books in total. Although they were all paperbacks, they still weighed a ton - too much to be carrying on the bus for a girl with a bad back. So I hit on the brilliant idea of taking a photo of the novels and hoping that the book shop would still have a copy of each title. Naturally if I was an organised person, I would have made sure the shop had ordered extra copies of the novels for me - it only takes 24 hours after all - but I am, alas, not that person.

Titles considered for the book group on December 16th - we chose 'What I Loved' 
Anyway, back to the subject in hand. It occurred to me that instead of having to lug the titles, or take pictures of them and hope that the shop has them, I could have already downloaded the books onto a Kindle, and passed that around the group.

I know that for someone who works in a bookshop even considering a Kindle is paramount of blasphemy, but hear me out. I think if I had a Kindle, I'd still buy the book. At least I'd buy it if it was a good read....

I don't know, but the idea of being able to carry thousands of titles away when working, commuting or even travelling, rather than the books taking valuable shoe-space in my suitcase, well, it's got to be an attractive proposition?

There are of course other e-book readers on the market, notably the iPad, but having already got an iPhone, which is not without its problems, plus the significant price difference, Kindle looks to be the favourite for me at least.

What do you think? Is the Kindle on your Christmas wish-list?


Anonymous said...

I have a Kindle, bought for me last year for my Birthday. And whilst I love it, it will never replace books for me. It's kind of become an addition to books rather than replacing, and the books I tend to buy for it are the ones I like the look of, but I know won't be classics i.e. stay on my boookshelves forevermore.
After reading a couple of books on the Kindle in quick succession, I find myself CRAVING the feel ans smell of an actual book, and to this day can't go more than 3 books at a time K- wise before I need a paperback break.
Still well worth the money though, IMO. I've written a peice about it on my blog, if you're interested.

xxx maddie

Talli Roland said...

I have a Sony eReader and I read Kindle books on my phone, too. I also make regular trips to the library and book stores! I think it's possible to find a happy medium. As an author, I just want my books to sell, in any medium!

That's Not My Age said...

I was thinking of buying one for Mr TNMA for Christmas - but he's quite old-fashioned (he likes a hardback) and even more of a technophobe than I am. So I'm not so sure how he'd feel about a Kindle - good for travelling though.

Mr London Street said...

Best of luck with What I Loved. It was very much what I don't!

Mwa said...

I think I would have a Kindle if I was travelling a lot. My father should have one. I'm at home mostly, though, so I'm not getting one. Yet. No, I don't think I'm getting one. Not any time soon. (Anything to do with books is tempting to me.)

Good choice of book by the way. It's funny. I knew her books before I ever heard of Paul Auster. He's still Siri Hustvedt's husband to me.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

I'm torn over them, in the same way that I still don't download music, I prefer to buy the CD. However, Mr Bored wants one for Christmas, being the one gadget in the world he doesn't possess, so I shall have to see how I like it.

Unknown said...

Maddie, that's exactly what I thought I'd be like with a Kindle, it seems a workable solution.

Tally, I'm with you! As long as I'm being read I don't care if it's ink on paper or on whatever gadget they choose; I'm a complete literary tart.

That's Not My Age and Very Bored - excellent that you can try Kindle by proxy so to speak. Think I might do the same and buy one for The Englishman.

Mr London Street, sorry you didn't like What I Loved.

Mwa, I totally agree, Siri is no Mrs Auster.


Wildernesschic said...

I am still a person when I am buying a book I will always buy the hardback. I love the feel of books and love the look of them, I have them everywhere :)
Helena I am now struck down with your flu, I totally understand you not making it xx