My kids gave me a Kindle for Christmas. There it is next to a library book, The Complete Works of Jane Austen. Which of these would you prefer to carry around in your purse to read whenever you found yourself with a snippet of time on your hands? Don’t get me wrong: I am, and always will be, a book person. One of the first things I did when setting up housekeeping on my own was begin to build a library. When I hooked up with Richard, who shared my book habit, we quickly outgrew our shelf space. Did we cease and desist? No, R built more shelves. It is only lately that we have begun to jettison a random book or three, to make room for more. There is a limit, even for us, to the amount of wall space that can be given over to book shelves. Enter the Kindle, at precisely the right moment in time. It is slim, elegant and relatively weightless. The screen renders typography extremely legible. The number of volumes it will store is practically limitless. Order one from Amazon, and before you have even logged off it will have been uploaded, seemingly magically, to your reading device. The Kindle versions of books cost less, even, than paperbacks, and works that are in the public domain are either free or a nominal $.99. What is more, when in doubt about a book you might want to read, you can download the first chapter to give it a test drive before committing resources.
Richard was disdainful (to put it politely) of this newfangled contraption. He was casting about for some reading material the other day, and I knew he would love Just Kids, Patti Smith’s National Book Award winning account of her life with Robert Mapplethorpe. It was the first book I had ordered up for the Kindle. I wouldn’t say he is exactly a convert, but he did have to admit that it was a pleasant reading experience. In the case of Just Kids, it is a book I will probably buy in its hardbound edition, just so that I can have all of the wonderful line drawings and photographs sprinkled throughout. Riffling through the pages of a book is satisfying in a way that bookmarking in an e-reader does not duplicate. There will always be books we will want to own. For reading in the tub, best to stick with ink on paper. I love my Kindle, not as a replacement, but as another tool for gobbling up words.
It didn’t take long to figure out that if I was going to carry this thing around with me, it would need some protection. I made a case for myself, and one for Hillary. She was thrilled, and said that she had gone on Etsy to try to find something like it and had found nothing. Whoa! A new, uncrowded niche in the labyrinth that is Etsy? I made a few more and added them to my shop, by which time there were over 4,000 others ahead of me. Sigh. What about you? Have you fallen prey to the Kindle? Do you have an experience or an opinion or a rant? Please share. And if you want one of my cases, you can find one by poking around in my Etsy shop.
Ricki, I must admit it is tempting, I would love it as a gift! but I wouldn’t buy one. No…for my general reading I use the fantastic Portland Library. To be able to request things on line, then get my husband to collect them from the library near his work, this works well for me.
Now the books I really feel I need to own.ie Gardening ,cooking , Art, Classics… I what the hard back . paperbacks ,I’m not bothered about …so probably unless I get a kindle for Christmas ….Na!
Ricki, Sorry in my rant. I forgot to say how lovely your cases are! If I should ever get a Kindle I would love a cover.
You’ll be making these sized for the iPad too right? 🙂
My husbands birthday is this weekend. I thought about getting one for him, but almost like he read my mind a day or so later he said “whatever you do don’t get me a Kindle”…he is convinced that there will be a drastic drop in prices (not that that they are that expensive) over the next year or so. And he’s patient. Still I wonder if I just shouldn’t do it anyway, I know he’d love it.
My wife got one recently and enjoys it. She concurs with you that she misses the feeling of turning pages, especially the last page.
I don’t know about Multnomah County but the Washington County Library system already allows you to check out e-books for most devices (but not Kindle!? It’s only a matter of time). There are other e-book swapping sites out there that my wife has found and signed up for.
Linda~Like you, I use the library a lot…in much the way I describe using the Kindle. Just imagine that you are on vacation. You have read up all the material you brought along. If you have a kindle, you can order up something new and it will add nothing to your luggage when you return home, and it will be available to you immediately.
Loree~ One year, R asked me what I wanted for Christmas. My answer: anything BUT a Cuisinart. Guess what I got for Christmas. By the way, I still prefer a good chef’s knife, but I do fire up the Cuisinart more often than I would like to admit.
Ryan~Our spouses do tend to drag us places we would not necessarily choose to go, don’t they?
My dayjob is in a big academic research library and we’ve definitely been living the shift to digital as material moves online–and that’s online instead of being for mobile devices like Kindles. So many of these devices end up being about ownership and not about the culture of sharing that libraries have represented for X years. That part of these devices bothers me. If you’re used to buying books, these look like great deals. If you’re used to borrowing and sharing books, however, it’s a different story. But I know I have Kindle addicts in the family, and I’ve enjoyed using other similar devices.
James~I envy you your day job. Our library has hopped on the e-reader bandwagon. We can now download books, but I still like to browse the stacks and turn pages.
I’m new to the kindle as well, and am experiencing it both as a writer and as a reader. As a reader… I love it. I read every night in bed, and the fact that I can read it with large type and no reading glasses makes for a better experience. It also doesn’t suffer when you roll over and sleep on it all night–nor do you!
As a writer…. I also love it. I love that writers now have the ability to publish their own work without the need for a designer, let alone a publisher. There are new writers out there right now earning a living publishing mysteries and vampire novels on the kindle exclusively, and I applaud that. For me, books consist of words–they aren’t objects. I like books, but no more than I like, say, salad bowls. I can appreciate them as objects of beauty, but without the words, or the salad, well, my interest in them is limited. If I can read a book I never would have been able to read before because the kindle makes it available, I consider that a huge advance in writer- and reader-friendly technology.
Hillary~Thanks for adding your two cents.
I don’t have an e-reader and don’t really think about having one…yet. I like your argument about not carrying books around, though. I buy a lot of books for my book group (Kids was great!) but I sometimes resort to the hardcover version because a used one is cheaper than the trade paperback. It definitely gets heavy, even in bed! In gardening books and reference pieces, I want the hardcover if it’s available, though. I’m sure my time will come…and it will probably be an iPad, since I’ve been an Apple disciple from my very first Mac II.
Jane~I usually get my Book Club books from the library. One of our very few rules is that the books we choose must be in paperback, but even the literary paperbacks are getting expensive and sometimes the back orders at the library make it impossible to get something in time. Apple products are so elegant…I just love them. If I can measure your ipad, I’ll make you a case.
cool – I like your kindle cases. Your stuff is really unique. I particularly like the kindle cases for men.
No…I don’t think I could do Kindle. I just like pages too much. I fiddle with the next page while I’m reading the end of the page on the right, I dog ear pages, write in them from time to time, etc. For me though, I only have time to read about 1 book per month, so money-wise, I can afford to buy a paperback a month. If I could read more or faster, I see how it would be a good investment to get a kindle.
Wendy~You see? The people who like my cases tend to be not-kindle people. I think I need a marketing guru in my corner.