I could see the appeal though. I was getting tired of lugging a book around everywhere with me, getting frustrated because I’d left a book at work that I really wanted to read at home, or I’d be travelling with two books, just in case I finished one and would be unimaginably left with nothing to read.
Then I decided that I would not be buying any more books in 2012, which was freaking me out just a little, and not long after my Dad asked me how I felt about Kindles and would I like one for Christmas. I immediately,
a) saw a loophole in my resolution, and,
b) thought I should take the opportunity to get one as I’m unlikely to ever spend that kind of money myself on it.
So I gratefully accepted and went for the smaller Kindle. My Dad did point out that it wouldn’t hold as many books, but I said I reckoned that space for over 1,000 would probably do me for a while!
Its role has become my travelling book, so it’s in my bag at all times to be read at work on my lunch break and if I’m lazy and get the bus. Home will be my place for reading “real” books.
Using it is easy peasy lemon squeezy. It’s incredibly easy to handle and work out which buttons to press. The only hard part actually is refraining from touching it like I’m used to doing with my phone, I still find myself automatically doing that sometimes – oh how times have changed!
But I’m still struggling with the concept of it. It just does not feel the same as reading a book. I read Northanger Abbey and instead of that feeling of turning the last page, I just knew I’d reached 100% read. There was no reflective pause where I put the book down and then turn it over to look at its front cover one more time. No riffling the pages through my fingers, no shoving my nose into the middle of it to smell its bookness and no satisfying noise as I turn the page or slide my bookmark into place. To be honest I don’t feel like I’ve read a book at all which puts a bit of a dampener on things.
One of my favourite activities is the point where I’m about to choose a new book to read. I stand in front of my bookshelf and cast my eye over all the spines. I look at the different colours and fonts and see what jumps out at me. I look at the size of the book, am I in the mood to tackle something weighty or do I want something a little easier to get through? I admire the lovely alphabetical order and linger over particular authors that I enjoy – do I feel like reading another one of theirs or shall I go for something new? I love that process.
With my Kindlle I turn it on and look at my home page. So far I have three different sets, “Fiction”, “Non-fiction” and “Classics” (now this is something I need to do with my own bookshelves!) and within those are a couple of books. No colourfulness. No different fonts. Just listed titles. I have no idea how big the book is, I don’t know what I’m getting into. If I want to just read the “back” of the book and find out what it’s about I have to connect to the internet and that’s just not always possible. Which of those two experiences sound more pleasant?
And what about when it comes to buying books? I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be able to see my Not Really Resolution of not buying any physical books this year through. I like wandering into bookshops or even just wandering down the book aisle in Tesco and seeing what’s out there. I like it when there’s not a book I have in mind that I want, I just look at the covers and see what takes my fancy. I get the thrill of selecting my choice and taking it to the till and paying for it and carrying it home with me. Even when I order books over the internet you still receive something physical, there’s something to show for the money you’ve spent and you get that satisfaction.
With the Kindle there is none of that satisfaction, and it’s borderline dangerous. It’s linked to my Amazon account and my card details, so buying a new book is literally the click of a button. No taking you to a virtual checkout and filling in your details, just boom and there’s a message that says the book has been downloaded and there it is on your home screen. Instead of that warm “I’ve just bought a book” fuzzy feeling, you’re left feeling a little shallow inside.
I did wonder if some of my problem was that I just don’t have enough on my Kindle at the moment. There isn’t really a ‘library’ to browse and there are only so many Classics I can take. I have downloaded a couple which have cost me a few pounds but I’m still not feeling that buzz of electricity. Even visiting the “store” is soul-less and doesn’t compare to the hours I can spend wandering round a branch of Waterstones.
I know this sounds like I hate it and I really don’t. I think it’s the most amazing piece of gadgetry I own and I think that the more books I get on it and the more I use it, the more I will warm to it, and if I get to go on holiday this year I’m sure I will thank my lucky stars that I have it; but right now at this minute, it doesn’t compare to my real-life babies.