I love the feel of a paperback (never hardback, ugh) book in my hands. I own around a thousand of them, all proudly displayed on shelves in my living room. My mom has always been a big reader, and her own shelves dwarf mine. I worked in several different book stores in my teens and twenties. I was an English major. I come by it naturally.
I’m the sort of person who can walk into Barnes & Noble and spend 3 hours just looking at book covers and reading the copy. I’m the same with libraries. It’s like a drug. (To be fair, I was also the same with Blockbuster Video, before it went the way of Netflix.)
But I also like technology and the toys that come with it. I rarely snap things up the second they’re out on the market, but once they’re tested and there’s a bit of competition and choice out there, I’m on it. I have a flat screen TV with surround sound. I have a decent desktop PC and a netbook. I have an Android smartphone. I have an iPod.
An ereader was the next logical choice.
I still hesitated. For one thing, the idea of re-buying all of the books I already own wasn’t appealing. 1000 books at $7.99 to $12.99 each? No thanks. And I still wasn’t sure how well I’d like the reading experience versus paperback.
Luckily for me, my in-laws took the decision out of my hands when they bought me a Kindle 3 as a late Christmas present in 2010. (Yes, I have the best in-laws EVER. You should all be jealous, and not just of my Kindle.)
Most recently, I made an exception to my the “second they’re out on the market” rule and bought myself a Kindle Fire for Christmas. I’m glad I read a lot of the reviews cautioning against expecting a true tablet, because I might have been disappointed. I can’t say that I love it as much as my Kindle 3, but it definitely has its uses. It’s much better than my iPod for watching movies, and it’s not prone to the slowness that sometimes plagues the e-ink.
Regardless of which Kindle we’re talking about…yeah, I’m addicted. Here’s why:
1) INSTANT GRATIFICATION! I’m not ashamed to admit that when I want to read a book, I want to read it NOW. No more ordering online and waiting for it to ship, or waiting until I’ve got a few hours to head to Books-A-Million or Barnes & Noble (because you know I can’t just drop in…I’ve gotta browse!).
2) I can carry my whole library wherever I go. Now, sure, “whole library” isn’t quite what it should be yet, as I’ve still got a lot of books in paperback but not in ebook. But replacing them hasn’t been as bad I expected. Consider that I have a whole shelf of classics that are public domain, and thus the ebooks are free. Ditto my whole shelf of Oz books. I have 3 shelves that are reference books (mostly on writing) and souvenir picture books, and I don’t need/want those when I’m out and about.
The rest, yeah, it’d be nice to have them. But guess what? If I’m out and about and want to read them, I CAN GET THEM (see #1). My Kindle doesn’t have 3G, but come on. It’s not exactly hard to find a wi-fi signal these days.
3) Indy books. I’ll admit that, even as recently as a year ago, I harbored the same disinterest and–how do I put this?–snobbery toward self-published books that I’m sure many people still have. While I realized that publishers are not infallible, I believed that all good books could and would eventually find their way to the bookstore shelves. I still believe this, to a certain extent, but I recognize that there are just as many exceptions to the rule as there are books proving it. And With self-published ebooks, I don’t have to wait for publishers to discover them for me. Good books can be in my hands NOW (see #1).
Plus? The price is right. When I can buy 3-10 books for the price of one, I’m willing to do a bit more digging. I’ve always been a digger anyway. I love diamonds in the rough.
4) Text-to-Speech. Oh man, I cannot rave about this function enough. I LOVE LOVE LOVE being able to read the regular way, listen a bit while I’m at work, listen in the car, then switch back to reading when I’m home. The computerized voices (who I’ve affectionately named Lady and Master Kindle) don’t bother me a bit. Then again, I suffered through a couple of years of using Adobe Acrobat’s read aloud function to listen to pdfs–if you’ve never heard the glorious mispronunciations of that joker, just trust me…it’s awful–so the quality of of Kindle’s version is amazing.
Kindle Fire doesn’t have it, which is disappointing, but that just means I’ll have to keep using both. Darn.
Did I mention that I can get new books WHENEVER I WANT?
It’s a bit of a selling point for me.
And on that note, I have books to read!