When e-readers first came out, I vowed never to get one.
They looked so cold and angular. For me, they took away an essential piece of a book’s allure. The artfully designed cover. The comfortable weight of a book in your hands. The texture of each page slipping through your fingers as you flip. The smile you get when you see the spine of one of your favorite books staring back at you as you wake up in the morning. The panache a well-decorated bookcase adds to a room. The smell of ink and paper, slowly aging as they mingle with oxygen.
I just love to luxuriate in books. Swim in them. Which could be why I look like I live in the stacks. And my bookshelves are constantly overflowing.
So, why did I change my mind?
As I got ready to go to Japan this summer, I remembered how hard it had been to find English language books in France. How expensive they had been. The limited number of selections. I also realized that I would be spending an hour of each day commuting to and from my language program. And books get heavy and unwieldy. Plus, during the rainy season, they have a tendency to get wet. And ruined. And smell.
My literary tastes can also be a bit impulsive. Sometimes, I’ll see a book, and go: “I have to read it, NOW!!” Usually, by then the library and Barnes and Noble are closed. It’s snowing. I don’t have a car. Instant access e-books solved (or, perhaps, abetted) my dark compulsion.
By then, I was also rolling the idea of entering publishing around in the back of my mind. If I ever wanted to be in publishing, I knew I would have to bite the bullet and buy one of the insidious electronic rectangles. E-books are part of the industry now, and there’s no escaping. Better to throw yourself into the ocean than let yourself be taken kicking and screaming.
After doing bit of market research, I settled on the latest Kindle. I limited my spirit of reticent compromise to the most basic and inexpensive model, the $69 one with the 6″ display. I didn’t want emailing, youtubing, blogging, twittering, and facebooking disrupting my read with constant pinging and dinging. Or, with the temptation to “just to take a quick peek.”
I glared apprehensively at the smiling box when it arrived.
It was easy enough to set up. I uploaded a few books for my flight. And then I didn’t touch it until I was waiting in the terminal. The thirteen hour sleepless ordeal that was a flight to Japan from Chicago endeared me to the little guy. It was so small. So convenient. And after thirteen hours, my arms were only partially numb.
We bonded further still over our daily commute.
Since I’ve gotten back, I haven’t used my Kindle as much. It’s hard to Kindle and drive. But, I find that I still use it for long trips. Checking out library e-books. And that occasional must-read-now! title.
Kindle will never replace books for me, but it’s earned a place on my bookshelf.