So I finally joined the new millennium this year. That’s right, I am now the proud/perplexed/amused owner of an Amazon Kindle. You might find this news a bit strange, since I work in the tech sector and am a research student (I read a LOT of books).
I have always been a late adopter of technology, really. I like to wait until all of the bugs are worked out before I adopt a new platform that significantly impacts my life.
With the Kindle, this normal delay was compounded by the fact that I really, truly love old fashioned, hard-copy books. I mean, I really LOVE them. I sometimes go into the old dusty sections of libraries and used book stores just so I can smell the books. Every book purchase makes me excited, and I will almost always buy a book that is on sale if I think I will eventually read it.
I might have a small book fetish, or sickness. Its too early to tell.
But this year, I decided it was time to take the plunge and blend the new and the old. I still love my hard-copy books and will continue to buy them, but I no longer have to space to put all of the books I read. While the library helps me with this problem some, there are plenty of other books on my reading list that aren’t keepers. I won’t read them more than once, and if I do I can always buy a bound copy later. For everything else, there is the Kindle.
Thanks to a lovely gift from my in-laws, I finally got a Kindle this year, and have already loaded it up with books from my reading list. Thought it could never fully replace the “real thing” for me, I find that I have already been sucked into its many awesome features. So, without further ado, here are a few reasons why I love my new Kindle, but will never EVER stop buying books.
Why I love my Kindle
- Kindle offers real immersion through an infinite scroll (sort of). I find that my disbelief is suspended much more readily with a Kindle, the seamlessness of the pages really helps to suck me in to a story, and i more easily get lost in the words and my imagination.
- Convenience. I’ll admit it. I love convenience, and there is little that I find more convenient as a bibliophile than the ability to carry vast quantities of books with almost no effort.
- Caters to my whims. I am a bit ADHD when it comes to books, especially fiction books. I like to read multiple books of varying genres at once, to ensure that I can always step into a story that matches my mood. My wife once questioned my ability to track with so many stories at once, but after explaining to her what was going on in each of the 5 books I was reading at that moment, she has never questioned my method again. The Kindle makes this easier by placing all of the books I am reading at the tips of my fingers.
- Instant gratification. This is terrible, probably, but sometimes I just don’t want to wait to get a book. Once I know I am ready to read something, I am ready to get started right then. With the Kindle, if I want a book I can have it instantly.
- The cool factor. I may be late to the party, but let’s face it, gadgets are fun whenever you get them.
Why I will always buy books
- Permanence. I love the fact that my hard-copy books have a sense of permanence. I can’t turn them off. They remain on my shelves. They have a tangible presence, even when I am not actively reading them. This gives me comfort.
- Tactile. There is something genuinely wonderful about holding a book. And let’s not forget the smell I mentioned before. Nothing quite rivals the smell of a good, old book.
- Markup. You can (and should) markup real books. Only then are they really yours (see Mortimer Adler, How to Read a Book).
- Thumb-through. You can thumb through a book to find something you are looking for. I like having the ability to keep my fingers between pages for quick reference, and I enjoy the “big picture” view I can get by flipping back and forth between sections of a book.
- Covers. Book covers are like rings on a tree trunk. They tell a story and convey meaning. How many times has this book been read? How much has it been loved? Some of my books are so worn with use that they have been taped multiple times and still hang on by a thread. A simple glance at these book covers reminds me of the content they protect and brings back a flood of memories, some of the book itself, others of my life as I was reading it.
Which do you think is better? Analog or digital? Leave your reasons in the comments, then go enjoy a good book.