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To Kindle or Not To Kindle...

I love my bookshelves. I love seeing them stuffed with books. I love the feel of those books, being able to flick through the pages and smell the paper. I've always been very unforgiving of the idea of an electronic reader, have always shot down the thought without a moment's hesitation. As much as I am a gadget person, that's where I draw a line.

Or do I?

Deep in conversation with a good friend of mine just the other day... she was one of my reading buddies when, aged 13, we smuggled Danielle Steel novels into our English Literature school books and, the rebels we were, read them during lessons. Until we were asked to read aloud in class and that caused all sorts of problems. But that's another story.

I thought she was like me. She'd never betray The Book. And yet, she's just ordered a Kindle. I was horrified and I told her so. How could she turn her back on the beloved book?

Yet within minutes, I was asking questions. What made her decide to do it? How was the reading experience? Was it like reading a book off a computer screen? Didn't it make her feel like a traitor? Like she was partly responsible for the eventual collapse of bookshops?

She was very patient with little old-fashioned me. She mentioned things like the speed and ease of buying a book and having it there ready to read within minutes. She mentioned the weight issue - she can carry around several books in something that's lighter than a single paperback. And apparently, it's not like reading off a computer screen.

I have to admit, I'm curious. And tempted. But I don't know if I could ever go through with it. I'm a traditionalist at heart.

My friend has reassured me that she won't be giving up books entirely and still intends to buy them every now and again. I guess that's some consolation. I still think I'd feel very "Brutus" browsing a bookshop, as I love doing so much, with a Kindle guiltily hidden away in my handbag... Wouldn't you?

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9 comments:

  1. I'm like you - I said I'd never get an e-reader, and yet lately, I've been thinking about it too. I love my bookshelves (overflowing as they are), and I would never give up books, but for weekends away and holidays, I think an e-reader might be the way to go. It would save a lot of space, and make sense really. I do wonder about eye strain etc, ease of reading etc as I've never used one myself. If you decide to get one, I'll await your review! :)

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  2. I'm the same way. I collect books, I love love love them---reading is such a sensory experience. The smell of the ink on the paper, the weight of the book in your hand, the sound of the pages turning......I love it all, but at the same time, the convenience of a Kindle is appealing to me (I realized this after carrying around World Without End for a couple weeks recently - it's 1014 pages and it could be used as a murder weapon). But here's my problem with it - in the states, they're selling for $139. That isn't really THAT bad of a cost, but the fact that some of the ebooks are super expensive makes no sense to me. I understand there have to be royalties or whatever, but think about it - there are no longer any material costs....no paper, no ink, no binding. They should all be super cheap. And they're not. So if I get one, it will probably be a gift from someone, because I don't really think I can bring myself to buy one.

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  3. I thought I would never get an e-reader and I don't know what switch flipped but I decided maybe I did want one. I now have a Kindle and it's wonderful. The pages look like actual book pages. They use "e-ink". It is wonderful and even in full sun, there is no glare on the pages.

    If you decide to get one, I think you will enjoy it.

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  4. i'm exactly like you too but i still covet a kindle...it would make my life much easier and i'd read a lot more than i am currently (i think).at the same time, i used to work in bookselling and revere the book in its original form. i guess i'm as torn as you are!

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  5. I love the smell and feel of a book, and I still get excited about entering a bookshop and buying one, but I would consider getting one if only to make my handbags a lot lighter! I always go out with a book in my bag, and A always ends up holding it for me! So that would be a relief to my shoulders and to A's!

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  6. 247 grams max!! "Kindle is lighter than a typical paperback, and thinner than a magazine. Just 8.5mm in profile, Kindle fits perfectly in your hands."

    The more I read, the more I want one. DAMMIT.

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  7. It's convenient only for the sake of carrying it around, say for travel. I wouldn't want to give up proper books for home use though.

    I never thought about it till I read this post, then I started thinking how convenient it'd be for long train rides instead of ending up ruining my shoulders from carrying a heavy book around all day. Damn you, temptress! I leave in less than a week and I want one! Might need to search for ebooks for my iPod instead. ;)

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  8. I have the same problem. I'm too broke to afford a Kindle right now anyway but the technophile in me is so curious.

    Then again, nothing can be better than a book - the cover, the smell, the rustling sound the pages make as they turn, having a bookmark, being able to mark sentences you never want to forget and make notes on post-its that you stick to the pages...

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  9. Well I had never heard of such a thing! I quite like the old books I pick up from boot sales and second hand shops with their old musty smells though. And if I am reading a really gripping book, sometimes I re-read the blurb on the back. But having said that...it does save paper. It must be more convenient on holidays. Hmmm...

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