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October 12, 2010

Last week I wrote a little about my attempt to rediscover reading. This past week I had a little help in my quest. I got a Kindle.

I have been (and still am) iffy on E-readers. I wouldn’t have one now if a friend hadn’t been selling a used one. I decided as a reader and author, I should at least have an informed opinion.

There seem to be two main schools of thought on E-readers. Either they are a wonderful advancement and will soon eliminate the need for physical books, or they are the harbinger of the Antichrist and will spell doom for civilization. Sure there are people in between, but they seem to be the silent majority. I’ve always found myself squarely in the middle of the fray. I can certainly see the advantage for books like textbooks (the number of books I had to carry in college is big reason that I still have back pain), and it would be great to load up the Kindle with a bunch of books for a vacation or for the commute to work. But I have no desire to replace books. I don’t want to curl up in bed with a video screen. And a bookshelf overflowing with well-worn, well-loved books seems much more appealing than scrolling through 10 pages of downloads.

The first thing I downloaded was “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson—A book I have owned for nearly two decades, and happen to be rereading right now. I reasoned that this would make a good comparison. And since downloading it I have read no more than a few pages, but it’s not because I don’t enjoy the Kindle.

About an hour into exploring the device I discovered that Amazon has thousands of classic books for free (and many more for less than $1). I quickly downloaded about 200 classics for less than $5, and have spent a significant amount of time in the last week reading from Dumas, Hugo and Leroux (I suppose I’m on a French Romantic kick).

So in an odd juxtaposition, I am now reading my new books on paper, and my classics digitally. Go figure.

  1. October 12, 2010 10:07 am

    Like you I can see the advantages of the Kindle, but at the moment I can’t see me replacing my hard copies. I too like to curl up in bed with a proper book and a mug of cocoa. I can’t see a flashing screen coming up to that, but you never know, times change.

  2. October 12, 2010 3:39 pm

    For me it’s the ability to change text size. Being short-sighted means regular print gives me eye strain after a certain amount of time. The ability to enlarge means hours of easy reading.

    Also a nice new or well worn book has a wonderful tactile appeal about it but for every book that I might reread or pass around there’s a pile that gets read only once and just sits on the shelf and that seems such a waste. No trees, printing, transportation and storage seem a much better and greener alternative.

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